Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Enemies to Reason: Due 12/4/12


1.  Write your reaction to the video (KI, connections, AOK & WOK)

2.  Reply to a classmate.

3.   Why are we prone to believe things that are enemies to reason?


66 comments:

  1. i tried to post my reaction to the video but it wouldn't send:

    I thought it was clever how he compared the astrological signs to nations, it shows just how it can isolate and generalize a group of people. I believe we all accept astrological signs because we like the fact that our personalities can be recognized and understood. I don't like the fact that the documentary is titled "enemies of reason" because it shows that Richard Dawkins already came into the project with a closed mind and it shapes the supersitious people as the bad guys. I think its important to start a project with an open-mind especially when trying to convince others that what you believe is true. I think that one of the things Richard Dawkins failed to realize is a big reason that people continue to be superstitious even after being proved wrong is their faith in it. Faith is one thing that relays on the way we feel about something and that is what we will ultimately side with.

    - Jazmine A

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    1. Check out Project Reason in the Delicious e-stack on the right below the sample EA in stages.

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    2. I agree on your statement of how faith is a contributor to our beliefs. There are many things in the world that can't be explained or proven. Does this mean we push them to the side as unproven facts? How is faith used to broaden perception?

      Nathaniel

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    3. I strongly think that Richard Dawkins did make a good choice when he titled this video "The Enemies of Reason". The reason being is that there have been people who have embraced ideas that have tried to defy reason. A good example of this is Nazi ideology. Mr. Vogeley had once said that the Nazis were, in fact, heavily influenced by romanticism, which is a total rejection of reason and logic. Not only were the things they did irrational, but so was their way of thinking. Thus, it is fitting to say that they are "enemies to reason".

      Also, I would have to strongly disagree with your assumption that, because of the title, Dawkins was "closed-minded". If a person was actually "closed-minded", then that person would not even go near anyone, or anything, associated with an idea that that person disagrees with. In the video, Dawkins actually participates, actively that is, in some of these superstitious activities. If he was a true "closed-minded" person, he would avoid such activity at all costs. The video blatently and obviously shows that Dawkins is not as "closed-minded" as one may suggest.

      --Michael

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    4. I don't really think that Richard Dawkins was close-minded in this situation, but more so trying to see if he could prove himself wrong. I called this the "truth until proven valid" menatality.
      But I do agree with you when you said people continuously agree and follow certain beliefs and supersitions after they were clearly proven wrong because of their faith. I believe their emotional ties is what makes people so defensive of things like this without valid reasoning. Culture influences perception of superstitions in my opinion, do you agree?

      -Aaliyah

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  2. After watching this video, I have many reactions which I will express as accurately as possible. I believe that the video shows very fair evidence to the level of superstitions in our society and world today, vast positioning as to the reasons why we believe things and how the social media influence our believes and thoughts today.
    Yes Richard Dawkins shows evidence to prove his point just as in a scientific experiment, but believe that there is more to reality than just the perceptions and theories which science proves to be right in our world. There are many grounds in our world which we don’t understand and many beings which we can’t understand and science and understand just as well. Maybe reasoning is a way of knowing and is very important to many individuals to believe several things in life, but one must take into consideration that the norms and spectrums which we have not only been raised to believe but what we believe go ahead of the perception of reason. For example, In the Dominican Republic we are very superstitious, I’m not saying there are people who aren’t, but we have many ideas and beliefs have not only proven many of our mysteries in history and everyday life but also connected to the perception and allowed up to be more open minded. After evaluating for many years the social media which we have in the Dominican Republic, I have observed that the media is less focused on fortune telling and connection of superstitions, but it has rather become an instinct because we have chosen to believe those norms because of experiences. Through this I believe that science isn’t the main basis of not only reason but any form of perception. Perception may go ahead of facts and data, because science can’t prove everything in our world. Science and experimentation can only be evaluated or taken place to an extent. When viewing the part when the Psychic medium was lying to individuals by using techniques to allow them to believe several things and not being legitimate, yes I realized that many of the so called psychic mediums are either playing, testing, or ripping money from individuals and not allowing them to forget those love ones I rationalized. Maybe my points are unreasonable to many people, but my perceptions of superstitions don’t change.
    When Dawkins discussed the paranormal life, he discussed that we have believed that there is a supernatural world and that we have been brainwashed to believe those things. Like I previously stated my country and family have had a major impact on the level of superstition in my life. My culture is a big contributor of the many beliefs which I’ve set myself to believe and many experiences which are too broad to explain and prove as evident. I tested my grandmother and told her that ghosts do not exist, and she paused me and stated that they do. She continued and explained to me the different experiences which she’s been through. For example, she told me that when she was a child she was walking with her father in the middle of the night. Before getting to their destination her father paused and said he saw his brother standing near a forest, when he went home he notified his family that his brother would die soon, and the next morning he was notified that his brother had passed away in the same location in which he had seen his brother’s ghost. Yes this may sound crazy but science can’t prove this right and each person’s perception and experiences would allow them to either agree or disagree. I’ve seen and felt so many things with my grandmother that has allowed me to believe. What can I say, maybe this video proves that such things don’t believe, but I believe that the supernatural exists to leave messages and protect us. This is what I believe and my mind won’t stop accepting other viewpoints, but what I truly believe is that science can’t prove many things, it has limits and scientists themselves can’t live believing that “Things happen because they just do.”
    -Franklin-

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    1. You do not have to accept other viewpoints, but you do need to acknowledge that they exist and have just as a good an explanation. #openmind

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    2. I really wanted to read yours because your the most spiritual person I know! I agree with your origins of superstition. But remember that the same way that you have your beliefs, someone could contradict those so try to be more open to things that aren't applicable to you.
      -Ihu

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    3. I agree with what you said Franklin that experience is a major why people have these superstitions. In a sense, with the descriptions you provided about seeing ghost and such, could be proof to your held superstitions. I'm pretty sure Dawkins cannot prove that you're wrong, with his jaded perception of those who are superstitious. I also agree that science has its own limitations, but the fact that Dawkins is down grading superstitions as unreliable is very bias when science in its has all these missing pieces in it.

