This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Dawkins reads us a fairy story

"Read me a fairy story, Uncle Richard," said Polly, age 6. "I need to improve my critical thinking before bedtime."

Dawkins and books

Kind Uncle Richard.

"Certainly, darling," replied her kind uncle. "That's what fairy stories are for. Would you like the funny one about the selfish gene, or the scary tale of the blind watchmaker?"

"Oh no, uncle," exclaimed the little girl. "Can we have the story of Dr Know-All? Or the story of the Professor's New Clothes?"

Dr Know-All

A bit too close to home...

"Well, I could read you something from my autobiography, I suppose," said the learned professor. "There's the fascinating story of how I spent twenty minutes reading the Bible and became an instant expert on theology."

"No, that's too fantastical. I know, let's have Snow White!"

Snow White

Christians* will tell you that Snow White's story was literally true.

*Or possibly just Sola Scriptura Christians.

"Yes, all right. Once upon a time there was an evil pope, with a magic mirror. He would ask it daily, 'Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the brainiest of them all?' and the mirror would reply 'You are, O Pope.'

But one day, the mirror gave a different answer. 'O Pope, you are indeed very clever, and you have read the Bible, the works of Augustine and Aquinas, and even the Vatican II documents. But there is a young man called Snow Dawkins, who is yet cleverer than you!'

Dawkins FACE

A FACE appears in the pope's magic mirror.

So the pope determines to dispose of Snow Dawkins, and tells a huntsman to take him into the woods and kill him. But the huntsman, who is an atheist and therefore much kinder and compassionate than Christians are, abandons him alive in the woods.

After wandering around, Snow Dawkins comes to a hut inhabited by seven dwarves, called Grayling, Toynbee, Sanderson, Harris, Pullman, Hawking, and Fry. They sing a jolly song, "Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it's off to church we go!" since, like Snow Dawkins, they claim to be secular Christians and cultural Anglicans (not to mention atheist Muslims, militant Buddhists, and bullfighting Hindus).

Dr Who mummies

In a cultural, secular way, Dawkins and friends follow the Egyptian gods too.

Later, the magic mirror tells the evil pope that Snow Dawkins is still alive and doing very brainy experiments in his hut in the woods. He disguises himself as an old man and gives Snow Dawkins a poisoned apple. Of course, Snow Dawkins is very intelligent and knows instantly that the apple is poisoned; nonetheless he eats the apple as part of a much deeper plan, such as only an atheist could think of.

poisoned apple

Something told Dawkins that the apple was unsafe to eat.

When the dwarves return, they place Snow Dawkins in a glass coffin. Now Polly, dear, this is obviously where the Bible story of Jesus originated: we clever atheists know that Jesus wasn't really dead, and anyway he never existed. It was a sky fairy tale told by bronze-age goatherds, who didn't have the critical abilities of a 21st-century professor of biology.

To continue - the dwarves carry Snow Dawkins to the evil pope's palace, where the shaking dislodges the apple from his throat, and he recovers. Enraged by the failure of his plan the evil pope drops dead.

So Dawkins marries a handsome princess - well, three altogether, at various times - and lives happily ever after."

Happily ever after

"What a lovely story, Uncle Richard!"

"Now I do hope this story is not fostering supernaturalism in your mind, Polly, dear?"

"Oh no, Uncle, it has simply helped me develop critical thinking, and to learn to see through a certain class of falsehoods. Now I-am-an-unquestioning-atheist... I-am-an-unquestioning-atheist... I-am-an-unquestioning-atheist... zzzz...."

Dawkins sleeping


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