‘New atheists’ attacking schools, warns academic

‘New atheists’ such as Professor Richard Dawkins want to squeeze out other views and strangle debate in Scottish schools, an education expert has warned.

Professor Robert Davis warned that the Scottish curriculum is “under pressure” from the new atheist lobby.

He commented: “They want to exclude other perspectives and suggest they are not only wrong, but are invalid and should not be given any kind of space in learning and teaching and that is where those attitudes become damaging.”


Prof Davis, from Glasgow University, also warned there is an “abundance of evidence the new atheism has very clear designs on the role of education in a democratic society”.

He said that it has made a “strong impact on schools and teachers and I think that has to be questioned”.

Prof Davis also cautioned: “Religion gets robbed of its right to be present in the curriculum and the new atheists would group serious religious enquiry alongside ghost hunting and astrology in terms of their intellectual validity”.


The professor noted that while the “Scottish curriculum is remarkably resilient” it is “undoubtedly under pressure”.

Prof Davis also said: “I am not suggesting the kind of questions the new atheists raise are not serious, legitimate questions that teachers should be aware of, but it does not seem to stop there”.

In 2010 Prof Richard Dawkins said he wanted to set up a school where children can “automatically” work out that “they are atheists”.

Speaking in June 2010, he said: “If children understand that beliefs should be substantiated with evidence, as opposed to tradition, authority, revelation or faith, they will automatically work out for themselves that they are atheists.”

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