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Enemies of Reason


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#1 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 02:34 AM


Here is the 2 part miniseries (the first of which aired the other day in the UK on Channel 4) called "Enemies of Reason" with Richard Dawkins exploring several different things. He doesn't focus much on religion in this one, which is why I am not putting this in the Religion forum, but instead here Dawkins focuses on types of things like mediums, diviners, homeopathy, etc. He is basically making the case for reason, logic, and science in all areas of life.

Part 1 (entitled "Slaves to Superstition"):



http://video.google....483151556804649


Part 2 (entitled "The Irrational Health Service ")



http://video.google....927014381716642

Edited by Live Forever, 29 August 2007 - 09:00 PM.


#2 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 02:45 AM

Here he is promoting it on the Richard and Judy show before it aired:



Edited by Live Forever, 29 August 2007 - 09:02 PM.


#3 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 03:40 AM

If irrational individuals have a "memetic defense" against rational objections, then what really is the point of creating these types of documentaries?

Irrational individuals continue to explain away the contradictory evidence and rational individuals nod their heads in agreement with the arguments put forward by Dawkins. Nothing much changes...

What determines the frequency of rational minds in a society? Why do *determinists* like Dawkins still subsconsciously believe that the individuals who make up a society have a fundamental choice in how they interpret reality? Perhaps the mystics aren't the only ones who unknowingly harbor illusions.

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#4 Shannon Vyff

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 03:54 AM

Now this is a wonderful benefit of being an ImmInst member, thanks for putting up the video :)

#5 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 03:56 AM

You will eat your veggies and you will like them.

No, I won't eat my veggies!

Yes, you will. You are going to eat your veggies and you are going to like them. Say, "MMM, these veggies taste delicious."

I'm not eating them. Yuck. Veggies are gross.

Damn it. Go to your room, you stubborn, insolent child. If only you could be made to understand that veggies taste delicious!

#6 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:11 AM

If irrational individuals have a "memetic defense" against rational objections, then what really is the point of creating these types of documentaries?

Irrational individuals continue to explain away the contradictory evidence and rational individuals nod their heads in agreement with the arguments put forward by Dawkins. Nothing much changes...

What determines the frequency of rational minds in a society? Why do *determinists* like Dawkins still subsconsciously believe that the individuals who make up a society have a fundamental choice in how they interpret reality? Perhaps the mystics aren't the only ones who unknowingly harbor illusions.

Well, there are a lot of people that are more middle of the road than these types of people. As the documentary says, about 50% of UK people believe in supernatural things of one sort or another, which is slightly more than who used to answer that way a few years ago. Of course the mystics trying to peddle their stuff probably won't be convinced, but if you can get to some of the people who are mourning loved ones who just passed and thinking of going to a mystic or someone who is a middle of the road, not sure if it is real or not type of a person, then I think you have a good chance at opening their mind at least.

I know that I personally am someone who used to believe in a lot of religious stuff (was about as fundamentalist as they come) before going to some "God" debates which started me down my path towards science and reasoning. There certainly isn't any harm in putting stuff like this on tv. It is better than filling the time slot with a reality show or a sitcom or something.

Come on, Don, quit being such a stick in the mud, mate. [tung]

#7 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:16 AM

A comment on the video itself: how anyone can still fall for cold reading is beyond me. After seeing lots of videos of people like Derren Brown and others doing it, it just seems so hokey to me. I suppose if I was there in the audience, it might be a different experience, but when I hear the person talking quickly like they were in the video, trying to hit on something it just sounds so contrived and bogus.

#8 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:17 AM

Now this is a wonderful benefit of being an ImmInst member, thanks for putting up the video :)


Wing_girl, the mother par excellence.

Now I'd imagine that the probability of her children growing up to be rational individuals is exceedingly high. I'd also imagine that the probability of them falling into irrationality later in life is exceedingly low. Why is this? Answer: deeply entrenched preferences such as rationality/irrationality are mostly a product of developmental psychology and the spectrum of of environmental conditions that an individual is exposed to early on in hir life.

#9 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:30 AM

If irrational individuals have a "memetic defense" against rational objections, then what really is the point of creating these types of documentaries?

Irrational individuals continue to explain away the contradictory evidence and rational individuals nod their heads in agreement with the arguments put forward by Dawkins. Nothing much changes...

What determines the frequency of rational minds in a society? Why do *determinists* like Dawkins still subsconsciously believe that the individuals who make up a society have a fundamental choice in how they interpret reality? Perhaps the mystics aren't the only ones who unknowingly harbor illusions.

Well, there are a lot of people that are more middle of the road than these types of people. As the documentary says, about 50% of UK people believe in supernatural things of one sort or another, which is slightly more than who used to answer that way a few years ago. Of course the mystics trying to peddle their stuff probably won't be convinced, but if you can get to some of the people who are mourning loved ones who just passed and thinking of going to a mystic or someone who is a middle of the road, not sure if it is real or not type of a person, then I think you have a good chance at opening their mind at least.

