EP1/2 The Enemies of Reason: Slaves to Superstition
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The Enemies of Reason is a two-part television documentary, written and presented by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Is it rational that the dead can communicate with the living and give sound advice on how they should live their lives? What about sticking pins into your body to free the flow of Chi energy and cure your illness?
Or the bending of spoons using your mind alone? Is that rational? Richard Dawkins doesn’t think so, and feels it is his duty to expose those areas of belief that exist without scientific proof, yet manage to hold the nation under their spell. He will take on the world’s leading proponents in their field of expertise, meet the victims who have used them and expose the history of the movements – from the charlatans who have milked these practices to the experiments and testing that have failed to produce conclusive results.
Dawkins points to some of science’s achievements and describes it as freeing most people from superstition and dogma. Picking up from his superstition-reason distinction in The Root of All Evil? (while recycling some footage from it), he then says reason is facing an “epidemic of superstition” that “impoverishes our culture” and introduces gurus that persuade us “to run away from reality”. He calls the present day dangerous times. He returns to science’s achievements, including the fact that, by extending peoples lifespan, it helps them to take more advantage of live. He turns his attention to astrology, which he criticizes for stereotyping without evidence.
Richard Dawkins examines the growing suspicion the public has for science based medicine, despite its track record of successes like the germ theory of disease, vaccines, antibiotics and increased lifespan. He notes a fifth of British children are currently not immunized against measles, mumps and rubella, attributing it to fears arising from a highly controversial report linking the vaccine with autism. Dawkins criticizes the growing field of alternative medicine which does not pass the same objective and statistical rigor as scientifically derived treatments using controlled double-blind studies.