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 13th August 2007, 01:02 PM #1 andyandy anthropomorphic ape     Join Date: Apr 2006 Posts: 8,377 Dawkins' Enemies of Reason Just watched the first episode....it was good stuff. anyone else catch it? ooh! New smilies.... __________________ "Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
 13th August 2007, 01:08 PM #2 cyborg deus ex machina     Join Date: Aug 2005 Posts: 4,981 Yep. Good program. __________________ The phrase deus ex machina (literally "god out of a machine") describes an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot...
 13th August 2007, 01:17 PM #3 Mid Graduate Poster     Join Date: Jun 2005 Posts: 1,067 Yep, saw it too thought it was quite good also managed to cover quite a few JREF sub forums (even CT )
 13th August 2007, 01:25 PM #4 Civilized Worm Graduate Poster   Join Date: Apr 2007 Posts: 1,718 Now the poor guy is going to have to deal with conspiracy theorists at every turn on top of all the other woo! Great show though, I had a good laugh at that guy who argued that "a rock has a very rock-like quality to it".
 13th August 2007, 01:27 PM #5 bujin Thinker   Join Date: Aug 2007 Posts: 165 Very good programme, but annoying camera work at times! One woolly believer on another forum has already dismissed everything he's said, saying that his astrology experiment was unscientific (therefore everything he says is utter rubbish). Naturally, I've tried to put her right on that, but let's face it, she's never going to change her beliefs on the basis of what Dawkins says...
 13th August 2007, 01:42 PM #6 articulett Banned   Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 15,404 Does anyone have a torrent to it or is it up on youtube-- we probably won't get the show in the US...
 13th August 2007, 02:15 PM #7 mummymonkey Did you spill my pint?     Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: Scotland Posts: 2,052 Originally Posted by Civilized Worm Great show though, I had a good laugh at that guy who argued that "a rock has a very rock-like quality to it". "Rockness". if you will. Here in Scotland the lochs have similar properties. __________________ Knees bent, arms stretched, Ra! Ra! Ra!
 13th August 2007, 02:20 PM #8 Rrose Selavy Stranded in Sub-Atomica     Join Date: Sep 2004 Posts: 3,395 As one of the people who while agreeing with him, was critical of "Root of Evil" - this was a much better programme. Now I need help. I think I am in danger of falling out with a close friend who is into "Woo" - just now had a phone conversation with them when I mentioned the programme . It will probably be in vain as they are unlikely to budge but I need a link to a good critique of Astrology to assist me when we next meet .
 13th August 2007, 02:25 PM #9 andyandy anthropomorphic ape     Join Date: Apr 2006 Posts: 8,377 Originally Posted by mummymonkey "Rockness". if you will. Here in Scotland the lochs have similar properties. indeed, there's plenty of woo in your lochness __________________ "Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
 13th August 2007, 02:40 PM #10 JonWhite Muse     Join Date: Dec 2006 Posts: 691 Great programme. Really enjoyed it and Brooker was right in that Dawkins came across much better than in the "Root..." progs. I almost felt that he was probably suppressing a laugh at the stupidity of it all rather than the obvious anger that the previous religious zealots fostered. Any woos that saw it will probably still retreat into the same form of denial as the dowsers did and ignore the reality staring them in the face. But as long as he (and everyone else) keep chipping away... Roll on next weeks woo therapy based show. __________________ "In cases where prior knowledge is available, the alternative to 'an open mind' is not 'a closed mind'. It is 'an informed mind'. In such contexts, any appeal to 'keep an open mind' is an appeal to prefer ignorance over knowledge" Ian Rowland Last edited by JonWhite; 13th August 2007 at 02:53 PM.
 13th August 2007, 02:48 PM #11 andyandy anthropomorphic ape     Join Date: Apr 2006 Posts: 8,377 Originally Posted by JonWhite Great programme. Really enjoyed it and Brooker was right in that Dawkins came across much better than in the "Root..." progs. I almost felt that he was probably suppressing a laugh at the stupidity of it all rather than the obvious anger that the previous religious zealots fostered. I can't help but think that any woos that saw it will still retreat into the same form of denial that the dowsers did and ignore the reality staring them in the face. But as long as he (and everyone else) keep chipping away... I'm really looking forward to next weeks more woo therapy based show. i agree - i got the impression he was being more conscious as to how he would come across than in "The Root...". The only shame of the program is that it wasn't able to devote an entire episode to each astrology, cold reading and dowsing - but perhaps that is just being greedy __________________ "Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
 13th August 2007, 02:56 PM #12 JonWhite Muse     Join Date: Dec 2006 Posts: 691 Absolutely. If I were to make a complaint of the prog it would be that it really was far too short. __________________ "In cases where prior knowledge is available, the alternative to 'an open mind' is not 'a closed mind'. It is 'an informed mind'. In such contexts, any appeal to 'keep an open mind' is an appeal to prefer ignorance over knowledge" Ian Rowland
 13th August 2007, 03:01 PM #13 Civilized Worm Graduate Poster   Join Date: Apr 2007 Posts: 1,718 There should be at least one program a week where Dawkins stares at people while they try to explain their woo.
