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Some Thoughts on Dawkin’s Enemies of Reason (Part I) Saturday, August 25, 2007

Posted by henry000 in astrology, Carl Sagan, Channel 4, Dawkins, documentary, dowsing, Enemies of Reason, medium, new-age, paranormal, pseduo-science, psychics, rationality, reason, Richard Dawkins, skeptics, spirituality, video.
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I finally got around to watch the much anticipated TV documentary, Enemies of Reason (part one), created by you-know-who – Richard Dawkins. For those who don’t know, it is a skeptical examination on the irrational, the superstitious, the disillusioned, and the unreasonable. The first part of the series includes a look at astrology, dowsing, psychics, medium (talking to the dead) and certain forms of new-age spirituality (which I will bucket them all with the term “the irrational” from now on).

Here is the link to the video you can watch online or download:

My gut feeling is that something is wanting in the documentary, something is missing. I think it lacks in stressing the dangers of the irrational present to the general public. It is not harsh and devastating enough. Dawkins approach is mainly that of a scientific one, as one might expect – he looks at why people tend to believe in the irrational (Skinner’s Pigeons), carries out controlled tests on dowsing and astrology readings, mentions repeatedly how science has advanced our species and way of life, and is genuinely interested in what the psychics have to say about their practices.

There is nothing wrong with all of the above and I agree with them all. However, the documentary needs to examine critically at the practical implication of the irrationals. From memory, there is only one instance of this, where in the case of communicating with the dead Dawkins is concerned with the mental states of those who have lost their loving ones. I would have liked to see Dawkins apply his usual scholarly excoriation to expose and bulldoze his way through all forms of irrationality, as well as mentioning some stories too. Astrology is not merely harmless as one might think, people do act based on the readings, and I think the quackery of communicating with the dead equates to a form of emotional abuse with these so-called mediums praying upon the fragile and needy mental states of people.

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Natural Atheism Saturday, June 23, 2007

Posted by henry000 in agnosticism, anthropology, atheism, book review, David Eller, Eller, faith, fundamentalism, God, logic, Natural Atheism, rationality, religion, science, secularism, spirituality, theism.
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“I was born an Atheist. All humans are born Atheists.”

This is the powerful opening of a superbly written book, Natural Atheism, which I feel deserves as much attention, if not more, as the current best-selling atheism books such as The God Delusion and A Letter To Christian Nation. The author of the book is Dr. David Eller, an American anthropologist.

This atheism book is a fresh break from the usual passionate and vocal (or, aggressive and strident, to many people) tones of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens – it is of a modest and thoughtful tone. Reading the book is rather like a typical scholarly textbook – impersonal, very well structured and presented, important words are critically defined and crucial points are argued in logical steps.

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Quiz: What Kind of Atheist Are You? Saturday, May 26, 2007

Posted by henry000 in agnosticism, atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, evolution, faith, funny, God, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, quiz, rationality, religion, science, secularism, Sikhism, spirituality.
6 comments

Courtesy of Evolving Thoughts and the ever-resourceful Pharygula, here is the result of what type of an atheist I am… below is the result – I am a 100% “scientific atheist” – and somewhat surprisingly, a 25% of a theist!

Of course, there are questions regarding evolution.

What kind of atheist are you?

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I’m not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist
100%
Militant Atheist
75%
Spiritual Atheist
58%
Angry Atheist
42%
Apathetic Atheist
33%
Theist
25%
Agnostic
8%

What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com