Richard Dawkins Interviews Derren Brown

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You all know my views on psychics by now, I hope. The fact that so many people are still taken in by them is a real source of discomfort for me. Their tricks and scams have been so well publicised that it is a testament to how deluded humans can be that they are still able to practice.

Richard Dawkins is probably the most famous speaker on atheist, anti-religious and sceptical viewpoints out there (though James Randi gives him a great run for his money!). Derren Brown is a British illusionist who focuses on suggestion and who is guaranteed to entertain. As someone involved in stage magic he is in an excellent position to notice when someone is running a con or using any one of the usual tricks that psychics use. With thanks to the nice people at Bad Psychics (the largest sceptical and medium debunking site in the UK) for bringing this to my attention, I bring you the first part of an interview in which Brown and Dawkins discuss the phenomena of psychics, the reasons why people go to them (and why they shouldn’t) and the tricks that psychics use to make you believe in them. This is an informed interview between two intelligent and experienced men. Each part is around 10 minutes long and the next part will (or should) load automatically.

The first part is provided free online. If you would like to support the work Dawkins and other people do, consider purchasing ‘The Enemies of Reason: The Uncut Interviews’ on DVD by clicking on this link. The video can be seen after the jump:

Parliamentary Committee on Homeopathy

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The full title should be “The Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee on Homeopathy” but I think that would make the URL unreadable. The English Parliament (UK Parliament?) has many Select Committees covering all aspects of governmental influence. The Committees are drawn from all parties and their role is to examine evidence and take expert testimony. They also take great pleasure in ripping apart MPs, civil servants and suppliers to the government. Where normal parliamentary business appears to be stage managed and operating off some bizarre codewords and actions, Select Committees are very plain speaking. Hansard, which publishes parliamentary records, has a list of Select Committee meetings and the records. Luckily for us, they also provide video records of the meetings.

This Science and Technology Committee meeting was called to hear evidence and submissions on 3 subjects:

  • Government policy on licensing of homeopathic products
  • Government policy on the funding of homeopathy through the NHS
  • the evidence base on homeopathic products and services