Richard Dawkins insists evolution theory must be taught as 'fact' to children at early age

Biologist Richard Dawkins has again rejected any notion that creationism can be taught side-by-side with evolution and that the theory of how life began, which he insists is accepted as "fact," needs to be explained to children at an early age.

Published 12 September 2012  |  
"You can't even begin to understand biology, you can't understand life, unless you understand what it's all there for, how it arose -- and that means evolution. So I would teach evolution very early in childhood. I don't think it's all that difficult to do. It's a very simple idea. One could do it with the aid of computer games and things like that," Dawkins shared in an in-depth interview with CNN.

The atheist author of The God Delusion added, "I think it needs serious attention, that children should be taught where they come from, what life is all about, how it started, why it's there, why there's such diversity of it, why it looks designed. These are all things that can easily be explained to a pretty young child. I'd start at the age of about 7 or 8."

The evolutionary biologist insisted that although some believe that it is credible to teach both the theory of evolution and creationism side-by-side at schools, there really is no room in an intelligent scientific discussion to talk about creationism.

"There's only one game in town as far as serious science is concerned. It's not that there are two different theories," Dawkins said, noting that humans share ancestors with all animals. "There is no serious scientist who doubts that evolution is a fact."

He noted that many educated people are religious and believe in God, but not if they are creationists and believe the world is only 10,000 years old.

"If we wonder why there are still serious people including some scientists who are religious, that's a complicated psychological question," Dawkins offered. "They certainly won't believe that God created all species, or something like that. They might believe there is some sort of intelligent spirit that lies behind the universe as a whole and perhaps designed the laws of physics and everything else took off from there."

On the complicated subject of how humans gained morality and the understanding between right and wrong, Dawkins once again credited evolution.

"Morality, I think, does have roots in our evolutionary past. There are good reasons, Darwinian reasons, why we are good to, altruistic towards, cooperative with, moral in our behavior toward our fellow species members, and indeed toward other species as well, perhaps," he said.

He objected to the idea of people turning to the Bible, and in particular the Old Testament to search for moral guidance.

"Nor should we get our morals from a kind of fear that if we don't please God he'll punish us, or a kind of desire to apple polish (to suck up to) a God. There are much more noble reasons for being moral than constantly looking over your shoulder to see whether God approves of what you do," the atheist noted.

Also, as he has mentioned in the past, Dawkins noted that he believes life ends at death, that the brain rots away and the body is either buried or cremated. He expressed that losing a loved one is a terrible experience, but said he is never tempted to turn to religion at such times.

"But I attend memorial services, I've organized memorial events or memorial services, I've spoken eulogies, I've taken a lot of trouble to put together a program of poetry, of music, of eulogies, of memories, to try to celebrate the life of the dead person," he added.

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