Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Proof Positive

      The quote "Extraordinary Claims demand extraordinary proof" has widely been attributed to Carl Sagan, a key contributor to the modern skeptical movement.  However, this thought precedes Sagan by a couple of centuries.  Daniel Loxton in the Skepticblog post, "Wonderful Phenomenon demand wonderful evidence," Dec 11, 2012 traces it back to David Hume (1739) and Pierre-Simon Laplace (1814).
      Religious and paranormal history is replete with claims of miracles.  However, such claims have become significantly fewer in modern times when the ability to make controlled examination has advanced beyond mere anecdotes from biased observers, who often have become hypnotized by their desire to participate in the phenomenon. 
      Often, yesterday's miracles have evolved into today's scams.  A corollary to the above might be the adage, "If it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is."

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