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Ivan Seeking Mar10-04 06:24 PM

Tales from the Dark Side: Skeptics on psychics

Psychics. Astrologers. Mediums. Spiritualists. They do an unexpectedly good business in this city of lab-coated rationalists and Oliver Wendell Holmes. But can they really tell the future? A trip to a mystic river awaits a skeptical writer who thinks cards are for poker and that spirits communicate best when they’re sipped slowly with a twist of lime.

In man’s attempts to rise above the common bug, he’s dubbed himself the Talker, the Tool-User, the Artist. The Murderer. And, of course, the Image of God.

Man is full of it.

The map of the human genome shows that we hold 99 percent of our genes in common with weevils. By posturing above our station, we stir up an ontological fuddle. Man is nature’s William J. Bennett. He is the Hypocrite.

Consider the usual examples of religion and war, of thundering judgment that wears no pants. No other animal would swoon around the Athenaeum with a collection of Bertrand Russell essays, then pick its navel while gawping at the latest episode of The O.C. We build castles of silicon, then carelessly toss our souls down the logical vacuum of Red Sox Nation. Or of fortune-telling

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