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Luke T.
Skeptic Friend

140 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  10:21:40  Show Profile Send Luke T. a Private Message
Four years ago, I wrote an article for the online web site, Skeptic Report called "The Argument For Blue Fairies".

http://www.skepticreport.com/funnies/bluefairies.htm

I also wrote an accompanying Blue Fairies FAQ:

http://www.skepticreport.com/funnies/bluefairiesfaq.htm

If you read those, it is pretty obvious I was joking. I was simply using the articles to illustrate the logical fallacies used by the paranormal community as "evidence" which supports their claims.

The email address I included in those articles is a real one. And that is where this story takes a frightening turn.

For the last four years, right up to the present day, I have been receiving emails from people who think the whole Blue Fairies on the Moon thing is for real.

I have received desperate pleas for help from some of these people.

The latest email I have received informed me that the sender's best friend was in written contact with the Blue Fairies and that they have threatened to kill her.

How one writes to the Blue Fairies is a question I am not sure I want answered.

All of the emails are near gibberish, fraught with misspellings, and highly emotive.

But I think the best example of the characteristic of believers that is exploited by psychics and scam artists the world over can be found in this sample:

quote:
i would like to know more about fairies are they real or not. i have never a fairy but want to believe in them. so please do tell.


I "want to believe in them".

The potential abuse of power that lies behind that!

Scary.

Another:

quote:
how do i get rid of the bad luck that my husband and i have had for the past 15 years.it is getting worse ,we try to be positive.


Why, it is simple, my dear. Buy my magic protective amulet, my impregnable T-shirt, an Empowered Candle, and the Blue Fairies Super-Strength Home Defense Kit. All for just (name your price)!







Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  10:28:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
Absolutely. Sad but true. Some people need to have something else responsible for the things that happen to them. A force they can call on to protect them or ward away from them to prevent the bad things.

It's what causes traffic jams in Chicago because someone sees the Virgin Mary in a salt stain.

Well done, Luke.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Luke T.
Skeptic Friend

140 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  10:47:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Luke T. a Private Message
Thanks, Valiant Dancer.

I never answer the emails I get. I don't know what to say to these people, and I don't want to drive them further into their problem.

I could respond and tell them it is a joke, but that would probably result in a long series of correspondence I don't relish getting involved in.

It is a fascinating insight into just how easy it is to be a paranormal superstar for fun and profit.

You wouldn't even have to try very hard with people like that out there.

Edited by - Luke T. on 10/11/2006 10:47:51
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  11:03:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Weird I was using the Blue Fairy defense in a discussion with my Mom the other day, it is truly disturbing to hear that the BF concept has somehow become a real fantasy. This goes to show that no amount of good arguements will eliminate the 'I want to believe' factor.

I must conduct some thought experiments on this, however disturbing they may be.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  11:31:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
The sadest thing is when a person reads that satire and sees the wholes ONLYin that argument and refuse to see it in their own beliefs, even though they are the same.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  12:01:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Not to worry, Luke. If it wasn't blue faries, it would be something else. And compared to some idiot ideas, the blue faries are pretty innocious. Remember Heaven's Gate? And Jonestown? And Benny Hinn?

If a chronic 'believer' feels a gap in his/her intellectual life, he/she will seize upon the first thing that captures their fancy. The only thing about it is that these almost invaribly seem to be poorly educated in the first place -- many all but illiterate. You'd think that the fact it was put up on a skeptic site would act as some sort of a disclaimer, but they see only what they want to see.

Excellent spoof, Luke. I enjoyed it.








"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2006 :  13:06:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
No question about it. Humans, generally speaking, have a strong desire to believe.

Those of us who lack this particular mentality are quite often baffled by it. I know I am.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  09:32:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
First hand accounts are hard to overcome.
quote:

"Hello. When I was 7 years old, I saw a BLUE FAIRY. We pulled into the driveway, my Mother, my Sister who was 3 and myself. The car headlights shone way down the backyard and I saw her standing there. Right in the back right hand corner of the yard where the fences meet. She was about 2ft tall, rather big, I imagine as a 7yr old height may have been a little confusing. It was night time. The fairy, to which all my life I have called "The Blue Fairy" wasn't moving, but she did have a wand, had a long blue fairy dress on, dark and light blue. This was the Only time I ever saw the fairy. I begged my mother to walk down the yard and find her with me, which she did after we turned off the car. (This happened in Thornley, Western Australia) but we didn't find the fairy. I became very upset. I felt my Mother didn't believe me.
I am 42 years old now, and I know what I saw. I didn't have a fantastic imagination as a child and fairies were not a common theme in our house. I have been told recently I am surrounded by Angels and my sister, funnily enough, has a connection with the fairies. We were told this by a beautiful lady who balances chakras and is a healer. I am not a weirdo new age type person. BUT... I know there are different dimensions we mere humans (some of us at least) cannot see. I know my Blue Fairy is in my heart, always, and will believe until my dying day that I saw her in the garden. It was not a magical type garden either, just lawn and very sparse. This leads me to believe that it doesn't matter where you live or if you live in a magical place or not, that the beautiful ones are here with us." May all the Angels and Fairies watch over you. Kindest Regards, Theresa Shaw
*

If this person mistook something for a fairy as a child there must be others with similar experiences. I understand there were fairy abduction stories before there were UFO abductions.