      Therefore, to what extent can experiences be proof to our superstitions?
      ~Linda

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  3. I was very much in agreement with the video because I do think that reason and science are at war with all things irrational and pseudoscientific. I also think that people try to impose order onto things that are, in fact, completely determined by chance. Last week, on Friday, Mr. Hepburn showed us videos that defined evolution as a random process of natural selection. This is a good example of how people can impose order on random processes because some people erroneously believe that evolution occurs because organisms want something out of the process. What is actualy true, however, is that evolution is a totally random process in which certain traits are randomly selected for, or against, by the environment the organism is living in at the time.

    KI: To what extent can languaguage can be considered an enemy of reason?

    Basically, we are prone to irrational beliefs and other enemies of reason because we, in a sense, worship order at the expense of chance. Whenever something completely random occurs, there will always be people who claim that some higher authority was behind it, that someone is always "in control" of even the most random events.

    --Michael

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    1. So Michael are you saying that everything that happens with respect to evolution is random. Then why are there so many similarities across species (plants & animals alike)?

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    2. . I can agree with your statement that there will always be people that take random events and claim there is more importance or cause to them. However, I would hardly consider the beliefs and truths of other people to be irrational. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions that should not be disrespected because one person does not share the same view. Personally, I may disagree with someone else’s point of view but I am always open to listen and consider there reasoning behind those ideas.

      ~Jasmine BW

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    3. If everything that happens in life are by chances then should we believe them? Saying that getting straight A's are chances and not a person being smart or studying really hard? If what you say is true about us having to back up everything with a higher authority cant you say that also for evolution. Something had to be behind it right?


      TOGOEEEE

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    4. I sort of agree with Michael because people do need a reason for everything or it is not believable. People have to face facts that evolution is real, even though it might interfere with there religion. From watching those videos in biology it made me see how the stories in the bible match up with evolution. So in my conclusion I think that evolution and religion go hand and hand. I mean do people really think that they could work together? I.e. the bible saying how the snake how gave Eve the apple could walk until God said you are cursed and the snake no longer had legs. In the video we saw that snakes at one point of time had legs and they were used so you have to consider maybe there is a God working with evolution and because God knows how we think put the theory of evolution in some scientist head to give us reason and not for us to wonder.

      -Paige

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    5. Yes, everything that happens with respeect to evolution is, in fact, a matter of probabiility and chance. It could be said that evolution and natural selection are synonyms for random as well as change. The fact that so many species do share at least something in common still fails to refute the fact that evolution is a random process. The answer to that question is simple: all life happened to originate, by pure chance, from a single, universal, ancestor roughly 3.8 billion years ago. It was also possible for life to originate from multiple universal ancestors instead of just one, but that never happened because of chance. It just so happened to be that one similarity that all species of organism shared was that they are all based on the element carbon and that there are also many other similarities acorss many species. For example, if someone rolls 6 dice and gets a 6 on all 6 dice, that does little, if anything, to demostrate that someone else had a hand in ensuring that that would happen. Rolling 6 dice and getting all 6s is merely just another event that is equally liekly to occur as all of the other 35 events.

      -Michael

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    6. I do agree with you to a certain extent. Somethings do in fact occur in nature randomly and by chance, like the evolution of animals. But in addition to that I also believe somethings don;t simply occur by chance, call me a conspiracy theorist or what not, but I firmly believe they are some things that occur for specific reasons, in a specific order; there is a pattern to all what occurs, but we're blind to it.
      *belleh

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  4. Watching this video was very appealing to me, especially when attacking the simplicity of horoscopes and psychic readings. It goes to show how easily people can be tricked into believing these things, without realizing the faults in their claims. This video also reminded me of the importance of language and a way of knowing. In each superstitious activity, the culprit uses immense language that is “wishy-washy,” using simple sentences that can appeal to anyone i.e. “I feel a feeling of guilt” can trigger anyone to MAKE and not SEE a connection, by thinking of all the times there was a feeling of guilt. I thought it was quite amusing how in another case one of the “psychics” used “a person with an a and an e in their name” as a reference. These statements can apply to just about anyone, and the public fails to see it because they want to believe there is some other force. Emotion becomes another fact into ways of knowing, as it drives to people being superstitious. The emotions created by these readings and stories impulse people to become even more accepting of these superstitious acts. If people “feel” that there is truth to these superstitions, they will embrace them. This argument appeals especially to areas such as the sciences as science questions everything, especially these superstition.

    I believe we are prone to believing things that are superstition because they appeal to us. Each superstition explains something science cannot or has not at the moment. This leads us to thinking that science isn’t perfect, which it isn’t (but neither are superstitions). The world of superstition supplies us with emotion and passion. Humans are prone to wanting to see the unknown, putting it on a pedestal that leads us to these overwhelming emotions. We justify these with thinking that they are accurate. We make them seem accurate because we hope that they are accurate unconsciously.

    -Jessica

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    1. What makes horoscopes so appealing Jessica? I am a libra by the way...lol

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    2. -Franklin-
      I agree with you Jessica. I believe that science isn't perfect and that it cant determine everything in our world. Many of us believe that superstitions because they are a part of not only culture, but also human nature. "Curiosity killed the cat," but as humans we never give up on finding new things and finding answers, we are beings that don't rest without knowing every inch of life. We are curious and that's part of our instinct and our nature.

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    3. I agree with your statement about the psychic using the general statements to try to make the person that is getting read agree with what is being said. I think that sometimes emotions get in the way, and that could be a reason as to why some people can't determine a real psychic from a fake. But who is to really say that all psychics are real?