I know that I personally am someone who used to believe in a lot of religious stuff (was about as fundamentalist as they come) before going to some "God" debates which started me down my path towards science and reasoning. There certainly isn't any harm in putting stuff like this on tv. It is better than filling the time slot with a reality show or a sitcom or something.

Come on, Don, quit being such a stick in the mud, mate. [tung]


Very true Nate, there is no harm in this type of activism (and some individuals can be reconditioned later in life). I just couldn't see myself wasting any time on this sort of mundane pageantry.

Clearly there has been a gradual increase in "rationality" over the past two centuries. The question then becomes, what has caused this increase? Modernity itself?

I wouldn't be surprised if in the year 2100 when/if we're all hanging out in an immortal society there are still individuals who believe in adult fairy tales.

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#10 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:35 AM

I suppose that, at the end of the day, I view both the will to truth and the will to ignorance as betrayals of life.

The truth serves me, not the other way around.

#11 Aegist

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 05:30 AM

Awesome video. I'm so happy that he spoke to Derren Brown. I always thought they would get along just fine. IMO Derren Brown has done more to show the ridiculousness of psychics than pretty much anyone, even James Randi, and he wasn't even trying. He just made a magic show and did everything they do sooo soo so much better than they can.

What is the point of it? The same point as fighting any losing battle. If you give up trying, you will never fix it. At least while you present the information, while you fihgt the fight, while you kick and scream and don't give up...at least while you are doing that you have a chance.

It is like saying "Why bother talking to the public about longevity research? They all accept death. Why bother?"

Why bother? ...because what else can we do?

#12 mike250

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 06:32 AM

we can continue the research ,and we must,and let it unfold. I'm sure the people will then have a logical sense of understanding.

#13 Mind

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 06:55 AM

People do change. Nate changed. I changed. You should be more optimistic Don.

#14 mike250

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 07:09 AM

the research results and the potential cures in the future will be enough to convince anybody who has a sane mind.

#15 Luna

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 09:07 AM

Neat video.
Sharing dreams is interesting though.

#16 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 04:52 PM

Why bother? ...because what else can we do?


Be more clever than your opponent, rather than sinking to his level.

#17 DJS

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 05:12 PM

Dennett's approach. Clever.

Dawkins' approach. Dumb. (Besides from being bad mannered and obnoxious.)

It doesn't matter how many times you slam the square block into the round hole. It's not gonna fit.

Patience is a virtue. Social engineering takes time. The leading irrational minds are not necessarily socially or politically inept. Like in a game of chess, they need to be out played both tactically and strategically. Back them into a corner and press the advantage until their mindset dies off.

#18 Liquidus

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 06:44 PM

While I agree Dawkins' approach is a bit aggressive, I think at this particular moment, it's necessary. Someone in his position has been indulged in science for so long, that logic and reasoning is the model of life. For him to be as successful has he is, yet to live in a world polluted by organized religious ideals, would be equally frustrating for me (and it is in some aspects).

Dawkins might rub some people the wrong way, but I think he provokes thought to those with reason effectively. At least he has for me, and I interpret his witty arrogance as a sign of his conviction, which helps solidify his claims.

Dawkins is an important figure, but I think as the research/cures/anti-aging movement grows, the representation will be extremely passive and peaceful, a sign of the attitude and personality of the intellect who does not believe in the supernatural, but rather in the excellence of our current existence in the universe.

#19 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 06:50 PM

Dennett's approach. Clever.

Dawkins' approach. Dumb. (Besides from being bad mannered and obnoxious.)

It doesn't matter how many times you slam the square block into the round hole. It's not gonna fit.

Patience is a virtue. Social engineering takes time. The leading irrational minds are not necessarily socially or politically inept. Like in a game of chess, they need to be out played both tactically and strategically. Back them into a corner and press the advantage until their mindset dies off.

I know that for me personally it took some pretty in your face type stuff to jar me out of the place I was in at the time. A gradual approach wouldn't have worked on me, I don't think. I can't speak for anyone else, but I am glad there are people out there saying it very plainly and not trying to sugercoat it. I understand different approaches work for different things, but you have to have some people at the forefront to create a space behind them for conversation. (kind of the same thing that ImmInst is about. We certainly are at the forefront talking about unlimited lifespans when we could be a lot more mainstream, but I don't think it would serve anyone better.)

Just because there are people out there willing to say exactly how the world is while not caring if they step on any toes in the process, I don't think they should be silenced to make way for a more "mainstream" message. (plus, I don't know where people get this stuff about Dawkins being bad mannered, obnoxious, angry, etc. He has always appeared very polite in everything I have seen him in and everything I have read. Just because he criticizes illogical thinking doesn't mean he is being angry.)

