Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and "God Delusion" polemicist, recently offered a frightening glimpse of what might be called the reverse-fundamentalist worldview.
Mr. Dawkins mused to a British television network that fairy tales and supernatural-themed books such as the "Harry Potter" series are "anti-scientific."
"Whether that has a pernicious effect, I don't know," the 67-year-old British writer said. "Looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious effect on rationality, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's something for research."
It's telling that, in this case, the conclusion, provisional though it may be, reached by a hyperrationalist scientist mirrors exactly that of those who object to "Harry Potter" on religious grounds: that a mind that too frequently wanders from the realm of settled truth becomes vulnerable to poisonous falsehoods.
Mr. Dawkins' suspicion of fairy tales - of imagination - is an indication of the extremes to which philosophical materialism can lead...."