Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The explanation

Some of you will have heard this on the radio, but it's worth repeating, as it beautifully illustrates the enormous frustration I feel when I talk to devoutly religious people about their beliefs

Libby Purves was interviewing Derren Brown, the master illusionist, who for years has emphasized that none of his 'miracles' depends on supernatural forces, but they are all done by a wonderful combination of trickery, psychology, showmanship, distraction techniques etc.

He is fascinated by the gullibility of the public. While he was still a student he was doing some tricks for a group of his students friends, and when he'd finished, one of them came up to him and said "Yeah, I know they're tricks but it makes you think, doesn't it? There have to be forces we don't understand for these things to happen".

"No, no" said Derren "They're all just simple tricks, anybody could learn to do them" and he more or less told the guy how each trick was done.

"Yeah, you think you can explain it all, but there's more to it than you think. There's got to be something out there to explain it all" and he walked off, triumphant.