Saturday, December 21, 2013

The amazing world of pseudoscience …

Throughout recorded history, humans have widened their choices by focusing on things that either don’t exist or exist only in imagination. Isn't the opposite of everything more interesting? No wonder, paranormal persists, myths fascinate and pseudoscience captivates. Even if none of these were proven to be scientifically true, there are people who reserve the right to believe in them. For them, tales of mythical beasts like the Yeti, the Bigfoot and the Sea Serpent are part of their collective experience. Called cryptids, the pseudoscience of cryptozoology has been put through rigorous scientific inquiry by Daniel Loxton and Donald Prethero in their defining work on the subject: Abominable Science.     

Despite being proven false, many people continue to get attracted to the idea of imaginary creatures. And, the cryptological impulse is not new either. However, the question that begs attention is: Why do people believe in monsters and why should it matter if they do? It has been argued that such beliefs can serve a function in the human psyche, allowing people a sense of the mysterious and the magical and an escape from mundane reality. Will it not be terrible for a child, and even for an adult, to discover that Santa Claus does not exist?

No wonder, dilution of myths from collective conscience has often been resented. Not without reason because myths are at the core of most cultures, which widen instead of restricting human choice. If nothing, the mystical creatures can help search new meanings and fresh perspectives on concurrent developments. That is what producer Ben Holden intends to explore in the remake of 1957 cult classic The Abominable Snowman. In the remake, the Yeti will turn out to be an intelligent being lying low until it reclaims its habitat (mountains) from invading humankind. On the other extreme, electronic media is hungry to fill airtime with pseudo scientific stories!

This and more, Abominable Science has something for every reader. Not only is it well argued and suitably referenced, the book is informative, educational as well as entertaining. Perhaps, it is the first comprehensive study that views cryptids from diverse perspectives....Link

Abominable Science 
by Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero 
Columbia University Press, USA 
Extent: 411, Price: $29.95

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