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The Enemies of Reason
The new program by Richard Dawkins examining stupidity and credulity:
Part One
Part Two
Interesting... although the whole crusade against irrationalism is ironically unrealistic.
It isn't unrealistic at all: Most people aren't beyond hope, and are merely continuing on in their misconceptions because they haven't examined them. In fact, the majority of people haven't actually thought about what they believe in, while at the same time they haven't gotten so caught up in it that their life would radically change if they were to realize the inanity of those beliefs. For example, how many times have you crossed your fingers and hoped something would turn out the way you'd like, or worn a lucky pair of socks for the same reason? Neither practice has any effect on the outcome, nor would their absence be noticeable. Education and awareness campaigns have a great success rate with such 'light' delusions because they foment discussion and contemplation (Teaching for conceptual change is one implementation of this).

But regardless of the probability of success, there is a crucial reason to pursue such a goal: The pseudoscience death toll is climbing. Think about how many homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, touch therapists, applied kinesiologists, and other scam artists bilk money from the sick and dying for literally no medical benefit. And what of the biggest problem nobody's heard of; HIV/AIDS denialism? That's based on exactly the same credulous mindset and ignorance of science, and it stands to kill millions.

Then there are the hot-button issues: Contraception, sex education, stem cells, global climate change, global overpopulation, evolution, homosexuality, and even the Holocaust. There are people spreading--and believing--demonstrably false information about all of those things, and that's causing its own big problems.
I don't believe crossed fingers or lucky socks are posing a significant threat to anyone at the moment. In fact, these behaviours may well have rational purposes behind them:

Professional athletes are notoriously superstitious. A "Lucky" bat/pair of skates/helmet, or the absence of such objects has a psychological effect on the athlete, which is likely to translate into a change in performance. But for these effects to continue (which would often be favourable), the athlete must remain confident in and even loyal to their superstition. This is the reason for their more unusual applications of these beliefs. For example, if one found that crossing one's fingers before going to bat yielded better results, one might feel obliged to stand by the belief at times when it can have no foreseeable logical effects (on the current situation), such as if a family member were ill.

Although it may be possible to talk people out of this sort of thing, from my experience people wouldn't be as quick to discard something more deeply ingrained like organized religion (which practically defines peoples' beliefs on some of the hot-button issues you mentioned).

As for the "scam artists", I admittedly don't have the experience to comment on the legitimacy of each one's profession, but assuming you're right, I'd still be willing to wager that these professions won't be driven out of existence by Richard Dawkins.

That's how it looks to me, anyway.
While 'lucky' socks might not be much of an issue, on the surface, when people do not vaccinate their children for measles because of their unfounded beliefs instilled as much by the 'information' media as by charlatans that proclaim that 'crossing your fingers' will cure your child, it becomes a life or death situation….a documented epidemic.
Did you see the woman from ‘Atlantis’ that claims there is a different structure to DNA that she can ‘fix’ for you if yours isn’t right? Or the ‘healer’ that claims physicist ‘stole’ his word…..ummm Quantum theory …the same guy claims that his patients are healed even if they die from their disease… idea of healing is totally different from his. The thing that scares me is the misuse of science for very NON SCIENCE practices. I am not going to buy water to cure my sick child. These people appear very blatant in their non ability to defend their practices and talk in abstracts that you can’t test. It’s all about trust and belief and while I believe the human body and mind is strong enough to heal a lot of maladies, it is not the only avenue to rely on, much less create industries that bilk people out of billions of dollars. And don’t get me started on wasted research money…I might not have a job next year because of funding…I do developmental bone research, birth defects, hearing loss, and Alzheimer’s, lets not fund those and send our money to develop unsubstantiated homeopathic medicine where the ‘doctors’ pass out water to cure your ailments.
Best quote.....view things with an open mind but not so open as to allow your brain to fall out.
No one likes to be manipulated. I don’t see how some of these people don't see that they are being deceived.

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