Saturday, August 19, 2006

SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC by Paul Kurtz 8/19/06

Skeptical Inquirer: The magazine for science and reason. Vol.30, #5. Sept-Oct 2006.
"Science and the Public" by Paul Kurtz, pp. 13-19

Skeptical Inquirer admittedly is not a magazine for everyone. It is connected with the Center for Inquiry in Buffalo NY [a place I have visited] and part of its' mission is to scientifically investigate claims of the paranormal variety. "Science and the Public" attempts a summation of the past three decades of Skeptical Inquirer. The past thirty years has seen a decrease in public interest in paranormal claims coupled with an increase in interest in complementary and holistic medicines.

An excerpt from page 16 follows:
*Eyewitness subjective testimony uncritically accepted without corroboration is a potential source of deception (in accounts of molestation, reports of apparitions, past-life regression, UFO visitations, etc,).
*Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
*The burden of proof rests with the claimant, not the investigators,
*Paranormal reports are like unsinkable rubber ducks; no matter how many times they are submerged, they tend to surface again.
*There is widespread gullibility and will to believe expressed by certain segments of the population, fascinated by mystery and magical thinking and willingness to accept tales of the occult or supernatural.
*In some cases, but surely not all, blatant fraud and chicanery may be observed, even in young children.
*In evaluating evidence, watch out for hidden bias and self-deception pro and con (including your own) to determine if something is a pseudoscience or not.
*There is no easily drawn demarcation line between science and pseudoscience, for one may be dealing with a proto-science. [end of excerpt].

Within the excerpt is a veritable wellspring of wisdom.
Kudos to Paul Kurtz for writing an excellent article.

~sapphoq reviews

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