My son tells me the Loose Change movie (9/11 CT) started as a fictional story never intended to be believed. I didn't pay attention to the details of my son's account so I'm not sure how the Loose Change producers came to believe their own fiction.
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Paulos23
Skeptic Friend

USA
446 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  10:03:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Paulos23's Homepage Send Paulos23 a Private Message
Of course there is a Blue Fairy, I've seen her.

You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting. -- Robert A. Heinlein

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
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Luke T.
Skeptic Friend

140 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  13:33:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Luke T. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

First hand accounts are hard to overcome.
quote:

"Hello. When I was 7 years old, I saw a BLUE FAIRY. We pulled into the driveway, my Mother, my Sister who was 3 and myself. The car headlights shone way down the backyard and I saw her standing there. Right in the back right hand corner of the yard where the fences meet. She was about 2ft tall, rather big, I imagine as a 7yr old height may have been a little confusing. It was night time. The fairy, to which all my life I have called "The Blue Fairy" wasn't moving, but she did have a wand, had a long blue fairy dress on, dark and light blue. This was the Only time I ever saw the fairy. I begged my mother to walk down the yard and find her with me, which she did after we turned off the car. (This happened in Thornley, Western Australia) but we didn't find the fairy. I became very upset. I felt my Mother didn't believe me.
I am 42 years old now, and I know what I saw. I didn't have a fantastic imagination as a child and fairies were not a common theme in our house. I have been told recently I am surrounded by Angels and my sister, funnily enough, has a connection with the fairies. We were told this by a beautiful lady who balances chakras and is a healer. I am not a weirdo new age type person. BUT... I know there are different dimensions we mere humans (some of us at least) cannot see. I know my Blue Fairy is in my heart, always, and will believe until my dying day that I saw her in the garden. It was not a magical type garden either, just lawn and very sparse. This leads me to believe that it doesn't matter where you live or if you live in a magical place or not, that the beautiful ones are here with us." May all the Angels and Fairies watch over you. Kindest Regards, Theresa Shaw
*

If this person mistook something for a fairy as a child there must be others with similar experiences. I understand there were fairy abduction stories before there were UFO abductions.


She says she was 7 years old at the time she saw her blue fairy.

About the right age for her to have heard the story of Pinnochio, in which a Blue Fairy figures prominently.

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  14:46:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
beskeptigal said:
quote:
If this person mistook something for a fairy as a child there must be others with similar experiences. I understand there were fairy abduction stories before there were UFO abductions.


The word "changeling" mean anything to you?

Superstition permeates human history, right along with this overwhelming desire to "believe" in things.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  22:14:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
I have to question whether this is some innate desire to believe. My hypothesis would be it results from the way the brain interprets nerve impulses. The interpretation is what is remembered, not the raw impulse data. Many if not most people are unaware of that fact.
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  23:04:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
Memories are really just emotional recreations. We do not remember, we recreate. Did you know that if you heard someone say "Several ship came sailing into the docks." Your brain would probably add the 's' to ship before you even realized you heard anything? The brain does this with images also. Any shadowy figure seen for a glimpse and the brain fills in the interpretation even before you realize you have seen anything. It is really cool.

Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2006 :  23:35:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
beskeptigal said:
quote:
I have to question whether this is some innate desire to believe. My hypothesis would be it results from the way the brain interprets nerve impulses. The interpretation is what is remembered, not the raw impulse data. Many if not most people are unaware of that fact.


The interpretation, by our brains, of the raw sensory data, is all that we are ever aware of.

But I don't see how that translates into a willingness to ignore evidence and believe blindly.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2006 :  06:55:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
At one of the New Age expos I attended, I was given a bottle of angle water. (I have it here, near my computer, with all the other amazing things I have collected in my travels as a skeptic. Angle water has mysterious properties that are good for you, in a spiritual sort of way. Now what is cool about it is that it was only the container the angles blessed. So it's refillable. Any water will do as long as it is first poured into the blessed container.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Neurosis
SFN Regular

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2006 :  12:27:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Neurosis an AOL message Send Neurosis a Private Message
You must mean angel water not angle water, Kill.

The woo-hoo's desire to believe affects how they interpret the raw sensory data. I have had tons of people admit to me that it is there desire to believe that there is something more out there that leads them to there conclusion.


Facts! Pssh, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
- Homer Simpson

[God] is an infinite nothing from nowhere with less power over our universe than the secretary of agriculture.
- Prof. Frink

Lisa: Yes, but wouldn't you rather know the truth than to delude yourself for happiness?
Marge: Well... um.... [goes outside to jump on tampoline with Homer.]
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