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Matter over mind

Anthony Gottlieb admires a rigorous refutation of belief in the paranormal

By Anthony Gottlieb   March 1996

The house magazine of America’s most indefatigable debunkers, The Skeptical Inquirer, once printed a disconcerting letter from a reader. You people, the reader complained, are like boy scouts holding hands round a campfire and reassuring each other that there is nothing out there. He had a point. If sceptics are so sure that the flapping curtain conceals no bogeyman, why do they spend so much time poking it with sticks?

Professor Nicholas Humphrey has a novel solution to the problem of how to deal with supernatural beliefs. He realises that it is no good condemning them as merely stupid: they…

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