Thursday, May 08, 2008

Richard Dawkins on the enemies of Reason

I have just watched part 1 of a series by Richard Dawkins, author of the Selfish Gene and the God Delusion. Looking forward to watching the rest of the series.
For those who believe in superstition, spiritual healing, tarot cards, Ouija boards,talking to spirits,Reiki and other phenomena too numerous to mention, it is a good program to explore. Of course, as Richard Dawkins found out, even in the face of facts that these beliefs are totally false, people still cling to them. See the story of water divining in the first episode.
It seems that the modern world is turning away from science and embracing the irrational to a degree that is confounding and bewildering. It seems that for all those people who are obsessed with the latest technology, there is an equal number if not more who are turning their attention to mumbo jumbo like never before.
I have already explored the idea that humans have an innate tendency to find comfort in religion. What is disturbing is that we are so open to the idea of false positives, that is developing an association between unrelated events as if there is an actual connection. In other words, superstition.
Isn't is strange that the most complex brain of any species, the most developed thinking machine ever created by nature has inbuilt flaws that allow us to simultaneously grasp the concept of the nature of the universe and also believe in ghosts?
Part 2 here.


Hammer said...

It's funny,I agree with Dawkins, science, logicand rational thought and try to live my life in that manner.

However, I've seen many wild and unexplainable things and have had witnesses that shared my experiences. Mass hallucination?

I think there is a rational scientific explanation behind what we call the supernatural and superstition.

Lexcen said...

Hammer, I've read everything you've written on this subject. I was wondering how you would respond to this documentary.

Jeannie said...

I haven't watched the video yet but will try to.

I never quite believed in Ouija boards yet I've had some very eerie experiences with them - to the extent that I will not do it again.

My father got me "water witching" when I was a teenager - with a forked willow switch. He couldn't do it himself but when I did it, the branches would literally twist the bark in pointing to water at times so strong I had to let go because the skin on my fingers was getting burned. It was fun. I thought it just had something to do with willow trees always leaning to water. He'd make me put on a show any time someone came to visit. No one could do it either.

Jeannie said...

Very interesting program. I wish someone had thought to "test" my witching. I'm curious as to whether or not the willow sticks would do now what they did then. It wasn't at all like in the video and I seriously doubt I was subconsciously doing it - I don't know how I could have. I would hold the two ends of the willow fork and point the joined end up and walk randomly. Suddenly the end would begin to pull down as though someone were pulling it. It would always point directly down over open water, twisting severely. It would do the same over the ground in some spots. It appeared our well was just slightly off an underground stream but that was never verified. I never seriously believed any of it but I couldn't explain it either.