Somebody once said: "Isn't it enough that the garden is beautiful, does it have to have fairies at its center as well?"


Some people seem to think that alone the quantity and not the quality of the arguments presented in an article is important. So in addition to a few good arguments, they state a few dozen increasingly absurd ones, which simply destroys their credibility.

This most often happens in articles about strange science and parascience (ancient relics, strange medical conditions, improbable cryptozoology and similar). I am usually fascinated with the first few arguments and facts presented in the article. I get the feeling that there might be something true to the particular story presented. But then the writer almost invariably start talking about wild theories with no credibility whatsoever, and the original fascination is replaced by annoyance. These wild theories might make the case more interesting to those who want to believe it, but to the more skeptical reader, these ideas discredit the whole phenomenon the article is about.

I recently read an article about an anatomically exact skull made out of crystal from (they say) South America. Apparently, there is no way one could reproduce those things with current manufacturing methods. (The crystal would break.) I was fascinated. But then the writer went on about the mystic energies inherent in crystal and a possible extraterrestrial origin, which made the phenomenon of these skulls seem no more down-to-earth than Bigfoot or flying saucers. I had wanted to get more information about these skulls at first, but now I didn't want to waste my time. This unnecessary raving about energies and extraterrestrials had ruined the credibility of the skull.

Yet this apparently impossible skull does exist, and it's interesting even without being magical.

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