2 Responses

  1. Thanks for your mention of my article and my book.

    I’d like to point out one mistake in your piece. You write: “Hutson doesn’t touch on the dangerous types [of delusion].” In my article, I write: “Which isn’t to say magical thinking has no downside. At its worst, it can lead to obsession, fatalism or psychosis.” (In the longer draft, terrorism was on the list too.)

    Also, you write: “what is it that gets skeptics so testy? … the protection or shielding of such things (of anything) from critical inquiry and investigation.” That’s why I, as a skeptic, grow testy when other self-proclaimed skeptics shield the idea that rationality is a pure good, or that they themselves are never irrational. When peer-reviewed scientific evidence comes along suggesting otherwise, I listen with a critical but open mind. I hope you and your readers do the same.

  2. Jbardi says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for your comment. Indeed you did mention the more extreme manifestations of delusional thinking in your NYT piece–apologies for suggesting otherwise. I suppose I was looking for some warnings about more subtle effects and ways that magical thinking inhibits positive action or growth. I also think such thinking leaves people open to being duped in myriad ways by opportunists and manipulators.

    I definitely agree with you that we’re all capable of irrationality (and contradiction, and hypocrisy). I just don’t think it’s something to embrace. 

    I suppose at this point I should read your book and see if it changes my mind!