It’s interesting to hear the reasons given when people believe in things which seem contrary to what evidence otherwise proves, but there are plenty of people who do. Whether it be the country of Obama’s birth (and whether his US certificate is forged or not), that the earth will be destroyed in 2012 when the Mayan Calendar ends, that the events of 9/11 were not a terrorist attack, that childhood vaccinations cause autism, or that Beyonce was ever actually pregnant; there are people who find controversy in topics that others consider obvious closed cases.
I recognize that, for many, there are deeper reasons why they want (or need) to believe that a particular event occurred, or in some cases didn’t occur. Like, for instance, alien abduction; that’s definitely one of those things that seems so fantastical that it’s hard for me to believe that any sane person would think it could happen, and yet they do.
PZ Meyers, of the blog Pharyngula, was flown to Arizona recently to participate in a BBC documentary on people who believe that they have been abducted by aliens. What makes this documentary different is that it uses a new approach: “they take True Believers on a road trip to confront them with evidence against their obsessions.” As PZ says:
All I had to do was have a conversation with these 5 believers in alien abductions. It was…interesting. They were all very nice people, but they ranged in rationality from people who’d experienced unexplained events and were trying to figure out what happened, to a real loon who was utterly convinced that Jews were alien hybrids, reptoids had hybridized with humans, and the stone blocks of the pyramids had been cut with lasers. We argued for an hour or two, all of it was recorded, and I’m sure it will all be cut to the 5 juiciest minutes for the final show.
This looks like a show I’ll have to keep an eye out for. It also turns out that this formula has been used at least once before, when the BBC covered people who believe that the events of 9/11 were part of some vast cover-up/conspiracy perpetrated by the US government. You can watch that whole commercial-free episode here …
I guess I should be encouraged that at least one of the conspiracy theorists recognized reason when he heard it, but it made me sad to see how two others were so firm in their mindsets that they wouldn’t even consider the facts presented to them by witnesses, experts, and scientists. I suppose that we’ll see similar reactions and results from the participants in the alien abduction documentary.