Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Richard Dawkins Scared of Evidence

Another example showing dogmatic (not to say fanatical) attitude of an infamous militant atheist Richard Dawkins.  This time Richard was not interested in fighting theists or religion but scientists whose research did not agree with Richard's worldview.  Here are some interesting excerpts (the whole can be read here: http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/Dawkins.html):

We then agreed that controlled experiments were necessary. I said that this was why I had actually been doing such experiments, including tests to find out if people really could tell who was calling them on the telephone when the caller was selected at random. The results were far above the chance level.
The previous week I had sent Richard copies of some of my papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, so that he could look at the data.

Richard seemed uneasy and said, “I’m don’t want to discuss evidence”. “Why not?” I asked. “There isn’t time. It’s too complicated. And that’s not what this programme is about. The camera stopped.

The Director, Russell Barnes, confirmed that he too was not interested in evidence. The film he was making was another Dawkins polemic.
Richard Dawkins has long proclaimed his conviction that “The paranormal is bunk. Those who try to sell it to us are fakes and charlatans”. Enemies of Reason was intended to popularize this belief. But does his crusade really promote “the public understanding of science,” of which he is the professor at Oxford? Should science be a vehicle of prejudice, a kind of fundamentalist belief-system? Or should it be a method of enquiry into the unknown?

Like Rupert Sheldrake, I dream about science being a method of enquiry into the unknown - i.e. free from aggressive fundamentalists like Dawkins.  Unfortunately, I fear that the majority of people nowadays calling themselves scientists do not behave like open-minded geniuses and would feel at home in the ranks of Spanish Inquisition.

If you are interested in Rupert Sheldrake and his research there is an interesting video of his speaking at Google Tech Talks in 2008 entitled The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence.  The part where he recounts his meeting with Dawkins starts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JnA8GUtXpXY#t=5193s

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