      ~Kayla

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    4. I believe horoscopes become so appealing because the general statements made allow our mind to create what it wants of our lives, and they suffice things that may be missing from our lives. How many of us would enjoy knowing "tonight you will find someone very important who may aid you to success." For instance, I'm a Libra as well, and when I see that my sign designates traits such as calm and free, of course I'll fall in love with these traits, as they sound so nice. The power of language sparks our imaginations and satisfy secret desires we may not have in our lives.
      -Jessica

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  5. After watching this segment, I was in complete and utter shock. For one, the language of this (dare I say) skeptic was extremely harsh: “false truths” “enemies of reason” “irrational superstitious thinking” “an industry that impoverishes our culture”. This man truly believes that if it lacks evidence and if it hasn’t been “well tested” then it’s not true. How can one based a man-made concept (science) and use it to justify/ disprove all things pertaining to earth? I am a firm believer in science but I do understand that there are certain things that can’t be explained. That’s the problem with people do, they always want to know how everything works and why certain things happen, they simply can’t live with the mystery of life. Then their unsatisfied hunger leads them to belief that its false because there is no “scientific evidence”.
    I feel as though as humans we are prone to believe things that are “enemies to reason” because it gives a substantial justification to the things unknown. These spiritual and extraordinary beliefs were passed unto us before we were able to confide in the area of reason. In the beginning of time, before the age of enlightenment and logic all we had was superstition. Reason was formed through superstition therefore in my eyes it cannot rule out/ surpass all of it.

    *Stella

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    1. Stella, you are a bit fiesty my dear. :)

      Is there some truth to superstitions? Are they totally unfounded?

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    2. I agree with you Stella, I had not considered that reason had come from superstition. Another idea I had based on your explanation was what do we, as humans, consider "well tested." Years ago it was a "well tested" theory that the Earth was flat. Also years ago the idea of spontaneous generation was a "well-tested" theory.
      -Elijah

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    3. I have to give you some credit here Stella. Although I did find some humor in how he was able to prove some of these superstitions wrong, I did get a feeling that he was, as I would address, a close-minded skeptic. Just as we have people who are close-minded and superstitious, we have close-minded skeptics. I believe this leads to bias.

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    4. -Jessica (comment about close-minded skeptics)

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    5. Lol Stella I agree, you have said a mouthful! However, do you also feel that science and religious belief can relate to ethnicity? For example, do you feel whites are more prone to the science truth and blacks are more prone to the religious truth? If there be any actual religious truth...

      Benay

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    6. I agree with you Stella. Everything that is now considered reason was once enemy of reason. The developments that had been made on earth due to science were all, at some point in time considered superstitious thoughts. Dawkins' approach to the subjects he tested were very aggressive and indeed closed minded.
      -James

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    7. Lovely:
      Just like you, I also believe in science but simultaneously, there are just some things we can't explain and those things tend to cost money in order to gather evidence. Like let's say, why we humans exist. That's like a big issue in Philosophy, which integrates lots of religious claims and scientific claims. That issue had been around since humans had first thought of asking about our existence. So, in relation to the video, I think people dissatisfied with the knowledge they have began to depend on instantaneous solution like astrology. It doesn't have evidence, yet they make sense to humans because they relate it entirely to their life. They make those connections. Well we make connections that integrates our emotion of strongly agreeing.

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  6. To an extent I agree with Richard Dawkins but then I remember about how much we were taught that perception can change the mindset of a person. Watching him talk to the people and question them about their superstitions made me wonder: To what extent does perception challenge our beliefs? Because one person may not believe in superstition doesn't mean that that the ones that do believe in it are ignorant or "enemies to reason". Where one comes from can contribute to their belief in superstition. For example, in TOK class, Bellah was talking about the stories she has heard about in Africa and when she visits the woman that that is there putting spells on people. This has an affect on what she believes in. We are prone to believe in things that others may see as ignorant or enemies to reason because we use our faith in things and our prior experiences. There isn't proof that there was ever a Jesus that died on the cross but the ones that believe in Christianity use their faith to believe that there is a God.

    Nathaniel

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    1. I agree with the notion that one's disbelieve in an area does not prove others to be ignorant. Dawkins was extremely closed minded, and was too focused on disproving all concepts and ideals of superstition automatically than actually collecting data in order to support his reason for disbelief. I can also relate to Bellah's experience because where I come from witch craft is very real; many of my family members have experienced such activity which has in result supported my understanding and belief in the supernatural.

      *Stella

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    2. I agree with Nathaniel you can't consider someone else ignorant because what they believe in has not been "well tested". For that matter it depends on what you define as "well tested" because science may have an experiment to back it up but many believers will quote their life experiences as ways to "test" their beliefs. Also Richard Dawkins is trying to draw a clear line of black and white between logic and "enemies of reason".Where in fact the world is not that simple and to try and explain everythig away with simple facts would be a tremendous endevour.

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    3. That is a very good knowledge issue that you just asked. Bias is always present in one's personal perception, and it would therefore be hard to generalize any belief as Dawkins has done in the video. Perception on these topics presents itself as a huge knowledge barrier when it comes to interpretation.

      --JOSH

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    4. Yeah I agree with you Nathaniel that Faith does tie into what enemies to reason that we might believe in. Faith has results and has evidence from the bible that it will work so it might be an enemy of reason and it also could not. I think it's just the gut feeling of things that also affect why people believe in enemies to reason.
      -Guyvin

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    5. I agree with Nathaniel because faith is in itself an enemy of reason.
      ~Romance

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    6. I agree perception was key in this video because you could clearly see the different ends of the spectrum in the belief of superstitions. Do you believe that faith in itself can carry the same weight as validity as reason? I understand that Dawkins was extreme in the video especially with his language, but he does touch on the fact that reason is more reliable.
      ~Brittney