 13th August 2007, 03:20 PM #14 articulett Banned   Join Date: Jan 2005 Posts: 15,404 Originally Posted by Rrose Selavy As one of the people who while agreeing with him, was critical of "Root of Evil" - this was a much better programme. Now I need help. I think I am in danger of falling out with a close friend who is into "Woo" - just now had a phone conversation with them when I mentioned the programme . It will probably be in vain as they are unlikely to budge but I need a link to a good critique of Astrology to assist me when we next meet . http://www.google.com/search?client=...=Google+Search This is a good clip from Randi's Secrets of the Psychics (a great video)... For my students I cut out the horoscope from the day before and all identifying labels and have them try and guess which one was their horoscope from yesterday...
 13th August 2007, 03:24 PM #15 TheDoLittle Disco King Discombobulator     Join Date: Apr 2007 Posts: 1,842 I'll have to wait till it comes out on YouTube. No station here in the states would dare show it. __________________ David O. Little -=The DoLittle 8-)=- America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week. - Evan Esar / No one can earn a million dollars honestly. - William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925) / If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you. - Don Marquis
 13th August 2007, 04:00 PM #16 Big Les Philosopher   Join Date: Mar 2006 Location: UK Posts: 5,032 Originally Posted by andyandy indeed, there's plenty of woo in your lochness Not to mention actual "rockness". A good all-round effort I think. I got the distinct impression that the spiritualist guy knew perfectly well it was all nonsense, but genuinely felt he was helping them out and was terrified Dawkins was going to show them that there was no wizard behind the curtain. Just my impression - he was damned shifty and far less sure of himself than that insufferable Observer asstrologist. God he got up my nose with his smug mannered defensiveness. How would a test of his abilities be "perverse" exactly? What a turd.
 13th August 2007, 05:46 PM #17 JoeTheJuggler Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Jun 2006 Posts: 27,766 Originally Posted by mummymonkey "Rockness". if you will. Here in Scotland the lochs have similar properties. Nice! Edit: I wanted to add that The Untouchables have a certain Eliot quality to them. . . .but I couldn't figure out how to work it in. __________________ "That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
 13th August 2007, 06:05 PM #18 cj.23 Master Poster     Join Date: Dec 2006 Posts: 2,827 As you may have guessed, I have reservations... I have posted them on the Dawkins forum, in my short review, and feel it in bad taste to just cut and paste them or link them here, but on the whole a good show. cj x __________________ I'm an Anglican Christian, so I declare my prejudice here. Please take it in to account when reading my posts. "Most people would rather die than think: many do." - Betrand Russell My dull life blogged http://jerome23.wordpress.com
 13th August 2007, 06:39 PM #19 ChainLightning New Blood   Join Date: Jan 2007 Posts: 22 I found a link of a morning show in England that had Richard Dawkins on. He give a preview and talks with the hosts.http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/66043/detail/
 13th August 2007, 06:46 PM #20 ChainLightning New Blood   Join Date: Jan 2007 Posts: 22 Sorry, did not know that someone posted this earlier.
 13th August 2007, 07:29 PM #21 The Shank All Hail King Murali     Join Date: Aug 2006 Posts: 1,339 Do you understand this, do you understand that, did anyone else think that priest/psychic copied his act straight from the "Colin Fry Handbook"?
