Paranormal plagiarism

Some juvenile over at the Cryptozoology.com forum hijacked my post on Cryptozoology and Sham Inquiry without citing the web site. This is just another example of how paranormal communities, even so-called skeptical members, engage in unprofessional and childish behavior.

Regarding topics that rely on anecdotes and FOAF stories, there is unconcious plagiarizing and morphing of stories all the time. However, these get formalized as “facts” in books. I’m reading Randi’s book Flim Flam about how Charles Berlitz failed to check even the most basic claims about accidents within the Bermuda Triangle. This happens CONSTANTLY in popular paranormal stories. No one checks facts. The story elements added by the teller for dramatic effect become “facts” and get perpetuated in new books that copy the first! That’s why serious researchers seriously doubt this stuff.

There is a thing called primary sources, ever heard of them? For example, when I wrote a paper about Newton’s experiments, I was so paranoid about getting facts right that I got Newton’s own writings to reference. Then, I felt better about talking about the whole episode. I couldn’t just rely on the commentary others made about it, even experts.

I feel flattered (sort of) that my post got traction on the site. There are some good people and smart, thoughtful skeptics there. But, the fact that this goes on frequently and sources are not cited or checked out is so…Fortean. Fort took odd tales at face value. All the ridiculous stories he published credulously. Yo, people. That’s not science. It’s folklore, urban legends, old wives tales. For entertainment purposes only. Let’s step it up a bit.

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Fluent in science, animals, paranormal culture. Expert in weird news. Doubtfulnews.com SpookyGeology.com

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