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  7. Watching this video disgusted me. I am highly annoyed and this infuriated me. Astrology is basically a religion within its own. Once you have put something before a “higher power” and that thing is being appreciated more than what the sole signification purpose is needed is what you admire and love and what you call additions. Christians or anybody of a worshiper should not read the scopes, the scopes tell you your future and no one should be able to do that, these things are general and apply to anyone and humans end up believing them because they're minds have been prune to. I also have fallen for this inanity, that as soon as someone asks me what month I was born in the first words that come out of my mouth will be "#Team Cancer" .Our stars which are not "ours" tells us nothing, nothing at all. Nothing that will make us have a safe surrounding claiming that your reality is actually a fantasy. We as humans always have to feel guided. So even atheists are liars and defenders, they claims to not believe that God is real but they can sit there and believe that a star for an example will say "your love life will take a surrounding turn.Just be the first to take the first step " be their destiny. This brings me to wonder, by what extent can we justify our assertions of becoming our reality? What proof is there?. For an example in 10th grade AP Government class our teacher Mr. Harrison had very strong views and one of the things he said were that Fox 5 was a racist channel and that they do not look at things from both sides but from one side. Some of the students not really watching the news or analyzing it the way a teacher would, ran with what Mr. Harrison and as soon as that was stated, everybody and "they're mother" started saying that, without really explaining why they had their views ,they did not take upon themselves to investigate the reasons why they started believing what they have heard. I found it so intriguing how people waist their time and money on just trying to figure out reasons for everything, the tears of one women made me want to slap her silly. Superstitions and all that is based on a wild guess just like how astrology is. A church dedicated to spiritual reading is pathetic, like the man said pure “cold-reading”. Emotions can play a role in believing in the unknown, for an example humans that loose people and pay ‘ghost whisper's’ to tell what their loved ones says and a few guesses allows them to have this believe that it is true.Just like the word “believe” also have the word LIE in it and that is exactly what this all is. Also the man himself Mr. Dawkins, whomever he think he is have his own believes that because of science we should replicate a certain habit, a certain behavior should occur also stating if something cannot be proven then it is a waist of time. Pure lies. So I would relate history and biology into this claiming that both Christianity and Evolution ties in with each other and explains each others existence without realizing it. No evolutionists have ever touched an evolving organism with their own hands as it evolves. So is it safe to say that they are depending on the acceptance of a scientist and ONLY that. It is a "desperate wishful thinking". We are prone to believe enemies of reason because "scientific reason is NOT the best way to look at the world, science is not open to new things of the world".Those areas of belief that exist without scientific proof, yet manage to hold the nation under their spell". All lies.



    -Togoe

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    1. Lovely:
      exactly. The horoscopes can apply to anyone! That's why I never believed in them, although I must say they actually seem true if I make connections of them to my life. But anyway, the fact about people being Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Pisces, or whatever, I don't think those zodiacs shouldn't really be dependable because it can just apply to anyone. Although countercalim to this is that, it can't exactly apply to anyone because we all have complex, different behaviors. We all have our own unique make-up that others can't have.

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  8. My reaction to the video was that Richard Dawkins was wrong.I felt that he was not even attempting to understand the opposite point of view. I also felt that his video represented a confirmation bias. His video represented this because he seemed to only show situations in which his way of thinking would prevail. For example the section that discussed gambling superstition he talks about how we falsely believe in luck and other superstitions. But I feel that the superstition creates a form of confortableness in our mind which allows us to perform better. For example when I go to cheer competitions I cary a lucky cheer bear, the bear helps me to relax so that I can perform better under pressure. Another reason that I feel Dawkins was incorect is because to take away the emotional part of us that makes us more succecptible to religion and superstition would take away a part of our humanity. Once this is gone than our society as a whole would change. He also states that we must value evidence over our emotions but what if the evidence is not complete or even leads us to the wrong conclusions. This value of evidence over emotion could lead many to trust other factors over such things as their own intuition.
    I believe that we as people are so succecptable to supersticious and religious beliefs because it gives us a comfort to know that there is something watching over or protecting us. For example in Mitch Albulm's Have a Little Faith the black character turned his life around after escaping a group of drug dealers. The character hid in the bushes and prayed all night for god to protect him. He woke up the next morning and the drug dealers were in jail. The character went on to be a pastor and community activist. Many religious people would call this situation divine intervention. As far as horoscopes are considered I think that people like to hear the good things about themselves and have sonethin to relate to. For example I am a leo and a good portion of my sighn personality relates to me. I do not always agree with or believe the horoscopes that I read but I do think that it is kind of fun to take part in and consider the possibilities.

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    1. It is somewhat amusing to see how some people, in their attempts to say that other people have conformational bias, inadvertantly ignore evidence that may demonstrate that the opposite is true. In this video by Richard Dawkins, he is an active participant in many superstitious traditions. He also actually listens to those who dabble in superstition and all things unreasonable. He even gives a few counterclaims, and additionally, he effectively uses factual, real evidence to demonstrate why these counterclaims are not as true as they seem to be. When it comes to demonstrating that someone has conformational bias, is it wise and reasonable for you yourself to utilize conformational bias when you are actively trying to refute it by saying that someone else has it, and that that person is therefore wrong? I

      In other words, by demonstrating that Dawkins has conformational bias, and is therefore wrong, are you committing the logical fallacy known as "special pleading"?

      --Michael

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  9. After watching this video, I've gained some insight into superstitions. First of all, superstitions have cultural backgrounds and can be passed down from generation to generation. It's not our faults for taking superstitions to the heart. When we were younger, we believed and took whatever our parents told us as the truth with no questioning. Why? because it was the "right" thing do to. It wouldn't be normal for us as kids to refute what the people who have cared for us all our lives tells us. It isn't until one reached adulthood or some point of maturity where their superstitions are accepted or refuted.

    I am somewhat a believer of astrology and zodiac signs, etc. After watching this video, I really questioned the whole phenomenon. The video made me really think about horoscopes and things of that matter. I agree with Richard Dawkins to an extent. I also believe that horoscopes are generalized. What I don't agree with is the whole defamation of the science. He was basically down talking astrology and its subcategories because he didn't see it as an important science. What people believe in is their business and not yours! I somewhat believed in mediums before I saw this video. I often watched the show 'Long Island Medium'on TLC. This video made me really question the credibility of these readings and the meal motives of the mediums.