 13th August 2007, 11:26 PM #22 Explorer Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,149 Not bad entertainment, and the mild mannered Dawkins doing his bit for science, which is all for the good. However, two points. The blind bat example of an original belief that this animal's method of dodging obstacles whilst flying was a paranormal effect, was actually a very good example of how scientific methodology can in a stroke, turn the paranormal, into the normal. This point has been debated on this board before, but rarely recognised, at least from the posts that I have seen before. Secondly, I thought the dowsing tests were scientifically flawed and consequently, absolutely meaningless. It wasn't made clear at the outset whether or not the participant dowsers had a successful record of "sensing" or "divining" water contained in plastic bottles hidden in a series of polythene buckets, above ground. Dowsers you see, are no different to most of us, they are not experts in designing a correct applied scientific methodology to a test. Why should they be? Unless they are experienced experimental scientists first, and dowsers, second. At the end of the test, with the inevitable result that the success rate was no better than random guesswork, the dowsers were flabbergasted, and unable to articulate the reason for their failure, apart from the chap who said that his god abandoned him for the day, so that particular clip had to be included for the writer of "TGD." In previous threads on dowsing, I have made some suggestions for an improved test, principally in the field, rather than using bottles and plastic buckets inside a tent, with onlookers standing in the entrance holding their cups of coffee in close proximity to the test. Dowsing may be like the bat phenomenon, or the bird migratory instinct. We may have some ability to sense underground running water, which was a survival tool in our ancient past. Or not, of course, but I am afraid that the test in the programme did not add to the scientific debate on this subject in any way. Last edited by Explorer; 13th August 2007 at 11:32 PM.
 14th August 2007, 12:09 AM #23 Diabolos Thinker     Join Date: Jul 2005 Posts: 211 Originally Posted by Explorer I thought the dowsing tests were scientifically flawed and consequently, absolutely meaningless. It wasn't made clear at the outset whether or not the participant dowsers had a successful record of "sensing" or "divining" water contained in plastic bottles hidden in a series of polythene buckets, above ground. It's possible that they were given a "practice run", knowing where the water was, so they can satisfy themselves that their "equipment" and conditions are all working, but was edited out of the final cut. Given that the experiment appeared to be conducted by Prof. Chris French, a well-known investigator and sceptic of paranormal events, I expect the experiment was probably more rigorous than we saw on the show. Maybe someone fancies emailing him to ask? mailto:c.french@gold.ac.uk __________________ "What I say is true because you can't prove it isn't, and what you say is wrong because I don't understand it."
 14th August 2007, 12:16 AM #24 Shaun from Scotland Muse   Join Date: Sep 2002 Posts: 864 I had to laugh at the astrolger from the newspaper (the name of which escapes me) who was being pressed to actually explain how Astrology works. It was obvious that even he knew it was utter cack. "Your'e looking for a mechanism aren't you?" I had to not laugh............... The spiritualist didn't come over any better. All in all, a good shoeing for wooing!! __________________ "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit" Statements Richard G cannot back up - "You may not own a rifle, or a pistol in the U.K.. Period. One shotgun per person is allowed, under heavy regulations. Most owners have turned those in also, because the regulations, and registration are too difficult and burdensome"
 14th August 2007, 12:19 AM #25 Explorer Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,149 Originally Posted by Diabolos It's possible that they were given a "practice run", knowing where the water was, so they can satisfy themselves that their "equipment" and conditions are all working, but was edited out of the final cut. Given that the experiment appeared to be conducted by Prof. Chris French, a well-known investigator and sceptic of paranormal events, I expect the experiment was probably more rigorous than we saw on the show. Maybe someone fancies emailing him to ask? mailto:c.french@gold.ac.uk OK, I'll do it, and report back with hopefully a lot more detail.
