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Richard Dawkins interviews Derren Brown - Comments

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 1 by Steven Mading

I love watching Derren Brown reveal how easy it is to fool people. (Or, more accurately, to help people to fool themselves.) I feel like he's the James Randi of his generation, much like James Randi became the Harry Houdini of his generation.

The parallel between the trickery of psychics and the trickery of priests is clear as day, and yet so many people can't see it and get offended when it gets pointed out. It's all really depressing, actually.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 10:47:00 UTC | #286202

John Yates's Avatar Comment 2 by John Yates

I recommend Derren's book "Trick of the Mind." I thought that it was going to be a kind of continuation of his channel 4 television series of the same name, but it is instead a sort of autobiography intertwined with a very God-Delusionesque account of the stupidity of irrational superstition. In it, he says that The God Delusion is his favourite book of all time. I highly recommend Trick of the Mind. It is jam packed with funny anecdotes about hypnotism and the various charlatans that he has encountered over the years. I eagerly await the follow up.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:01:00 UTC | #286209

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 3 by Matt H.


Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:02:00 UTC | #286212

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 4 by xsjadolateralus

Religion works the same way.

People are dumbfounded by coincidence and chance and are all too willing to attribute it to the supernatural and mysterious. On the other hand you have a "skilled" person who will feed their ignorance to turn a profit or gain their trust.

How can this NOT be evil? The religious are one of the last mass criminals to be prohibited.

"God loves you and tells me he wants you to put a dollar in the hat"

"I'm getting the name frank"
"yes, frank is my dead husband"
"He, he loves you and wants you to be happy"
"Oh, yes thank you"
"thatl' be $10.00"

I don't see any difference and I don't think it is anything other than theft, a clever theft but still it is certainly criminal.

It's apparent that the understanding of this type of evil and it's victims are the reason why atheists are morally superior. Who with a conscience or a functional brain can take part in this!

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:07:00 UTC | #286215

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 5 by God fearing Atheist

#300297 by xsjadolateralus

Edward de Bono has a different take on it:

People pay for a "little pill" to give them a psychological boost. The pill might be a placebo, but they still feel better for it.

I don't think selling placebos for a few bucks is evil in itself. However, the woo-woo leads to other things ...

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:13:00 UTC | #286221

Tzsak's Avatar Comment 6 by Tzsak

Very interesting, thanks for posting this~

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #286227

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 7 by Dr. Strangegod

Can't wait to watch this! Does all my "conmen and rubes" rhetoric from other posts make sense now folks?

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:29:00 UTC | #286229

FatherNature's Avatar Comment 8 by FatherNature

I'm getting an impression from the spirit world...I see people sitting in front of computer screens....much negative energy....Oh, it's gone...the link is broken.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:36:00 UTC | #286232

RichinBedford's Avatar Comment 9 by RichinBedford

Two of my favourite people, fantastic! I would also recommend Derren's book to anyone. And yes look up his Messiah programme on youtube, and show it to anybody who has any supernatural belief.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:55:00 UTC | #286240

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 10 by Quetzalcoatl


I'm watching the Youtube vids right now, very good so far. I've also read his book, and highly recommend it.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 11:56:00 UTC | #286242

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 12 by Colwyn Abernathy

Woohoo! The incredibly edible Derren Brown! Yowzers...he stutters more than I do. Learn something new every day, doncha? ;)

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:10:00 UTC | #286246

tvictor's Avatar Comment 11 by tvictor

Thank you very much for sharing

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:10:00 UTC | #286245

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 13 by rod-the-farmer

Yes, interesting, but what's with the cameraman hopping around like Gollum ? It distracts from the interview.

Edit to correct spelling.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #286249

Ygern's Avatar Comment 14 by Ygern

Thank you for sharing this with us. I'll definitely be buying the 'Reason' series. (A winter solstice gift to me)

One of the points I found interesting was where there was a discussion of TV 'dramatisations' and special effects made to illustrate / enhance claims in documentaries. I can see how this might make the claim appear stronger to a really naïve viewer; but I'm not sure whether it really convinces most people - I would have thought the reverse. The moment a supposed documentary resorts to a dramatisation, I almost always find the credibility of the show dropping rather than growing.

I'd be interested to know how many people find such dramatisations improve or weaken a documentary's credibility.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:24:00 UTC | #286250

zpiff's Avatar Comment 15 by zpiff

Not that i like worshipping in any form, but I find Derren a very intriguing character and to see him in a discussion with Richard is almost to good to be true! Many thanks for posting this!