    The main knowledge issue that I saw throughout this video was faith. Faith and superstition go hand in hand. Without faith, these phenomenons become inconceivable to the human mind. Faith allows you to surpass the need for physical proof in order to believe things.
    -ihu

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  10. We as humans have a natural thirst for that which we do not know. We constantly seek information as how the universe came to be, or wish to know our own futures, even resorting to the use of psychics or other mediums of fortune-telling. We seek explanations for our own personalities, what we are most like and with whom we are most compatible with, resorting to the use and belief in horoscopes. With this concept I agree with Dawkins. However, I see this concept to apply to ALL human beings, not only those who are labelled as more "superstitious". Those that do not believe in any way, shape, or form in superstition also seek explanations for everything, ranging from the creation of the universe to the said evolution of the human race. Constantly, theory after theory is amended and edited as the knowledge of science advances. Aren't also those who lack a mindset or open mindedness to what is deemed as superstitious also seeking answers and explanations each and every day? I feel as if Dawkins' already biased mindset toward those who fall under the label he has placed has blinded him toward his own beliefs. I can only agree with his commentary and opinions to a certain extent.

    First of all, claiming what cannot be explained through scientific means or evidence as an "enemy of reason" already has a negative connotation to the idea. However, if this is the name that is to be given to it, I would agree that humans, especially myself, are prone to believe in it. Mr. Hepburn told the class one day: "Where science stops, religion takes over." I like to think that this quote far extends only religion and to anything else that one believes does not have "concrete, scientific proof". Humans crave an explanation, whether this explanation comes from science itself, or from a supernatural belief that Dawkins' is obviously not a great fan of. In my opinion, to each man his own; we all need to find out the answer to our on lives through our own methods, regardless of popular belief or critique.

    --JOSH

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  11. I thought that this video was interesting when Richard Dawkins examined the affects horoscopes have on the general population. According to his research a large portion of people would not use reasoning to determine why they feel a connection to their horoscope of the day. Dawkins claims that the information in these daily readings are so general that anyone, no matter what there sign may be can relate to them. I think that is the reason why people, including myself find horoscopes so appealing. They give characteristics and situations that people can easily relate to and apply to their everyday lives. Dawkins provides scientific evidence that shows the unreliability of general readings like horoscopes, tarot cards, and the like. Over the years, astrology shows that the Earth’s axis’s have tilted. A change in the axis’s would actual change the zodiac signs of everyone on Earth. If more people were aware of this type of information the reliability of horoscopes and astrology would be questioned.

    People typically rely on word of mouth and personal experience to gauge how they know certain pieces of information. An example of this is exhibited in the paranormal aspect. When people report acts or scenes where paranormal activity has occurred the more open minded people take interest in the information while strictly “I’ll see it when I believe” type of people disregard the information to coincidental events. Everyone needs to take into consideration the different perspectives, ways of knowing, and reasoning people have. One person may live their life by learning from their history while other people need scientific analysis to justify ones actions.

    ~Jasmine BW

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  12. I believe we are prone to believe things that are enemies to reason because they hold interest or value to people. Skeptics find value in analyzing and disproving the common belief or ‘truth’ because it is important to them. Human beings are prone to curiosity and the gathering of more information during their lifetime.

    ~Jasmine BW

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  13. My reaction to this video is that it's so straight on pulling out the enemies of reason through supersition but their are a lot of supersitions out their rather than just physic reading. I feel that supersitions are all around us and people consider some of them more reasonable than others because of the level of evidence that is provided. For example horoscopes came from astrology but where is the evidence in the stars that came up with the different zodiac signs and what they are supposed to mean. But for other things like if you don't greet someone with a handshake than thats disrespectful, the point is that you able to get a reponse or evidence that doing that is disrespectful. I know that these are two different concepts but the point is that reactions and evidence is a key to reasoning and to science. A Knowledge issue is that what extent does cultural backgrounds affect what enemies of reason we believe in.

    We prone to believe enemies to reason because I feel is yet so much information that humans are trying to find out or people are curious about things. Some reason I feel like their might be some type loophole within a person reasoning when it comes to enemies to reason because other factors like emotion and other areas of knowledge or ways of knowing can play a role into what superstitions we do and don't believe.

    -Guyvin

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  14. The narrator of the video kind of upset-ted me because he took the topic of astrology too serious. Now evidence doesn't prove everything and that's what the man was searching for evidence to support everyone's claim. He kind of annoyed me because he displays a sense of closed mindedness. What I found very interesting was when he stated "i believe astrology misleads the public,...a triumph of the human intellect". Now to believe is to have faith who is he to destroy anyone's faith. He has faith in science as a answer to your questions so that is his belief...no he is not wrong but to make such a generalization makes him wrong. Now referring to the title "Slaves to superstition", now personally I'm not a slave to superstition. I do believe in superstition but i believe in it for the fun of it. "If you stand for nothing, you will believe in anything" What you stand for (i.e. science, since he wants to play the religion card) you will believe anything because you have closed your mind to knowing only science, which is why we are enemies to reason. So does that make Richard Dawkins himself a enemy to reason? The reason why people are enemies to reason is because as a society we all have our own beliefs and faith and the truth hurts.
    ~Romance

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    1. *SIGH* If Richard Dawkins is an "enemy of reason", then why does he use evidence to demonstrate that superstition if erroneous? Why does he expose the flaws in superstition?? Why does he point out that astrologists never rely on the scientific method to support their beliefs??? Why does he say that science and reason have improved the quality of life for us during the past 200 years???? Why would he even bother giving this video the title "The Enemies of Reason" if he, himself, is an "emeny of reason"?????

      Also, you have utilized two logical fallacies: guilt by association, and ad hominem. You have assumed that he is "closed-minded" because he refuses to dabble in anything superstitious, and that is called guilt by association. You have also launched a personal assault on him by dismissing him as "closed-minded", which is an example of ad hominem.