#20 Live Forever

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 07:59 PM

Back to the video itself: I think about the last 5 minutes of it might have been the most important in my opinion. Talking about how the information dissemination that is allowed by the internet also allows for crazy conspiracy theories and bad information to get circulated much more efficiently, and the kind of damage that this can do to us as a society.

#21 JohnDoe1234

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 08:37 PM

Great video, thanks for the post man!

Anyway... I'm glad there are people like Dawkins who push the issue harder than most would view as necessary. Like LF said, it takes a little extra to bump some people out of their comfortable belief systems.

I wouldn't be surprised if in the year 2100 when/if we're all hanging out in an immortal society there are still individuals who believe in adult fairy tales.

Yeah.... we can probably count on the Amish...

It doesn't matter how many times you slam the square block into the round hole. It's not gonna fit.

Ain't that a bitch?

You both seem to need God, hand him your problems, not everything is physical, remember the universe is made of two elements, the physical, and the spiritual :)

#22 JohnDoe1234

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 08:45 PM

"Bu.. But, there is a rock quality in the rock..." - Satish Kumar

I think we have quite a bit to learn from these people.

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#23 Aegist

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 12:36 AM

"Bu.. But, there is a rock quality in the rock..." - Satish Kumar

I think we have quite a bit to learn from these people.

And it sits on the ground because it is in the nature of rock things to do that. (aristotle)


But back to what LF said in respoonse to Techno - I agree completely. Different approaches for different people, and RD is not offensive, rude, or angry (at least not outwardly). It is just that he says things which we have a ridiculous social contract which says we aren't allowed to say. "Your religion doesn't make sense, and has no evidence" is an entirely reasonable thing to say, yet people take that as rude or angry...probably because it makes them angry, because they feel it is rude (having had someone break through their wall of protection of that social contract).

#24 william7

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:24 PM

Anybody know when Dawkins is going to take on the UFO issue? Could there be proof of intelligent beings visiting earth? See http://abcnews.go.co...ndex?id=3349833 and http://abcnews.go.co...=3349575&page=1. If so, what does this do to Dawkin's claims for reason against irrational supernatural beliefs?

#25 Aegist

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:29 PM

Unidentified Flying Objects are not irational beliefs, they are unidentified objects. Believe that Aliens have visited us without evidence is irrational.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It is very simple.

#26 william7

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:35 PM

Believe that Aliens have visited us without evidence is irrational.

How about the numerous sitings by credible witnesses? Isn't this evidence worthy of consideration? Did you checkout the links I provided?

#27 Lazarus Long

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:42 PM

The sighting (witness reports) of a UFO is not evidence of alien visits, it is evidence that an UNIDENTIFIED object has been sighted. Most of those sightings are later dismissed upon careful analysis as something other than what witnesses presumed they were or might be. These have been everything from astronomical and climactic events to flights of secret aircraft and the infamous weather balloons but alien sightings have virtually all been exposed as hoaxes while some UFO sightings remain mysteries.

#28 Aegist

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 02:21 PM

Believe that Aliens have visited us without evidence is irrational.

How about the numerous sitings by credible witnesses? Isn't this evidence worthy of consideration? Did you checkout the links I provided?

As usual Elijah, you have to stop assuming things are what you want them to be, and start with the assumption of ignorance, then build knowledge from there.

#29 Luna

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 02:47 PM

Oh come on.
If any word would have been an evidence..
Angels, demons, ghosts, spirits, premonitions, telekenessis, evil spirits, wisps, fairies, santa, NDE, hell, haven, god, satan, flying items, dancing swords, levitation, magic, fireballs, talking dogs, whispering wind, talking to trees, telepathy, human controlling energy out of his body and so on would be true!

And most of this isn't true for sure.

And many of those stuff are happening because of Schizophrenia.

This discussion is truely turning more silly and pointless each time it returns.

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#30 william7

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 04:23 PM

Believe that Aliens have visited us without evidence is irrational.

How about the numerous sitings by credible witnesses? Isn't this evidence worthy of consideration? Did you checkout the links I provided?

As usual Elijah, you have to stop assuming things are what you want them to be, and start with the assumption of ignorance, then build knowledge from there.

I can say the same to you, and that you should keep an open mind as some in the scientific community and the news media are doing. I realize that many of the claims for supernatural phenomena are innocent mistakes or outright hoaxes with self-gain as motivation. There are, however, a number of credible sightings that are honest and accurate and bear serious consideration.

I would very much like to see Dawkins do his homework on the UFO issue since he's so willing to rationally analyze and debunk other areas where claims for the supernatural are being made. It's not even-handed or fair in my opinion to focus in one area and leave out an area where stronger evidence exists.




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