I don’t believe in a damn thing. UFO’s, Bigfoot, ESP, the Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, you name it. In my mind it’s all a bunch of poop. Despite that, I still consider myself very open minded. The reason for this is nothing revolutionary. It’s a reason that other Skeptics sight as to why they too are open minded. Simply put, I want there to be flying saucers. Are you kidding? Alien visitors from another planet, how awesome would that be? I want there to be a Loch Ness Monster. The idea of some animal surviving from the age of the dinosaurs would be fascinating. I want there to be ghosts. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want there to be an afterlife? ESP? Bring it on. Mindreading would be the bomb. Now, in the spirit of complete disclosure, Bigfoot doesn’t do anything for me. If there really is some big, hairy, naked guy running around in the woods of Montana, I’d just as soon not know about it - but UFO’S?
To make it absolutely clear, as to how much I would love it if there where aliens, I want to state here and now: I WOULD SACRIFICE DIGITS IF THAT WOULD PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF ALIENS. I am serious. I am willing to give up four toes (or two fingers) if that loss would somehow help prove the existence of aliens, - three fingers if the aliens built the pyramids. Now, I am not sure what might initiate such an exchange. Maybe if I found some proof of aliens, and I wanted to share it with the entire world, but at the last minute, government agents discover me. As I make a run for it, I get my hand caught in the screen door. No, that sounds just kind of clumsy - maybe something involving me escaping from a Russian submarine. Yeah, that sounds better.
I’m getting off track. It doesn’t matter. I’ll even take the clumsy way. The point is, I really want there to be aliens. So, that is why I think I am open minded. And that is why I think other Skeptics are open minded. I have heard many of them state the exact same thing that I have just stated. Not the thing about the fingers. I believe I am the only one to say that - but the part about them wanting supernatural things to be true, that, I have heard.
Carl Sagan stated it in many of his books. I’ve heard the head of the New England Skeptic Society, Steve Novella, say it on his podcast. Even James Randi, the king of all the Skeptics, has said stuff like this. They want ESP and flying saucers and ghosts and, yes, they even want there to be a Bigfoot. God knows why.
When they begin talking about these things all those grumpy old Skeptics start sounding like children. So when guys, like that, say they don’t think there is evidence for supernatural stuff, you maybe, have to believe them.
If you read Skeptic literature you’ve probably heard this appeal to impartiality before. But, here’s an angle on this subject that you might not have heard. I’ll state it in the form of a challenge. Show me one guy on the other side of these issues that has said the same thing. I don’t mean, show me a believer who thinks it would be cool if aliens existed. Come on, that’s a dime a million. I’m saying, show me one UFO advocate, who has said, “To be honest, I don’t really like the idea of UFO’s. I don’t think they would really add much to our general knowledge.” Show me one biologist who has said, “The Loch Ness Monster? I assure you the evidence for its existence is most definitely there; but frankly, the entire subject rather bores me. I have asked my university to approve my grant to study the mealy bug instead, those little creatures, now they really are something.” Show me one crypto zoologist who has said, “Yes, unfortunately, I captured Bigfoot but I’m not looking forward to all that re-classifying. It’s just so much paperwork.”
I know you’re thinking this comparison isn’t fare. Scientists wouldn’t be looking for paranormal stuff if they weren’t interested in it. But think about all those physicists in the turn of the century that we’ve read about who really hated quantum physics. It’s messy, anti-intuitive and almost impossible to understand, but reluctantly they accepted it.
The examples that I gave above are written for laughs, but consider the following: Is there a scientist who is a steadfast atheist, searching for ghosts? Show me the atheist who doesn’t believe in life after death but is still searching for ghosts because begrudgingly, the evidence has forced him to accept their existence. Show me the believer who is trying to prove himself wrong.
Instead, what we get are Bigfoot nuts, trying to pass off fuzzy pictures as proof because their favorite episode of the Six Million Dollar Man was the one with the Sasquatch, alien, robot from another planet. Don’t be coy. You know the episode I’m talking about.
So I say to you, show me the reluctant believer, the begrudging advocate. Show me the guy with the proof who continues his research to prove himself wrong, not right. Until then I’ll continue thinking the way I do. I’ll continue to hope for real live aliens but settle for Star Trek. Carl Sagan said it best, “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is then to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”


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