 14th August 2007, 12:27 AM #26 Thing ...now with added haecceity!     Join Date: Dec 2005 Posts: 510 Neil Spencer, the Observer's pet idiot got an inept pre-emptive hit in on Sunday: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/revie...146775,00.html Quote: Evidently hoping to prove astrologers are know-nothings, Dawkins' interview started with a lengthy grilling about astronomy - the precession of the equinoxes, sidereal and tropical zodiacs, Kuiper Belt objects. There was the usual objection to astrology dividing people into 12 Sun signs, and my usual reply: that's eight more than the Myers-Briggs personality test used by commerce. Actually, astrology's basic personality types number 1,728. Idiot. __________________ One evening I came home to find my wife dissolved in tears. After crystallizing her over a bunsen burner, I managed to elicit the reason. S. J. Perelman
 14th August 2007, 01:28 AM #27 andyandy anthropomorphic ape     Join Date: Apr 2006 Posts: 8,377 Originally Posted by Explorer Secondly, I thought the dowsing tests were scientifically flawed and consequently, absolutely meaningless. . where was the scientific flaw? It was double blinded, and significance could have been determined by a simple binomial model. It was, if i remember, a choice of 1 from 12 repeated three times, so we could use The probability of 0 = ${3 \choose 0 }(\frac{11}{12})^3 = 0.77$ the probability of 1 = ${3 \choose 1 } (\frac{11}{12})^2 (\frac{1}{12})^1 = 0.21$ the probability of 2 = ${3 \choose 2 } (\frac{11}{12})^1 (\frac{1}{12})^2 = 0.019$ the probability of 3= ${3 \choose 3 } (\frac{1}{12})^3 = 0.001$ So for any significance on any particular trial you'd need p(>1) = 0.02 (but this is for individual trials, of course if you were testing 50 dowsers in one go you could expect someone to get this by chance) __________________ "Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
 14th August 2007, 01:37 AM #28 Explorer Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,149 Originally Posted by andyandy where was the scientific flaw? It was double blinded, and significance could have been determined by a simple binomial model. It was, if i remember, a choice of 1 from 12 repeated three times, so we could use The probability of 0 = ${3 \choose 0 }(\frac{11}{12})^3 = 0.77$ the probability of 1 = ${3 \choose 1 } (\frac{11}{12})^2 (\frac{1}{12})^1 = 0.21$ the probability of 2 = ${3 \choose 2 } (\frac{11}{12})^1 (\frac{1}{12})^2 = 0.019$ the probability of 3= ${3 \choose 3 } (\frac{1}{12})^3 = 0.001$ So for any significance on any particular trial you'd need p(>1) = 0.02 (but this is for individual trials, of course if you were testing 50 dowsers in one go you could expect someone to get this by chance) You have missed the point Andy. I was not querying the applied maths, only the applied scientific method of the test, which in my view was flawed. I have e-mailed Professor French with my points and invited him to reply. If he does, I will will post both my and his e-mails for your scrutiny.
 14th August 2007, 01:43 AM #29 Mid Graduate Poster     Join Date: Jun 2005 Posts: 1,067 Originally Posted by Thing Neil Spencer, the Observer's pet idiot got an inept pre-emptive hit in on Sunday: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/revie...146775,00.html Idiot. It's slightly ammusing that he gets the order the programs were going to be broadcast in the wrong way round though: Quote: In the first programme, he attempts to debunk alternative medicine, in the other to rubbish the ideas of astrologers, channellers and other so-called 'New Age' types. Last edited by Mid; 14th August 2007 at 02:05 AM.
 14th August 2007, 02:08 AM #30 davidsmith73 Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jul 2001 Posts: 1,697 Like explorer I thought the Enemies of Reason was good entertainment. As a show investigating examples of personal belief and delusion it was great. It showed how deluded people fail to use their powers of reason in various circumstances and when presented with certain questions. But a critical examination of controversial topics it was not. The main criticism I have is that Dawkins choses the weakest of targets. The "psychic" who gave him a reading was hilarious, complete with Shirley Ghostman vernacular. They must be two a penny at those new age fairs. And it was disappointing, to say the least, that dowsing was the subject of the controlled test, probably using a handful of dowsers pulled from the new age fair seen earlier. If one of the points of this show was to critically examine the phenomena of "psychic ability" then why didn't he and Chris French spend Channel 4's money to go and see Edwin May and Joseph McMoneagle who might have been happy to give the TV crew a number of demonstration attempts at remote viewing? I also thought the converstation between Dawkins and Satish Kumar was marred by communication problems. It seemed their language differences were getting in the way of understand what each were talking about. For example, when addressing his audience Kumar says "I was present the entire history of evolution". In reply to that statement I get the feeling that Dawkins would fail to examine the merits of a philosophical switch to mental monism but rather examine the merits of Kumars statement from within scientific materialism where he is bound to find contradiction. I don't think Kumar understood how greatly Dawkins is entrenched in his own metaphysics.
