Letter: Implausible attraction

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The Independent Online
Sir: In your leading article ('Elvis and Nessie: together at last?', 14 March) you ask, 'Why is the public so keen to believe the implausible?' The answer is clear. We cling to the implausible in order to avoid facing the uncomfortable fact that we live in a soullessly mathematical universe which cares not whether the human race lives or dies.

To be serviceable, all we require of our implausible beliefs is that they are shared by a reasonable number of people. We take our pick from a wide variety of choices on offer. The most widespread implausibilities are those that invoke supernatural beings or forces, and ascribe some kind of post-mortem existence to human beings.

Respectable supernatural beliefs are sometimes called religious, in order to distinguish them from the unrespectable beliefs, which are dismissed as superstitions and rank alongside crackpot notions about monsters and dead singers. Is it possible to hope for a future world in which all supernatural ideas will be recognised as superstitious, leaving us free to take proper responsibility for ourselves? Or is that, too, implausible?

Yours faithfully,



14 March