The Corner

Ghostbuster

Also in the New Yorker, an interesting profile (no link, alas) of Joe Nickell, a man whose day job is acting as the only full-time investigator for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (“CSICOP”). The writer of the piece records how he had been with Nickell at the Fourth World Skeptics Conference and notes that it is “hard to believe such gatherings exist” (not if you read NRODT – we covered the first such conference back in the 1990s), but then gets, I think, to the heart of why skepticism always finds it difficult to win a constituency:

“No matter how clever the proof, the result is to replace the fantastic with the ordinary.”

As a species, alas, we would rather be entranced by dreams of the fantastic than face up to the challenges of what we so mistakenly call the ‘ordinary’.

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