Atheist summer camp, funded by Richard Dawkins' foundation

Posted by: Matthew Trost

Via Boing Boing via The First Post, we learn that Richard Dawkins‘ foundation is funding a summer camp to teach children reason, skepticism and science. From the article:

Alongside the more traditional activities of tug-of-war, swimming and canoeing, children at the five-day camp in Somerset will learn about rational scepticism, moral philosophy, ethics and evolution.

Camp-goers aged eight to 17 will also be taught how to disprove phenomena such as crop circles and telepathy. In the Invisible Unicorn Challenge, any child who can prove that unicorns do not exist will win a £10 note — which features an image of Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory — signed by Dawkins, Britain’s most prominent atheist.

Related TEDTalks:
+ Richard Dawkins on militant atheism
+ Dan Dennett says religion should be taught in schools — objectively
+ Michael Shermer on why people believe strange things
+ Diane Benscoter on escaping a cult
+ Julia Sweeney on letting go of god

Or visit the TED.com theme Is There a God?

Comments (8)

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  • José Luis Mateos commented on Sep 28 2012

    As long as you accept evolution as an explanation for the emergence of complexity, god cannot exist. I think it’s enough evidence for disproval.

  • Joe Joe commented on Mar 21 2010

    The existence of God will never be proven or disproved why can’t people accept this and just get on with living there lives ?


    I find atheists who think they can prove the non existence of God and believe they are therefore better and smarter then religious followers just as annoying as any of the other “true believers”.

  • Izual Yang commented on Jul 6 2009

    Invisible Unicorn… Isn’t that Carl Sagan? I am an atheist too, but Ockham’s razor is not a proof but a methodology, it’s not saying “God does not exist” but “God is redundant”.

  • Joe Tannenbaum commented on Jul 3 2009

    How is this any different from Jesus Camp? I am an atheist and am disgusted by Jesus Camp, but now the proponents of Intelligent Design have something to point out when we bring it up against them.

  • Kutluhan Celik commented on Jul 2 2009

    RDFRS is not funding this camp, as Prof. Dawkins himself stated in his letter to the editor:



    The duplicity of Lois Rogers’ title, “Dawkins Sets up Kids’ Camp to Groom Atheists” (Sunday Times, June 28th), is exceeded only by its 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.” I had nothing to do with the setting up of Camp Quest, and it is not, in any sense whatever, inspired by me, or influenced by me. The British version, run by Samantha Stein with no help from me, follows the admirable American model founded some years ago by Edwin and Helen Kagin, of Kentucky. “

  • Richard Edge commented on Jul 2 2009

    Anybody familiar with Dawkins would smell a rat…Richard Dawkins discusses in the God Delusion at length how he cannot actually prove that God does not exist…just that it seems extremely unlikely given scientific facts. Would such a man expect children to prove that invisible unicorns do not exist? No.

    In fact the challenge is somewhat more specific. From Camp Quest’s website:

    “Campers are told that two invisible unicorns inhabit the camp, that cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, that they cannot hurt you, that they do not eat and leave no mark.

    An ancient book handed down for countless generations offers proof that the unicorns exist, though no one is allowed to see this book.”

    Of course this too is impossible. Which is the point of the exercise, as an introduction to critical thinking. The competition has been running since1996 with every child failing to claim the cash, but winning by learning. For facts about the SECULAR camp see:


  • Zane Selvans commented on Jul 1 2009

    I think Dawkins will be keeping that 10 pound note, if he’s honest about it, because of course it is logically impossible to prove that unicorns do not exist, in exactly the same way it is logically impossible to prove that Bertrand Russell’s teapot does not exist, and (yes) that God does not exist. This is exactly the logical conundrum for which Nassim Taleb’s book “The Black Swan” is named. Only a single counterexample to the statement that “all swans are white” can prove it false, but no number of observations can prove it true. We atheists have just decided that given the absence of evidence, it’s best to choose not to believe. Others, with the same absence of evidence, have chosen otherwise, and that’s (often) just fine.