      --Michael

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  15. When watching the video, I took notes because I thought this would be an interesting topic. And since it was 47 minutes long, I knew there would be a lot of points that would be important. Watching the video made me feel indifferent. I didn't really know how I should feel. I thought it was interesting to see the portion on the astrology though. Sometimes I look at my horoscope, and it will describe or at least I think it describes what's going on in my life. But after watching the video I'm not really sure if I can say it's accurate or not. Another thing that stuck out to me was when Dawkins was getting read by Simon the psychic. I personally believe that that man had no real clue as to what he was talking about. In the video it said that most psychics start out by being very general, and try to narrow it down to what they think might fit into your life. I thought that it was very slick how "psychics" do cold readings. How can you really know if what that person is saying? Is the "psychic" even sure of what they are saying is true? The last thing that really stuck out to me as being phony was the Dowzing (I'm not sure how to spell it) process. Before seeing the experimental part of the Dowzing, I wrote down how I thought that this test couldn't be reliable at all. The people could have just been moving the stick themselves,and there was no spirit at all. When watching it finally, the man running the test said that most people just guess, and if they are wrong they make up reasons/excuses as to why it happened. A question I have here is do any skeptics take this test, and if so are their test results any better than the people who do believe, or do they some how trick themselves into thinking that there is some spirit that guided them into choosing what they think is correct, but then turns out to be wrong? Another thing that I thought was interesting was that in the video, Dawkins said that spirituality was another form of superstition. I don't agree or disagree with this statement, I just thought that it was an interesting view point.
    I'm not really sure why we believe things that are enemies to reason. I think people like to take interest into things that they are unsure about and then get a better understanding of it that way.


    ~Kayla

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  16. I couldn't not become but so annoyed with this video considering its source. While I do believe that horoscopes and psychics are amusing at best and provide no truth whatsoever, I don't believe it is harmful to humans in anyway. I do not believe science is at war with anything as a war would suggest that there are casualties. I have not seen how a person who does not believe in science affected science at all and visa-versa. Spiritual divining is based on the foundation of what we call faith. The ability to believe in something despite lack of proof. Thus him putting irrational spiritual ideology to a test, if you will, by conducting a rational experiment serves only to prove what spiritual people already knew. That there is no proof of their beliefs. Thus I believe Richard Dawkins is a bitter man annoyed by the fact that all people do not bend to what HE thinks is the way to go. In addition, I believe that his mission to combat the "Enemies of Reason" is merely a ploy for attention that is to be no more valued than fanatical propaganda of hardcore national socialist or a member of a Communist party.

    I believe we are prone to believe things that are irrational because we are creatures who are endlessly curious. We have a primal urge to understand everything around us to some degree and will use anything to sate our curiosity. As long as it makes sense to us or others we as humans accept whatever is put before us that explains the unexplainable. This is not only the basis of religion and spiritual beliefs but of science as well.
    -Elijah

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    1. I agree with you that Richard Dawkins was trying to hard to impose his beliefs on people. He was forcing his ideas to people who are reliant on faith and don't believe there is proof to every little thing. I also agree that not only spiritual beliefs but also scientific ones are based on the same idea that people believe what is put before them that explains what we as humans cant explain.
      -Ja Yeon-

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    2. I agree, I feel like a persons faith is very important when it comes to life. I do not care if there is proof to back up a thought or a belief. If I have faith in something and believe in something then thats it. I feel like we have faith for a reason, If there is no faith in the world I think if wouldnt be the dame, Its like no one would have the strength to take risk anymore because they do not have any trust, or faith in anything...
      ~Traje'

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  17. I agree with Dawkins because people today are willing to go to astrology to see how there day will be without solid proof. People are willing to believe anything that is popular more than something that isn't. If majority of society was to say that evolution is how humans came to be then we wouldn't have so much controversy about evolution but because we have religion and there are so many split options on how humans came about, (most popular being God and Apes). Superstition has a lot to do with your backgrounds and how you were being brought up in the households. People in Africa living in villages having witch doctors believe in more superstitious beliefs than someone living in a place such as New York City. People are tricked into believing in physics because they give off clues to what they are feeling and the physic runs off with the clues and keeps poking a certain subject but if a person was to have no emotion or any signs and answer straight yes or no questions most physics wouldn't get anywhere with that person and would be called a fraud. From watching The Mentalist I've seen tricks on how people unconsciously do things to where a person can tell they are lying or a triggered something to where they become nerves as if they are hiding something. People are famous for doing that so it gives job openings for physics today, but I don't agree with them they are people who are just great at reading people facial expressions and good observers. Many people are prone to believe things that do not have a solid reason, i.e. religion. In biology when we were discussing evolution I found that when there is a reason for something it is classified as science but when there is no solid based proof then it is classified as religion. Meaning when we can prove a theory such as gravity then it is classified in the science field, but when we cannot prove something we say "God created it." For example before the big bang theory came about people said that God created Earth but because of that theory people then said God did not create Earth because of the big bang theory. But when we cannot prove something such as Jesus being buried in the tomb and not being able to find his body people then say God rose him up from the dead into the gates of heaven, but how do we not know that he was in there for more than 3 days and his bones deteriorated into dirt. History could have got the story wrong, the Bible is purely he-say she-say and we have to believe these people we have never meet. The bible could have been written by someone who loved making up stories and told people this is a true story and I know this because my mom told me and my mom would never lie to me. You can never really know if there is a higher being until you day and meet your maker.

    -Paige

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  18. I didn’t like the fact that he wasn't respectful of the new ideas he was being exposed to. He went into everything with a one-sided close minded mentality and was refuting everything he heard. I don't think we should tell people what to believe because everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and belief system and everyone should respect that. I would disagree with him saying that scientific reasoning is the best way to look at the world because we should consider how other aspects play into it especially emotion. Most superstitious beliefs are wholly reliant on emotion and personal beliefs and that's how most people are able to be manipulated by people “posing” to be mind readers as such. I don’t think we should put all our eggs in one basket and be fully one-sided in our beliefs either scientific (reason) or in what we believe we should be able to look into everything and find a balance. With Astrology its one of those thing which have became a way of living whether its true or not at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because it gives people something to look forward to and a common ground-things like that are those you just let be. When it comes down to it I don’t think its a matter of whats right and wrong, its a matter of reasoning and how emotion plays into it.
    -Jayeon-

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  19. How does the extreme belief in one way of knowing alter the validity of claims in differing areas of knowledge?
    To what extent does reason hinder the pursuit of knowledge?
    Richard Dawkins used language to alter the perception of superstitious claims throughout the video. He used words such as delusions,. I did agree with him on the origin of superstition being from the early stages of mankind where there was little knowledge of how the world worked or how people came to be. The thing that really blew my mind was how Dawkins talked about how people exploit others using superstition but did not address this when he confronted a fellow skeptic Derren Brown who was doing exactly that.
    I think we are prone to believe things that enemy to reason because all things can not be explained in a reasonable way. I also think that because of our nature to accept things that the majority accepts we can never truly stop believing things that are enemies to reason. There will never be a consensus of reason over private feelings because of the differences of culture and the importance those cultures place on each subject.
    ~Brittney

