Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Dawkins should promote quackery

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-12

Richard Dawkins in "Enemies of Reason: The Irrational Health Service" perhaps kicked an own-goal if his aim is a rational society as soon and as resilient as possible.

We should be not attacking faith-based treatments, but encouraging people to use them.  As an evolutionary biologist, Dawkins should understand the selective advantage this would give those humans who are more rational than others.

With promotion of pseudo-scientific and faith-based health treatment, the more credulous and less desirable humans would gradually be removed from the gene (and meme) pool.

At the front door of hospitals, I’d ask incomers whether they believed in an all-powerful all-loving god, and whether they want to let "God’s will be done".  Those answering "yes" get directed to a chapel with beds and lots of priests of different faiths and denominations, ensuring "patients" receive round-the-clock prayer.

If there is an epidemic, then encouraging lots of visitors to pray for the sick would be even more helpful.

"Are you worried about nasty chemicals used in scientific medicine, the way scientists treat lab animals, prefer natural cures?  Yes?  Down that hallway, to a ward full of crystal-wielders, kinesiologists and homeopaths."

Those wanting scientific treatment are first asked to sign declarations of their belief in the supremacy of the scientific method, and preferably, sign away their souls.

Over three or four decades, government subsidies to quacks would be cost-effective, and the resulting higher proportion of rational voters would demand rational public policy from politicians.

We could do the same with international aid.  Countries with a vast majority of religious adherents can be left to the tender mercies of their god, especially after a disaster similar to that traditionally ascribed to the wrath of deities.

Don’t call it eugenics, call it respecting people’s belief systems.


7 Responses to “Dawkins should promote quackery”

  1. I watched that show too. That is a hilarious and wicked analysis. The placebo effect would probably let a few through though…

    I read a good book a few years ago called The Sickening Mind which was a proper neurological analysis of how the brain responds to illness, placebo effects and the like.

  2. Matt Stone said

    I know Richard Dawkins is an Atheist but would you seriously call him a rationalist?

  3. Dave Bath said

    LE said “The placebo effect would probably let a few through though…”

    Yep. Hopefully irrational folk with good placebo results will encourage more irrational folk to take faith-based treatments, leading to an increase in selective pressure.

    I’m chuffed you considered the analysis “wicked”. I must ask, deeds for transfer of ownership of souls from one who believes in them to one who doesn’t might involve some legal contortions. Do you care to write a draft instrument? What rights might be exercised by the person or organization that received the souls? Should they be put in escrow? Could the list of sold-souls be published, or would that violate privacy law? Could you use a portfolio of souls for taking over religious organizations like a hostile merger-and-acquisition (followed by asset stripping and sale of the shell)? Would resale of souls (from say, a rationalist organization to a satanist group) be legitimate, or would the re be a covenant to prevent resale?

  4. […] reasons for promoting faith-based medical treatments is outlined in "Dawkins should promote quackery" […]

  5. […] "Dawkins should promote quackery" (2008-05-12) argues that those who believe in miracle cures should be encouraged to use them rather than evidence-based medicine, rather than Richard Dawkin’s counterproductive railing against anti-scientific health treatment… social darwinism in a nice way! […]

  6. […] "Dawkins should promote quackery" (2008-05-12) discusses what I consider another "own-goal" by Dawkins […]

  7. […] Balneus on Flawed attacks on Dawkins: Zwartz and allDawkins v God (1) « Balneus on Dawkins should promote quackeryDave Bath on Fractally wrongLyn on Fractally wrongskepticlawyer on […]

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