BURRIS: Pseodoscience can make your brains drop out

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In case you missed it, the world was supposed to end week before last.  But now we're hearing that the Mayan calendar wasn't really predicting the end of the physical world, it was predicting the end of some kind of spiritual world, and the beginning of a new.  Sort of like the harmonic convergence of a few years ago.

What makes me kind of sad, though, is how much this kind of nonsense makes the news, while real science news is seriously lacking.  Just a few years ago there was massive news coverage of changes in astrological signs, as if there is really something to what is perhaps the oldest pseudo-science around.

The other night I heard a radio talk show guest discussing, seriously I might add, the fact that he had evidence we never landed on the moon.  And most of the callers agreed, and seemed to have their own evidence of a vast conspiracy to defraud the public about the landings.  Then, in the middle of all of this discussion, was a guest who firmly believes there is a giant face, like a statue, in the Cydonia region of Mars.

Now I have to admit, I somewhat enjoy these sorts of programs; they do provide a kind of mild escape.  But it always amazes me how many people actually believe in astral projection, Big Foot and Freudian analysis of cartoon characters.

All of that got me to thinking about what is perhaps the most read part of the newspaper, the horoscope.  I know several people who, although the say they don't really believe the horoscope, nevertheless make sure they read theirs every day.    

But in fact, the horoscope isn't just harmless fun; it actually cheapens the human experience.  I hate to think that we can put every person in the world into one of 12, or is it 13, categories, based on the way the stars and planets were aligned a thousand years ago

Now, the proponents will tell you that we just need to be more open minded.  Well, this is a case where you can be so open-minded your brains drop out.

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Larry Burris
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