 14th August 2007, 02:18 AM #31 Darat Lackey Administrator     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: South East, UK Posts: 90,401 Originally Posted by davidsmith73 Like explorer I thought the Enemies of Reason was good entertainment. As a show investigating examples of personal belief and delusion it was great. It showed how deluded people fail to use their powers of reason in various circumstances and when presented with certain questions. But a critical examination of controversial topics it was not. The main criticism I have is that Dawkins choses the weakest of targets. The "psychic" who gave him a reading was hilarious, complete with Shirley Ghostman vernacular. They must be two a penny at those new age fairs. And it was disappointing, to say the least, that dowsing was the subject of the controlled test, probably using a handful of dowsers pulled from the new age fair seen earlier. If one of the points of this show was to critically examine the phenomena of "psychic ability" then why didn't he and Chris French spend Channel 4's money to go and see Edwin May and Joseph McMoneagle who might have been happy to give the TV crew a number of demonstration attempts at remote viewing? Probably because what he was interested in was people who are representative of the majority of "psychics" and other people who claim to have magic powers; in other words the majority that actually interacts and influences the general public's view of these claims day-in-day out. __________________ I wish I knew how to quit you
 14th August 2007, 02:19 AM #32 andyandy anthropomorphic ape     Join Date: Apr 2006 Posts: 8,377 Originally Posted by Explorer You have missed the point Andy. I was not querying the applied maths, only the applied scientific method of the test, which in my view was flawed. I have e-mailed Professor French with my points and invited him to reply. If he does, I will will post both my and his e-mails for your scrutiny. ok, then what aspect do you regard as flawed in the scientific method? __________________ "Contentment is found in the music of Bach, the books of Tolstoy and the equations of Dirac, not at the wheel of a BMW or the aisles of Harvey Nicks."
 14th August 2007, 02:22 AM #33 CFLarsen Penultimate Amazing   Join Date: Aug 2001 Posts: 42,367 Originally Posted by davidsmith73 Like explorer I thought the Enemies of Reason was good entertainment. As a show investigating examples of personal belief and delusion it was great. It showed how deluded people fail to use their powers of reason in various circumstances and when presented with certain questions. But a critical examination of controversial topics it was not. What would be? Originally Posted by davidsmith73 The main criticism I have is that Dawkins choses the weakest of targets. The "psychic" who gave him a reading was hilarious, complete with Shirley Ghostman vernacular. They must be two a penny at those new age fairs. And it was disappointing, to say the least, that dowsing was the subject of the controlled test, probably using a handful of dowsers pulled from the new age fair seen earlier. I don't see any difference in psychics, regardless of where they are. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free to share it. Originally Posted by davidsmith73 If one of the points of this show was to critically examine the phenomena of "psychic ability" then why didn't he and Chris French spend Channel 4's money to go and see Edwin May and Joseph McMoneagle who might have been happy to give the TV crew a number of demonstration attempts at remote viewing? Why don't May and McMoneagle offer to do this, in general? Originally Posted by davidsmith73 I also thought the converstation between Dawkins and Satish Kumar was marred by communication problems. It seemed their language differences were getting in the way of understand what each were talking about. For example, when addressing his audience Kumar says "I was present the entire history of evolution". In reply to that statement I get the feeling that Dawkins would fail to examine the merits of a philosophical switch to mental monism but rather examine the merits of Kumars statement from within scientific materialism where he is bound to find contradiction. I don't think Kumar understood how greatly Dawkins is entrenched in his own metaphysics. "Entrenched"? What do you mean by that?
 14th August 2007, 02:35 AM #34 davidsmith73 Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jul 2001 Posts: 1,697 Originally Posted by CFLarsen What would be? A show that is balanced. Enemies wasn't in this respect. Perhaps it wasn't the intention to be so. Quote: I don't see any difference in psychics, regardless of where they are. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free to share it. I did. I asked why Dawkins and Chris French did not use Channel 4's money to go and see Edwin May and Joseph McMoneagle who have already claimed evidence of remote viewing. Instead Dawkins chooses to go to a local psychic deulsion fair. Thats fine if you want to demonstrate how people can be deluded, which he did very well. But if you want to critically examine the alledged phenomena then I think its common sense to go to the best looking claim. Why didn't they do that? Quote: Why don't May and McMoneagle offer to do this, in general? I don't know Quote: "Entrenched"? What do you mean by that? I think he finds it difficult to look at issues of "spirituality" from a different metaphysical perspective.
