I have recently been enjoying the musings of Richard Dawkins, especially his Enemies of Reason series (the first episode of which you can view at the bottom of the page). I adore his deadpan expression as he scathingly mocks the bizarre practices of mystics, strict religious groups and experts in alternative medicines, and find his dad-like bewilderment when out of his comfort zone tremendously entertaining. Similarly to the style of Louis Theroux, Dawkins acts as the educated everyman, a sensical counterpoint to the deeply illogical extremists he interviews.
I agree with the majority of his arguments as I also believe in the power of the individual, the harmfulness of excessive faith and require tangible evidence to forge opinions on most topics, but the man’s standpoint is marred by his desperate need to be right.
He is greatly irritated by those that ‘indulge in unscientific delusion’ and thinks of this as a highly dangerous flaw in humanity, but is it not just as dangerous to concentrate on nothing but what is learned and what is certain? There is an infinite amount of undiscovered and unexplained things in the world and it is only through toying with unreality that we can grow as a species, i.e. the importance of theory before proof. I may be going out on a limb here, but it seems as though he is just as close-minded as those he exposes.
Dawkins successfully outs a lot of fakes and phonies but, like the seemingly crazy people he interviews, he only highlights the negative aspects of these subjects and surrounds himself with the sorts of people that could convincingly back his corner. How can he claim the destructiveness of these groups when he himself is not a neutral party? He is an extremist in his own right, and is being an extremist not in itself illogical and destructive?
Honesty is integral to the success and progression of humanity and I applaud Dawkins for fighting to reveal the more harmful enemies of reason, but he himself is a contradiction. A worshiper of ‘reason’ is just as blinkered as a worshiper of a god, and I think if it came down to it I would no less vouch for him than I would any other man with a messiah complex.