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More Thoughts on the Paranormal

By Robert Shoemaker

As a general response to some of the entries and items in the last issue, it continues to amaze me that so many Mensans, at least around here, avow cosmological beliefs that are not merely of questionable tenability, but are downright silly. A number of these Mensans apparently maintain truly childlike beliefs in such superstitions and long-outmoded, long-discarded (by the sagacious leaders of both Western and Eastern thought) as 'angels', 'souls', 'afterlife', 'God', and all manner of empty noises supposedly denoting actual entities, beings, forces, etc. in the universe of what-is. Moreover, these people seem to actually think that they are epistemologically 'free' to 'believe' such nonsensical tripe, confusing 'having reasons for believing something' with 'being politically allowed to say whatever they choose', which, of course, are two entirely different matters.

There are indeed matters about which rational assessment has been unable to come to a consensus, but these metaphysical bits of archaic nonsense are not among them. One can hardly be said to 'believe' what cannot even be clearly stated, much less that which a preponderance of evidence and reason shows to be erroneous. Again, I would expect this simple-mindedness from the 50% of the human population with average or below mental ability, but it is no less than staggering to find those in the top 2% of human intellectual acuity behaving like children instead of taking on the responsibility of helping those with less ability understand how the universe is. I suppose it is a monument to the forces of intellectual inertia, tradition, popular emotions, etc. And I suppose intellectual ability is not to be equated with higher education. Still, it is a bit depressing.