 14th August 2007, 02:46 AM #35 Darat Lackey Administrator     Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: South East, UK Posts: 90,401 Originally Posted by davidsmith73 A show that is balanced. Enemies wasn't in this respect. Perhaps it wasn't the intention to be so. What do you mean by "balance" in this context? __________________ I wish I knew how to quit you
 14th August 2007, 02:50 AM #36 CFLarsen Penultimate Amazing   Join Date: Aug 2001 Posts: 42,367 Originally Posted by davidsmith73 A show that is balanced. Enemies wasn't in this respect. Perhaps it wasn't the intention to be so. Why does it have to be "balanced"? We sure don't see "balance" on shows that promote superstition. Originally Posted by davidsmith73 I did. Where? Originally Posted by davidsmith73 I asked why Dawkins and Chris French did not use Channel 4's money to go and see Edwin May and Joseph McMoneagle who have already claimed evidence of remote viewing. Instead Dawkins chooses to go to a local psychic deulsion fair. Thats fine if you want to demonstrate how people can be deluded, which he did very well. But if you want to critically examine the alledged phenomena then I think its common sense to go to the best looking claim. Why didn't they do that? You will have to demonstrate the difference between what you correctly call "delusion" and what May and McMoneagle do. Originally Posted by davidsmith73 I don't know Why is that Dawkins' problem? Originally Posted by davidsmith73 I think he finds it difficult to look at issues of "spirituality" from a different metaphysical perspective. I think Dawkins understand the different " metaphysical perspectives" just fine. Last edited by CFLarsen; 14th August 2007 at 02:52 AM.
 14th August 2007, 03:05 AM #37 SusanB-M1 Incurable Optimist     Join Date: Jul 2006 Posts: 3,658 Originally Posted by andyandy Just watched the first episode....it was good stuff. anyone else catch it? Wouldn't miss it - very good programme. I went to the BBC MBs this morning to see comments there but couldn't find any so I'll be poised with fingers on keyboard as soon as they appear! Originally Posted by davidsmith73 Like explorer I thought the Enemies of Reason was good entertainment. As a show investigating examples of personal belief and delusion it was great. It showed how deluded people fail to use their powers of reason in various circumstances and when presented with certain questions. But a critical examination of controversial topics it was not. I think on the contrary that because he gave all his interviewees plenty of time to say what they wanted and then relied on viewers to make up their minds, he was providing very adequate balance. Last edited by SusanB-M1; 14th August 2007 at 03:08 AM.
 14th August 2007, 03:07 AM #38 Explorer Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,149 Originally Posted by andyandy ok, then what aspect do you regard as flawed in the scientific method? The conditions of the tests were not ideal, for starters. Dowsers attempting to "sense" water inside a tent where an onlooker was standing in the doorway with a cup of fluid, presumably, tea or coffee near to their lips, does not suggest good controlled experimental conditions. More importantly, and I am awaiting confirmation on this from the professor who supervised and presumably designed the test, did the participant dowsers have a successful track record of "sensing" or "divining" water in plastic bottles, hidden inside polythene buckets, most notably above ground? If they had in the past, then indeed this would be a good test for them, but I suspect that they hadn't. If not, then perhaps the dowsers were simply invited to try the test for the sake of the TV programme. If they agreed to this, then did they as individuals, all believe that the test was representative of their skills successfully demonstrated in the field. Or, as was said above, were they were a just a few casual amateurs grabbed from the deluded in the fair depicted in the programme. Again I am awaiting confirmation on all these points from the professor. Let us be patient!
 14th August 2007, 03:09 AM #39 davidsmith73 Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jul 2001 Posts: 1,697 Originally Posted by Darat What do you mean by "balance" in this context? If Dawkins is claiming that the subject matter of "psychic clairvoyance" is delusion rather than demonstrating that there are many people who are deluded as to their "psychic ability" then I think he should be going to the best sources of the claim. It clearly was not a critical examination of the evidence for ESP, but perhaps it wasn't meant to be.
 14th August 2007, 03:21 AM #40 Explorer Graduate Poster   Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,149 Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 Wouldn't miss it - very good programme. I went to the BBC MBs this morning to see comments there but couldn't find any so I'll be poised with fingers on keyboard as soon as they appear! I think on the contrary that because he gave all his interviewees plenty of time to say what they wanted and then relied on viewers to make up their minds, he was providing very adequate balance. The problem is I think that these so-called psychics are unable to formulate any reliable and testable hypothesis behind their claimed skills. Most, if not all of them, like the dowsers, are not scientists acquainted with scientific method. Their usual gullible audience ask not of them for an explanation of their claims, but are simply happy enough to accept it, as they too are unable to articulate an argument for disbelief. These people can only flourish in an environment of ignorance and/or poor educational standards. However, having said all that, I agree with David that the programme chose the easy targets, and there was no real investigation into the subject matter, but then it was probably never meant to be like that. It was simply enough for Richard Dawkins to provide examples, any examples that is, of the gullible watching the gullible in action. The outcome of the subsequent personal interviews with Dawkins were entirely all too predictable. It served Dawkin's aguments well enough and complimented his views nicely in his book, TGD.

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