July 28, 2018

Richard Dawkins Searches for Enemy of Reason and Finds Himself

What is a tree? Is it just material or is it something more? Satish Kumar schools Richard Dawkins in metaphysics.

I stumbled across this video and absolutely loved it.

This is unedited footage recorded for a 2007 TV show on superstition led by Richard Dawkins, called 'Enemies of Reason.' Very little of these 37 minutes made it to the episode that was aired. In the show, Dawkins purports to expose people who are supposedly superstitious, anti-science and therefore anti-reason.

Satish Kumar is an environmentalist and editor of Resurgence magazine. He also founded the Schumacher college (there was a time, years ago, when I really wanted to enroll there). Satish considers himself spiritual and has been openly critical of science. So Dawkins goes to him presumably to make him say something into which he could poke holes. Something befitting the label of 'enemy of reason.'

But what this uncut version actually shows is the exact opposite. By the end, it is Dawkins who comes across as the one who is unwilling to listen to reason as he fails to understand Satish's point of view, sticking to his own even when he is unable to defend it. Video comments are filled with people who used to admire Dawkins but agree he totally lost the plot on this one.

The first ten minutes they discuss what it means to be holistic. In the rest of it Satish is trying to explain to Dawkins what he means by the word spiritual. It's really cool. It's Metaphysics 101. Even though it's a very basic introduction, like learning to write the alphabets of the language of metaphysics, yet these first steps are essential since we're not used to looking at environmental issues in this way. Satish gives several effective analogies while Dawkins fails to offer any good ones of his own to defend the scientific, rationalist view he advocates.

The best part is the last seven minutes when they discuss the difference in worldview engendered by seeing Nature only as physical, mechanistic, and separate - the scientific perspective - compared to seeing it as holistic, interconnected and something more than physical - the spiritual or metaphysical perspective.

But more than the entertainment, it's a primer on why you can't really change the mind of a skeptic. The fact that a skeptic does not change his mind doesn't have anything to do with your arguments. It has to do with the his steadfast refusal to change his mind. So important lesson: do not bother with skeptics.

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