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  20. Im kind of confused. He saying evidence dont prove everything. But if reason and science dont prove it then how do we know what is right and what is wrong? He keeps talking about astrology, which is "the study of the motions and relative positions of the planets, sun, and moon, interpreted in terms of human characteristics and activities" HE uses the example of how people use this, the planets moving as a sign (superstition) of s persons life. I feel like, in re guards to religion You believe what you have heard, what you have grown up on. If you Have been taught one thing as you were little that belief or habit will not just vanish in in a snap of a finger. I feel like faith is important to a person and with out it a person would be lost. I do not agree with what he is saying about astrology belittling the community. Because you do not perceive the information like other people do not mean you have to be so closed minded about the subject. Personally I believe in superstition to a certain degress, mostly because of my religion. I do not let it control me or get the better or me.
    Traje'

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  21. Why do Richard Dawkins believe that it is okay to basically bad mouth other peoples beliefs. If someone says they can communicated with the dead, it it not your place to call it foolishness.
    ~Traje'

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    1. I think he means its stupid because it has no concrete evidence to back it up. Hes not saying that you cant believe what you believe, he believes its wrong to exploit people by making people think they have "magical powers".
      JR

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  22. After watching the video I felt that Dawkins was in a way biased towards astrology and superstitions. In my point of view i don't rely on the horoscopes to map out my day or the interactions I have with others, but one can't help but read it just to amuse oneself with what they come up with. I do agree with Dawkins with the statement when he says that the horoscopes are very vague in a way that it describes a group of people, and I myself cannot understand how the planets can tell us what our attitude is going to be (how can it determine our "physiology"); I read this book where this lady didn't want to date this guy she was obviously attracted to, but refused to do so because their signs were incompatible:). As I mentioned before, I think Dawkins is bias because he bad mouths superstitious views and promotes science as reason, but he fails to acknowledge in science as well. Science cannot prove everything that occurs and those who constantly try to do so will meet a wall (figuratively speaking of course); in Psychology class we talked about memory and one of the terms was illusory correlation which refers to our constant desire to make sense of the world and the things around us. In addition, science seeks to prove everything, but what about what you cannot prove, as a result some look to God as an answer; after all isn't faith belief in the unseen and some type of commitment to something despite the lack of evidence. I myself have religious views because that is the type of environment I have grown up in, but I cannot deny the evidence that has been provided to support evolution and in a sense i have to research more about the belief that evolution and creationism work hand-in-hand. With that said i think that Dawkins was overgeneralizing all people who believe in the paranormal when he said we deny what science shows even though there is considerable amount of evidence, but not people are the same, and I think that can depend on their environment.
    In regard to the question why we believe in things that are enemies of reason, I think that just as i mentioned earlier, that your environment can affect your perception of superstitions and science. I grew up in a very religious household and those beliefs have always been prevalent in the household. In addition to religious beliefs, experience has caused people to hold on to these beliefs that are against reason. For example, my mom's close friend told my mother that she had a dream and that someone in the family was going to die, but at the time she had interpreted it as if my brother was going to die, but instead news that my uncle died came the next day.
    ~Linda

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  23. This nonsense is hilarious!!!
    To some extent I do agree, especially about the astrology ideas. I think the reason our perceptions are so Jaded to Hawkins ideas is because of the perceptions were are engraved with at such a young age. Also, in agreement with Stella his strong belief in science is a misconception due to the man-made procedures...but isn't religious practice also? Anywho, I think this video would bring out the worst in people because wether we want to or not, isn't there truth for the most part?? What we dont want to believe we will surely block it out. I got literally through half the video and had said more hurtful terms that I would have liked...but hey, its all because I didn't want to hear the truth(s).


    Benay

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    1. Well, to tell you the truth, I did not see the video as a whole, as hilarious (although I occassionally laughed here and there). I also did not see it as nonsense, because Richard Dawkins does make some very good points in the video. What I want to know is: why did you see it as hilarious and as nonsense?

      --Michael

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  24. Watching this video has made me realize how superstitious humans can actually be. People can sometimes make themselves believe in the superstitions of the supernatural. As shown in Dawkins’ astrology experiment, the vagueness of the horoscopes allowed people of find very general parts that can connect to themselves. Watching this video has certainly made me question myself and the superstitions that I believe in. Watching this video has made me wonder: To what extent are people willing to accept knowledge of the unknown/supernatural? I agree with Dawkins on this aspect of superstition. However, I also believe that Dawkins is quite radical in his means to refute the claims of the “enemies of reason.” Dawkins was very aggressive to the subjects that he tested. I believe in science and the breakthrough discoveries it has brought to this world. However, I still believe that there are certain aspects of the world that remain unknown and I believe that there is a reason why.
    I believe people are prone to believe things that are enemies of reasons because it provides knowledge of the unknown. I feel as though people that have such strong beliefs in superstitions accept knowledge without evidence nor reason but instead with experience. For example, my cultural background has led me to believe that “Black Magic” is indeed real. Many of my close relatives have claimed to have experienced the effects of this supernatural force. Therefore, I think people are vulnerable to things that are enemies of reasons because they seek knowledge of aspects that have yet to be proven with evidence.

