Richard Dawkins: 'Children need to be protected' from religious parents

The atheist theorist argued that guardians were given too much power over the educations of those in their care

Jenn Selby
Thursday 26 February 2015 11:48 GMT

Richard Dawkins has called on schools to protect children from being indoctrinated by their religious parents.

The renowned evolutionary biologist and atheist argued that parents were given too much power over their children’s educations, and that it was time to give more rights back to the individuals themselves.

“There is a balancing act and you have to balance the rights of parents and the rights of children and I think the balance has swung too far towards parents,” he said.

“Children do need to be protected so that they can have a proper education and not be indoctrinated in whatever religion their parents happen to have been brought up in.”

Physicist Lawrence Krauss, who also took part in the interview with The Irish Times, agreed.

“That means parents have a limited — it seems to be — limited rights in determining what the curriculum is,” Krauss said.

“The state is providing the education, it’s trying to make sure all children have equal opportunity.

“And parents of course have concerns and a say, but they don’t have the right to shield their children from knowledge. That’s not a right any more than they have the right to shield their children from health care or medicine. And those parents that do that are often tried and imprisoned when they refuse to allow their children to get blood transfusions or whatever is necessary for their health. And this is necessary for their mental health.”

The pair spoke ahead of their joint address at Trinity College Dublin on Tuesday evening.

It comes after a writer on the website of Richard Dawkins’ foundation claimed this new scientific theory could answer the question of how life began – and throw out the need for God.

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