Last week, The Sunday Times published a series of mistake-ridden articles about Camp Quest UK. The most gratuitous error was the headline for the main article:
Dawkins sets up kids’ camp to groom atheists
Not only was Richard Dawkins not running the camp (he only made a small donation to it), it most certainly does not “groom atheists.” It encourages them to think for themselves and does not guide them toward a godless conclusion.
Anyway, today, they finally published a rebuttal letter from Dawkins himself:
Your article Dawkins Sets Up Kids’ Camp to Groom Atheists (News, last week) begins with the Jesuitical opening line: “Give Richard Dawkins a child for a week’s summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life.” Camp Quest, is not inspired by me or influenced by me. The British version, run by Samantha Stein, follows the American model founded by Edwin and Helen Kagin, of Kentucky.
I gave the following quote to Lois Rogers: “Camp Quest encourages children to think for themselves, sceptically and rationally. There is no indoctrination, just encouragement to be open-minded, while having fun.” Isn’t that about as far from Jesuitical grooming as you could imagine? One of my dominant motivations is an abhorrence of childhood indoctrination, of atheism just as much as of religion. It is in this spirit that the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has made very modest contributions to Camp Quest.
Many of the other letters appear to have been written by people who took the articles at face value and assume Camp Quest is some sort of atheist-indoctrination camp.
At least Dawkins corrected the record. If the paper issued a public apology, that’d be even better.