Richard Dawkins and “The Gullible Age”

6 08 2007

richard dawkins

Peter Millar reports for The Sunday Times

They sang about it back in the 1960s, taking their clothes off on stage and extolling “mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation”. Few back then dared hope that their new age would one day be a broad enough church to embrace the heir to the throne and the wife of a prime minister. Cherie Blair has worn Mexican “bio-electric shield” pendants, Prince Charles endorses alternative medicine, and those hallowed shrines of capitalist consumer-ism Selfridges and Harrods host the Psychic Sisters mediums.

Even modern global oil corporations have used dowsers to search for deposits But now Richard Dawkins, the man who told you that God was not only dead but had all along been a bogeyman invented by bogeymen, has levelled his sights at the whole new age caravanserai, including astrologers, spirit mediums, faith healers and homeopathic medicine. Is it high noon for the Age of Aquarius? It is the believers in Aquarius (and Leo and Taurus and Pisces) who attract the first body blow in Dawkins’s new Channel 4 series The Enemies of Reason, which begins next week.

Dawkins is horrified that 25% of the British public has some belief in astrology – more than in any one established religion – and that more newspaper column inches are devoted to horoscopes than to science. Leaning back on a sofa in the faded gothic splendour of Oxford’s 14th century New College he sighs with something approaching despair: “It belittles our universe. To have astrologers demeaning astronomy by tapping into the spine-tingling wonder of the universe is . . .” he struggles briefly for a word, then finds one and pronounces it with a keen awareness of the irony: “Sacrilegious!”

More here

Also, The Telegraph on Dawkins’ C4 show here.

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