Dr Richard Dawkins, author of books such as The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, is famous for his materialist views about the nature of reality and his belief that “the supernatural… can never offer us a true explanation of the things we see in the world and the universe around us.”
On 3 November 2011, Dr Dawkins visited the British city of Bath to promote his new book The Magic of Reality and gave a reading at the Bath Central Library. In the Q&A session following the reading Graham Hancock, author of books such as Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, and Entangled, pointed out to Dr Dawkins that many traditional hunter-gather cultures believe there are other realities — spirit worlds and so on and so forth — and concrete techniques, such as the use of psychoactive plants, to access them. “As a scientist,” Hancock asked, “have you ever seriously engaged such techniques to have first-hand experience of what they’re talking about, and perhaps even to challenge your own concept of what is real?”
In view of Dr Dawkins’ influence and importance as a shaper of public opinion his reply, given before an audience of several hundred, is a matter of public record and public interest and shows him to be more open-minded than many of his critics might allege.