Richard Dawkins Interviews Derren Brown

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:

Posted on 20 December, 2008, in Skeptical Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I had no idea that he did this interview. Thanks for the link. Dawkins is a pretty interesting figure.

  2. I’ll have to take a peek at this when I get time. I’ve been reading a lot of Dawkins lately. Just finished “The God Delusion” which is a very good book, even if you’re an atheist or a religious person, it might just make you think a little more if you’re religious or believe in a god.

    Next up is “The Blind Watchmaker” and “Climbing Mount Probable”. I also picked up “Godless” in which Dan Barker went from a preacher to becoming a full blown atheist, telling his story of how one goes from preaching to not believing.

    But Dawkins is a great writer and skeptic, also a great scientist. I’ve been fascinated with evolution for some time now and reading more on it is just interesting stuff for me.

  3. You might also be interested in a few Unwelcome Guests episodes that he was featured in, particularly episodes 184, 358, and 418.

    MrCorey´s last blog post..Slow Gnome Logout?

  4. Dawkins is a great writer. A good percentage of his books are science heavy though, so be prepared for a dry read. His love for science and the natural world definitely come through.

    If you are interested in reading up on some scams, pick up a biography of Houdini and anything by James Randi – his book on faith healers was a real eye opener!

    [edit] The late Carl Sagan is also a very well-respected freethinking author and his books are also recommended.

  5. Yeah, Carl Sagan is on my list of authors to read as well. I can only read and buy so many at a time. 🙂

  6. I am very confident real psychic powers do not exist, because there has never been a single confirmed case. There are so many organizations out there that offer hundreds of thousands of dollars to anyone who can prove they have a real power, and there has not been one person who can do it. I don't know why people legitimately believe in this stuff, it goes against all logic.

  7. an interesting interview between 2 people, very nice, cheers

    derren brown, is, a, GENIUS!

  8. I read several books of Dawkins. He is a very good writer. He made some change from writing popular science (his first books) to a more philosophical book (“the god delusion”).
    I agree with the way he talks about “psychics” and why people belive in it. Thanks for the post.

  9. I’m a big fan of Derren Brown. He’s so down to Earth and is a great entertainer. He never tries to cover what he does up either.


  10. On a somewhat loosely related note, have you seen this?

    MrCorey´s last blog post..When Hell Freezes Over!

    • I did see that and it is not unusual I’m afraid. Atheists would be expected to drive the “Christian” buses without comment, but the reverse is unfortunately not true.

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