Glad to be godless

Published on The Economist.com/blog, by Lexington, July 13, 2009.

I HAVE to write a separate news story about the Sotomayor confirmation hearings this week, so the column will probably be about something non-newsy: a summer camp for the children of atheists in Ohio.

I visited Camp Quest a couple of weeks ago. It’s like a regular summer camp—lots of kids sleeping in cabins, exploring the woods, roasting marshmallows over campfires and heaving buckets of water over each other for no particular reason …

… Plus, of course, summer camp is fun. You get to shoot longbows and stage comedy skits. I listen to an amateur naturalist teaching the older kids something slightly rude about a certain type of toad they find in that pond. You can tell a male from a female because it croaks when you press its back. Why? Because males of this species will try to mate with anything. So when a male feels a weight on his back, he assumes it is another male. He croaks to say: “I’m male, too. Go away.” (full text).

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