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Desert Diary


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Oh, don't listen to him—he's just a skeptic! Now, how often have you heard people bad-mouthing skepticism? Of course, like anything else, it can be overdone, but a healthy level of doubt can go a long way toward keeping you safe in a dangerous world. For example, it's still possible to buy natural remedies in Juárez and other cities of the Chihuahuan Desert that turn out to have dangerous levels of lead or toxic herbs. A healthy skepticism may preserve your health.

Being too skeptical, however, can be dangerous, too. Refusal to be vaccinated because of rejection of medical knowledge can be just as deadly as ingesting heavy metals. Luckily, education can help focus skepticism where it's an aid rather than a detriment. If you understand the laws of physics, you're much less likely to invest in a perpetual motion machine, and if you understand economics, you're less likely to fall for a 200% guaranteed profit scam. Now, while I have you here, let's talk about investing in this car that doesn't require fuel.
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Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.



Skeptic Magazine (ISSN 0959-5228)