In 1930, famed globe trotter Lowell Thomas concluded a chapter of India: Land of the Black Pagoda with this thought (p. 190):
Our reading of mysteries that captivate the popular imagination convinces us that Thomas’s observation is a major theme in human curiosity and applies equally well today. In the preceding chapters we have seen how, in disputed areas, there is a deep division between what might be called the scientific establishment and the nonprofessional. There is a tendency for each side, in its own self-interest, to look into the other’s mind to explain the dichotomy. Amateurs sometimes see professionals as striving at all costs to preserve scientific dogma—a mental hardening of the arteries. Professionals, on the other hand, often see their adversaries as the unorthodox who ignore empirical methods of science and embellish a few selected facts with fantasy. Even without such prejudicial feelings, it is a complicated matter. There are many shades of outlook on both sides. Amateurs are not necessarily unscientific, and on the other hand the Ph.D. does not confer either total rational thought or a rigidly arrogant stance.
That it is not in accord with facts is no reason in the public mind why it shouldn’t be true.
KeywordsMental Hardening Complicated Matter Public Mind Preceding Chapter Popular Imagination
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© Plenum Press, New York 1979