Monday, August 13, 2007

Dawkins on dowsing

There is something very bracing, especially for a Christian Brethren-raised boy like me, about Richard Dawkins' rampant rationalism. He has, it must be said, toned down his natural tendency towards contemptuous dismissal for his new Channel Four series Enemies of Reason. If you want to experience vintage, full-on Dawkins, though, there's always YouTube.

I'm not sure that he's right to categorise dowsing as 'spiritual' though. I was speaking to a civil engineer recently who regularly employs a dowser to find drains on buildinbg sites. He told me that the person he uses has a 100 per cent success rate. And I've spoken to dowsers who see their abilities as some kind of refined physical sensitivity. Also, the 'double blind' test in the programme did not really allow for classic dowsing, which involves the feet passing over the sought-for watercourse.

Jings, now I'm feeling a bit thirsty.

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