The programme had some priceless moments, such as when a clairvoyant claimed that Dawkins's grandmother had many cats, only to be told that she hated cats, and the sight of dowsers (in a controlled experiment) making excuses for their failure to find water any more often than pure chance would dictate. You would have thought that, presented with such evidence, the dowsers would have realised that dowsing was nonsense, but I suppose that is the point - they steadfastly refuse to accept reason and evidence.
Interestingly, Dawkins also argues that prejudice against science is evident in schools, blaming 'relativist' thinkers who have "made it fashionable in education to teach students to value private feeling more highly than evidence-based reason". I couldn't agree more. Science has given us terrific advances in our knowledge which have led to us leading longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives, yet we seem to treat it with the sort of take-it-for-granted contempt that a teenager may have for his or her elders.
I have myself come across the argument "there must be something else", from people rational enough to disregard religion, but not able to completely throw away the 'comforter' of superstition. My answer comprises two questions:
- Why must there be something else? I'm not saying there isn't, but I require some evidence before I'll accept that there is; and
- What more do you want? In last night's programme Dawkins exhorted viewers to do something I think too few people do: look up into a clear night sky and glimpse a tiny fraction of what is out there - how can anyone seeing that say they want more?