Animated Series Watch in awe as Professor Richard Dawkins systematically destroys the comforting delusions of happy, normal people, replacing their vague, inoffensive belief systems with a description of human consciousness as an indeterminate quantum reality occupying four-to-five dimensional phase-space. With only a set of completely baffling non-recursive algorithms with which to make sense of their lives, these people of laughably average intelligence fail to grasp the meaning of it all and wander down to the garden shed, drink bleach and blow their fucking brains out. Meanwhile, watch in awe as Professor Dawkins sensibly abstains from love, sex, listening to music and all other non-rational activities. Episode One. Professor Dawkins discovers that he has a stick up his arse.
I’m all for Dawkins outing bullshit snake oil peddlers and ‘spirit-mediums’ who manipulate the grieving and vulnerable; these, quite frankly dangerous charlatans have it coming. But extending the circle of unreason to any system of thought that cannot be proven empirically or logically threatens to wipe away most of the things that make life worthwhile.
If people were truly rational, they wouldn’t fall in love. Painting, architecture, music, sex, gardening; none of these are rational. Magical thinking extends well beyond the major world religions and into all aspects of human endeavor. Private systems of ritual and symbolism have shaped countless great works of art. Hawksmoor’s churches, William Blake’s poetry and Alan Moore’s comic books would never have seen the light of day without the influence of madness, ritual, obsession, passion and the occult. Reason and creativity are, quite simply, uneasy bedfellows.
Religious and magical thinking only becomes a problem when it dictates social policy. Just as the moral dogmas of Imams and Priests should not dictate the law, the cost of spurious remedies should not be fronted by the tax payer. In a society with tax-funded healthcare, separating church and state means separating science and superstition. Medicine is about solving the problem of illness. There is no point in medicines that don’t work.
But in their privately funded private lives people should be left to believe and buy whatever comforts them, however ludicrous or offensive we might find it. Tolerance means putting up with things you disagree with so long as they don’t directly affect you, on the understanding that you may well do things that others disagree with. If I remember correctly, that is what liberalism is all about.
Hitchens: Sweating, trembling freak show
Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are wrong about religion. It does not poison everything. Rather, it is often used to justify poisonous acts. But the major genocides of the last century have been committed in the name of class war, nationalism and racial purity, not religion. People do very bad things for all sorts of horrible reasons, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Without religion to justify their acts of carnage, they just find something else.
And talking of Godless genocide…
This film is still in production, check out the trailer. It puts the 80's British music press's class-obsessions into perspective, to say the least...
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