Dawkins: The Enemies of Reason

It’s up on Google video – and embedded here. Enjoy!

H/T Factition and Bad Science.


  1. It’s a wicked video. Pity the sound gets increasingly ahead relative to the video over the course of the video (or at least did on my machine – maybe it’s a problem on my end). Dawins takes a depressing topic and actually manages to make it seem a bit upbeat. Very well done…

  2. OMG! What a tease (near the very end of the episode). Steve Fuller-Richard Dawkins is one of my dream-dialogues! I thought that that was some pretty disingenuous editing cutting the footage right after Dawkins says that he thinks Fuller is wrong, when it was ambiguous as to what Fuller had said and what Dawkins thought that Fuller was wrong about. (That basically made Fuller look bad and Dawkins look good since Dawkins had been the Great Defender of Rationality throughout the episode.) I’ve studied a lot of Fuller’s social epistemology and I think that Fuller and Dawkins would agree on a lot of stuff, yet have many thought-provoking disagreements. Instead, Dawkins runs with a passing comment about the internet to frighten viewers with conspiracy theorists! Disappointing.

  3. Ian B Gibson

    Dawkins was wrong on a couple of technical points when discussing astronomy, and I thought he could have explained the actual mechanisms used by the practitioners of the pseudosciences he tackled in more detail.

    In particular, I would have liked him to go further with his false positive/false negative distinction with regard to observing patterns in nature – he could have made clear the vastly differing consequences these two errors would have had on our species over evolutionary time.

    Overall, it was quite good, but you could learn far more by spending ten minutes reading one of his articles; I suppose that’s an inherent limit of television.

  4. Ryan S.

    Awesome, I can’t wait for the next part.

  5. It really drives home the connection between egocentricity and “spirituality”…and thus, to some degree, spirituality and mental illness.

    To be blunt, though: science is for smart people, and Dawkins isn’t offering much of anything to the myriads who are baffled by high-school algebra. His response would be that I’m merely arrogant, and we need to find better teaching methods. I’d say he’s naive.

  6. “It really drives home the connection between egocentricity and “spirituality”….science is for smart people, and Dawkins isn’t offering much of anything to the myriads who are baffled by high-school algebra…

    I guess you’re trying to drive home the connection between egocentricity and “science.” Doing a good job so far.

  7. Bravo Richard!

  8. Matt: I don’t have much time for Fuller as he is a well-known Intelligent Design advocate (see here). But then I’ve never read much of his social stuff. I hope it’s better than his science.

  9. Despard: That piece is an utter hack job, in true Norman Levitt fashion. It is filled with ad hominem attacks and innuendo. I’m not willing to dismiss Fuller’s so-called defense of ID, out of hand. First, I have not yet read much of it (but now plan to!). Second, I think that it may have some interesting strategic repercussions, rhetorically speaking.

    I don’t think that Fuller is as clearly a proponent as Levitt would like for us to believe. Some of his “defense” of what we see as ridiculous ideas is, I believe, an attempt to really get these ideas out in the public to be scrutinized (and then laughed at, if necessary). I think Fuller is more of a defender of a (as democratic as possible) clash of ideas. And living in a democracy, we will always have to put up with some idiots. (I believe that that’s a fair trade for a relative degree of freedom.)

    I think that ideas similar to ID have been so quickly suppressed by coordinated campaign of scientists and experts, that laypeople can be left out of the discussion and pick up remnants of ridiculous ideas and tout them without being aware of what the experts have said.

    At the same time, I don’t like ideas like ID hanging around… But does that necessarily mean that ID has gained any legitimacy? I don’t know.

  10. Evinfuilt

    Very enjoyable. The dowser section was brilliant in how quickly denialism appears when faced with reality.

    Very sad thoughts in the end, seeing feelings getting more attention than science in schools. What can I say, that “feels” wrong 😉

  11. S.H.A.M. Scam Sam

    Needless to say, Richard Dawkins is one of my heroes.

    Thanks for putting this up, guys. I can sleep better.

  12. Dean Morrison

    “I’m not willing to dismiss Fuller’s so-called defense of ID, out of hand. First, I have not yet read much of it (but now plan to!).”

    In the meantime how about promising not to comment until you’ve got some idea of what you’re talking about??

  13. Dear Dean Morrison,
    A little cranky, no? As a matter of fact, it looks as though my first analysis of the Fuller situation was pretty darn accurate. I am glad that I chose to comment, even though I didn’t have ALL the information. I found this article. I recommend reading the whole thing. Fuller’s ideas unfold throughout and just reading the first part gives a woefully incomplete picture.


  14. Are you the same Dean Morrison that has been banned from the Bad Science Forum? If so, I guess we shouldn’t expect you to be very civil…

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