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The writer G K Chesterton once remarked that when man ceases to believe in God he will not believe in nothing. He will believe in anything. Such a statement as the above has been used ruthlessly by many sceptics to pour scorn on the paranormal. However, in many cases we can see this as justified. Take, for instance, the infamous case of Lord Dufferin.


This one time British ambassador to France often told a story of a strange dream. Related by researcher Camille Flammarion, Dufferin was awoken one night and went to the window. Outside, he saw a man with a hideous face carrying a coffin.Many years later, he was about to enter a lift in a Paris hotel when he saw the hideous face, belonging to the lift attendant. He didnt take the lift, and moments later it plummeted, killing all inside.
The entire story is, of course, bunkum. There WAS a lift accident in the mentioned hotel, but Dufferin was not in France at the time. Flammarion should have checked this out; as
well as the playful wink Dufferin gave every time he related the story.


To the sceptic, this is good. Indeed, a specific organisation exists to debunk the entire field of the paranormal. This is the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or CSICOP. As to its scientific reasoning, their intention is to investigate CAREFULLY the extraordinary claims of true believers and charlatans of the paranormal.
Some sceptics have gone to extraordinary lengths to debunk the paranormal. Take magician James Randi who has offered a million dollars to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal.
His money will never be claimed for Randi understands an important point concerning science - the fact that science never deals in absolute proof. Rather, science is a consensus of opinion that seems to fit the universe at a particular time.
It is a means of human understanding that seems to work, but can never be absolutely proved. And if hard physics, chemistry and biology can never be absolutely proved, the paranormal has no chance.

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-- Edited by vinitjain at 02:22, 2008-02-12



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