Twenty-five Fallacies That Lead Us to Believe Weird Things
In 1994 NBC began airing a New Age program called The Other Side that explored claims of the paranormal, various mysteries and miracles, and assorted "weird" things. I appeared numerous times as the token skeptic—the "other side" of The Other Side, if you will. On most talk shows, a "balanced" program is a half-dozen to a dozen believers and one lone skeptic as the voice of reason or opposition. The Other Side was no different, even though the executive producer, many of the program producers, and even the host were skeptical of most of the beliefs they were covering. I did one program on werewolves for which they flew in a fellow from England. He actually looked a little like what you see in werewolf movies—big bushy sideburns and rather pointy ears—but when I talked to him, I found that he did not actually remember becoming a werewolf. He recalled the experience under hypnosis. In my opinion, his was a case of false memory, either planted by the hypnotist or fantasized by the man.
Another program was on astrology. The producers brought in a serious, professional astrologer from India who explained how it worked using charts and maps with all the jargon. But, because he was so serious, they ended up featuring a Hollywood astrologer who made all sorts of predictions about the lives of movie starts. He also did some readings for members of the audience. One young lady was told that she was having problems staying in long-term relationships with men. During the break, she told me that she was fourteen years old and was there with her high-school class to see how television programs were produced.
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