    -JAMES

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  25. While watching the video I tried approaching all the points given with an open mind, but I couldn't help but get slightly irritated with some his statements, his language was crippling “ irrational nonsense”. I felt he completely disregarded the arguments of the opposition, he showed no attempt of even trying to understand the others beliefs or viewpoints, his whole argument was basically a confirmation of his own stated bias. But aside from that, he did incorporate some valid points about our superstitions belief, though I fail to see how that could hardly really be the enemy to science...or even possibly an idea worth fearing. I am a slightly superstitions person, I’ve heard stories i’ve seen things that would influence this belief in superstition. Where I grew up belief in the supernatural is a social norm. We all have different backgrounds and with it comes our different beliefs, se beliefs or and no man should try to challenge these beliefs or claim they are wrong and irrational. Like he said “we don't want to believe that things just happen, we want to believe that deliberate intention behind everything”, it is human nature to try to find patterns in life or create them where there isn't any. We try find understanding and meaning in our vast world, as a result we turn to superstition. While I believe not all superstitions are true, they are true to some other people and because of that it becomes real. I feel the superstitions become as real as how much faith we put in them. If we truly believe it it so, it becomes so.
    **Belleh**

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  26. LOVELY ~~~

    Based on the video, humans are superstitious because they find patterns that seem to make sense to their surroundings. But also, humans tend to be superstitious because we want to believe with what we feel is true. Psychics, psychic mediums, or astrologers shown in the video have strong beliefs based on what they think is true because of patterns, but they don't entirely rely on evidence; but instead, they turn away from evidence, yet make such strong beliefs. I question them in my head, "believing in something so strong and yet popularizing it hence influencing the mind of other humans, perhaps even leading them to a wrong direction of thinking...is that even valid?" I just think it's wrong. Especially when the psychic medium, being the leader in a congregation (what?), was speaking to the people with live connection with the spirit world, who was Craig Hamilton. What exactly was his purpose for connecting himself to the spirit world in order for the "alive ones" - us to connect with our dead loved ones again? When he claims, without evidence, that the dead speaks in his thoughts, in his mind. That is just so irrational. It's so unrealistic. And also, when Professor Dawkins brings up the issue that by being a psychic medium, Hamilton is only holding back humans from being able to move on from the heartbreaking deaths of their loved ones. I strongly agree with Dawkins' claim and I think people shouldn't depend on psychic mediums like Hamilton. Thinking that I put my shoes in those people's situation as they sat at the congregation to listen, I would ask him, "how do you know this? On what basis?" Also, I think it's just not right for him to hold back people from being able to move on. We humans have lots of capabilities and one of them is being able to move on from heartbreaking situations and being able to adapt as organisms. Moreover, I observed and also strong critique that superstition is solely based on individuals' own emotions, then language, then reason when they see patterns of some sort. They just believe because that's what they feel.
    Moreover, although I strongly agree with Professor Dawkins' claim that we should depend on scientific evidence, I think that sometimes it is okay to just depend on superstition or Sprituality when we just can't explain things. And also, sometimes, I think we should reflect on ourselves that we should be satisfied with what we already know. I mean, not everything needs evidence? Although my claim here brings up an issue, to what extent does something have to be so significant to find evidence for.
    Nuff said.

    In terms of humans being prone to believing things that are enemies to reason, I think we just believe in so much supersition because it takes to time to find evidence. And we humans want things instantly don't we, most of the time. People want answers as soon as possible and when they find things that would satisfy them, they take it, like astrology or Spiritualism or religion.

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  27. After watching the video, it made me re-evaluate as a result. I know that personally, I read into horoscopes, in which the astrology portion attracted my attention. Of course after years of reading into my personal horoscope and then reading into others, I found that it’s not always accurate, from the personality traits to the compatibility. My sister and I always found interest in it, because we found it funny, but we found errors in its validity often times. This is why I never really follow it, and I tell my friends not to live their lives based on what some random person could have uploaded from their computer in a basement!
    I think Richard Dawkins’ research in this video was more than reasonable. I don’t think he came into the situation with a close mind, but with a “false until proven scientifically valid” mentality. Dawkins simply put a scientific test to these social theories, superstitions, and beliefs, just to see if they can be fully proved right. I thought it was funny how he gave each person of different signs a card and said it was their horoscope, and most of them tied it in directly to their personal lives. Another part that I thought was funny was when he sat down with the “psychic” and Dawkins found direct issues within what the psychic was saying. When seeing these parts, the ways of knowing that I thought about were reason and emotion. How people reason socially without proof, and how emotion plays a major role in these beliefs without proven true is where these WOKs come into play. I questioned, why do the people of this society reason with social and cultural aspects which aren’t always proved with evidence? Is this because culture and religion are tied directly into emotion? People can believe that astrology is directly tied into the science of stars, and follows its guidelines, but is this scientifically proven? These are knowledge issues that the people of society need to consider.
    I think we are prone to believing things that are enemies to reason because of our social, cultural, and emotional connections with the things around us and of our past. Superstition is one of these enemies of reason, as explored in the video. I figured this in that project we did in class, when we rated our average superstitious beliefs, and people had different averages, which mostly was based on religions and cultures. There is no exact scientific proof of certain superstitions; only what a person has learned through culture and faith is what makes this a “belief”. Although half of these superstitions are emotionally connected with us, we have to remember not to let emotion get in the way of our reasoning.

    -Aaliyah

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  28. I completely agree with him on the issue off astrology. It’s discriminative and they is no factual bases to it. “Someone sits in their basement and writes that scrap”
    I completely agree with him on the issue off astrology. It’s discriminative and they is no factual bases to it. “Someone sits in their basement and writes that scrap”. Horoscopes are so general that’s it’s not reliable. It’s sad because people and even people in the class base relationships and life decisions based on horoscopes.
    That psychic was FAKE!!!!! However, I like how he do time to investigate all the claims. Shows that he wasn’t closed minded. It’s funny how the video points out everyday traditions.

    We are prone to believe things that are enemies to reason people it appeal to our every desire. For example magic treats and super heroes, we know it’s not real but yet we believe in it. Everyone loves superman and disappearing magic tricks because we all wish we could do those things. Our lives would be much easily if we had those things. Its appeals to our every desire, we want and need it therefore we believe in it. Another reason is because it fascinates us, it gets us to ponder and wonder what if? It simulates curiosity and wonder.

    Junior's Post

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    1. Thank you: at least you agree with me on the astrology issue. I also like how you resisted the temptation of dismmissing Richard Dawkins as "closed-minded" and "annyoing". I additionally agree that we fall for the traps of superstition and religion because they do, indeed, make us wish that we could have actual superpowers or magical powers.

      --Michael

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Thanks for posting!!

Swift