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17 MIN READ TIME

Everything Happens for THE Reason

By Ian Harris

I am very excited to be writing for the Skeptical inquirer. I have been a subscriber and fan for over twenty-five years. Being a “skeptic comedian”—or a stand-up comic who promotes skepticism in his act, turning my jokes and thoughts into humorous mini-essays—has always been a goal of mine. Perhaps one day I’ll even turn them into a book.

While I love the idea of being re sponsible for my future, creating a path and sticking to it, and having things fall into place after years of working toward them (and even just the idea of plain old “happenstance”), I loathe when people chirp, “See, everything happens for a reason!” Living in California, I have plenty of New Age, unrelentingly “positive” people in my life, and that is great, but this idea assumes some sort of external pre-thought, some magical force, or predetermined outcome in life. Now, I understand cause and effect; like if I don’t apply the brakes, I will hit the car in front of me. But that is not what they mean by this. They mean it in some sort of grandiose “Someone is watching out for me” way.

I have heard countless stories from friends, practically throwing their backs out bending over backward to find a hidden “reason” for something. Every story sounds like this:

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Nov/Dec 17
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SPECIAL REPORT
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COMMENTARY
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INVESTIGATIVE FILES
Joe Nickell, PhD, is a former mentalist and magician, detective,
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James Randi began his career as a stage magician and
NOTES ON A STRANGE WORLD
Massimo Polidoro is an investigator of the paranormal, lecturer, and
BEHAVIOR & BELIEF
Stuart Vyse is a psychologist and author of Believing in
SCIENCE WATCH
Kenneth W. Krause is a contributing editor and “Science Watch”
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and author or coauthor of ten books, including Bad Clowns
CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND INCREDIBLE TALES
Using Social Research to Understand Conspiracy Legends
Why some people Embellish Their Already Accomplished Lives With Incredible tales
FEATURES
A high school biology teacher asked the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (a division of the Center for Inquiry) a series of questions about teaching evolution. Bertha Vazquez, director the foundation’s Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), answered. We thought her answers deserved sharing with Skeptical inquirer readers
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Pioneer physicist and science popularizer Dan Q. Posin saw the power of television for education and inspiration. Almost lost to history, his story has new relevance today
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Eleven years after his much-discussed documentary on climate change, An
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FOOD EVOLUTION
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I enjoyed Philip J. Senter’s thorough explanation of why claims