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A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper by John Allen Paulos

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Harvard Psychiatrist Believes Patients Abducted by Aliens

Mathematically Creating One’s Own Pseudoscience

In addition to the occasional piece of informed advocacy, science reporting ought every so often to gently debunk pseudoscientific extravagances. The enduring obsession with guardian angels and statues that bleed or cry are cases in point. So is the writing of the Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, whose recent book chronicles (and more or less endorses the authenticity of) the experiences of patients of his who assert that they’ve been abducted by aliens in UFOs. It received wide notice, and both the Washington Post and the New York Times ran long profiles on him, which, while not exactly credulous, were not exactly incredulous either.

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