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:38:00 UTC | #286255

tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 16 by tieInterceptor

I'm a big fan of Derren Brown, looking forward to this.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #286257

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

Comment #300328 by Colwyn Abernathy

Yes, Derren is a bit of a dish, I think. Putting that aside, this was a really fascinating discussion. There are so many verbal tricks that aren't always obvious even to the sceptic (at least not to this sceptic). I was particularly interested in the discussion about the question of the degree of belief held by those who claim to be mediums, especially the matter of mutual re-inforcement. It was thought-provoking watching this after the interview with George Coyne. There are surely countless priests and bishops who don't really believe, but continue because they think it is best for their parishioners.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:50:00 UTC | #286259

EeekiE's Avatar Comment 18 by EeekiE

My heroes. Both of them.

It was Derrens' book, that I assumed would be all about mental tricks and secrets, that actually started me on my trip out of religion. Exactly because it superficially didn't look like a book about scepticism, but about magic.
In fact looking at his book now, it seems almost obviously engineered to teach scepticism of religion etc.
From this book I read The God Delusion that was recommended in it and here I am now.

So yeah, if you have any friends that are a bit in to woo, or think Derren can actually read minds, but would shun TGD, get them Derrens' book as a present.

It's a trojan horse.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:57:00 UTC | #286260

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 19 by Matt H.

Indeed, I remember in one of his early shows, Derren Brown did a seance, and I was completely taken in to the whole thing. Then at the end he just gave away the whole thing, and revealed it as an excellent hoax. He is basically a British James Randi, he shows how easy it is to trick people and shows these magicians and psychics for the charlatans and frauds they really are.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:01:00 UTC | #286263

bujin's Avatar Comment 20 by bujin

"Yes, interesting, but what's with the cameraman hooping around like Gollum ? It distracts from the interview. "

I'm with you 100% on that one, rod! Great interview, but the camerawork is quite annoying!

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:02:00 UTC | #286264

dead Yeti's Avatar Comment 22 by dead Yeti

Further to comment 3, Despite having read god delusion first - Derren Brown's tricks of the mind book is actually what managed to confirm to me in my own mind that I wasn't a Christian and was in fact an Atheist.

Though it covers a lot of ground, the thing I took from the book was to think for myself something I had probably not done enough of in my 30 years on this planet.

Highly recommended

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:07:00 UTC | #286266

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 21 by Quetzalcoatl

Come on, guys, remember that this is unedited.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:07:00 UTC | #286265

Eshto's Avatar Comment 23 by Eshto

Well think about it, this is the uncut footage, isn't it? If they only have one cameraman, he's gotta dance around them both. Then later they can edit the footage to focus on whoever is speaking.

EDIT: The feathered serpent beat me to it.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:08:00 UTC | #286267

Ygern's Avatar Comment 24 by Ygern

Guys, unfair call on the camera work - this is uncut - i.e. unedited, bare bones, warts and all.

I actually quite like the naked honesty, its a refreshing change to the slickly edited collages that most televised interviews become.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:09:00 UTC | #286268

Southpaw's Avatar Comment 25 by Southpaw

It is jam packed with funny anecdotes about hypnotism and the various charlatans that he has encountered over the years.

'A list of fish' made me laugh like a drain. Tis worth a read for sure.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:11:00 UTC | #286269

Eshto's Avatar Comment 26 by Eshto

I like the interruptions, it feels like I'm there filming with them.

And I need friends.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:12:00 UTC | #286271

evotruth's Avatar Comment 27 by evotruth

I've got this on the uncut DVD. It's always great to see Derren.

Here's the man at work!

Cold Reading:

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:15:00 UTC | #286272

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 28 by Quetzalcoatl

Just finished watching the last video: all top-notch. Many of the examples he gave are discussed in more detail in his book, it's worth buying for that alone.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:17:00 UTC | #286274

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 29 by Alovrin

Comment #300331 by rod-the-farmer

Yes, interesting, but what's with the cameraman hooping around like Gollum

Besides being unedited, the footage is shot off the shoulder, perhaps thats the style the director wanted or likes. So its the directors call how something is shot. And the cameraperson follows instructions, He did a good job of shooting it I think. And Im sure the Director would have had a monitor(little TV screen thing) or would have some knowledge of lens sizes and it is possible to tell what size shot is being filmed when.

Personally I think this style of camera work has been overused, remember Hill Street Blues, it all started with that show. To give the show a kind of immediacy, or gritty reality.

Anyway if you dont like it blame the director not the cameraperson.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:25:00 UTC | #286278

AllanW's Avatar Comment 30 by AllanW

I've enjoyed Derren Brown's approach for ages now and absolutely echo what others have said about his book 'Tricks of the Mind'; it's a revelation about the rational and sceptical approach. I've picked up a few good books after being suggested by Derren. Francis Wheen and Dick Taverne were the two most enjoyable for me.

Great video. Thanks again to the site for making it available.

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:26:00 UTC | #286279