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Gullible Reporting about ESP on CBS

In the 1970s and 1980s, belief in the paranormal was I the most common target of skeptics. Topics such as extrasensory perception (ESP), astrology, and faith healing were at the top of the list of skeptical concerns. In the past thirty years, skepticism has evolved quite a bit, and while we never stopped being watchdogs on paranormal beliefs and other pseudoscience, they did mostly fade into the background. Other topics, such as science denial and the rise of fake news, took center stage.

But history has shown that there is often a cycle to such things. Interest in UFOs has waxed and waned over the years, for example, never going away completely but fading and then rising again to prominence as a new generation discovers the topic.

Still, we do like to think we are making some progress through exposure and education. We have tried to interact frequently with the press so that at least the skeptical point of view will get better exposure when such topics are addressed. One solid victory was when the BBC announced they will no longer follow a pattern of false balance when dealing with science denial—putting a crank up against the consensus of scientific opinion as if they were equal.

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