Creationism – that long-discredited, madcap collection of myths – being taught in an Auckland school? Sensing Murder back on the box. A new round of mumbo jumbo about the Great Pyramid of Giza, this time about it being a focus for electro-magnetic energy, according to scientists from Itmo University in St Petersburg. Closer to home the annual Mind Body Spirit Book Awards are coming up.

Plus it's business booming as usual in the snake oil industry, the shonky seminar market and the high-revenue end of the evangelical trade.

Are we in the middle of a new epidemic of superstition? Is the world in such dire straits that we need to protect ourselves from unpalatable reality with even more implausible fictions, the less believable the better?


It's not hard to see the appeal of many of these.

Creationism, for instance, has much better pictures. Artist Ken Ham draws dinosaurs cavorting with people to demonstrate that the fossil record is consistent with creation in seven days.

All evolution has by way of competition is a cartoon sequence of Bubbles the chimp morphing into Bozo the Clown.

You probably would have to be a clairvoyant to see the appeal of Sensing Murder.

That said, the show certainly puts one in touch with the realm of the unexplained. There is no explanation for why real people allow themselves to continue to take part in this cynical piece of manipulation when no such show anywhere has ever solved any crime.

If Giza was indeed a focus for powerful energy forces, where were the light bulbs, or the exercise bikes, or any record that such energy was ever identified, produced or used for anything?

If you look closely at the breathless reports of this study, its claims seem to amount to little more than that the pyramid did the sort of thing you get when you shine the sun through a magnifying glass to set fire to something.

Fun on the night of the Mind Body Spirit Book Awards will include a talk on "how each of the finalists' works help us to understand the sentient 'aliveness' we all know but struggle to validate".


Even they have to use quote marks to distance themselves from what they're saying. I am indeed struggling, but it's got nothing to do with my sentient aliveness.

The quest for understanding is part of our makeup. It's got us a long way, but it's also lead us down some ridiculous byways.

Maybe we should stop trying so hard to explain things. I don't know how a car works but I know it does and I know other people understand why.

There are many things in life that no one can explain – at the moment. There was a time when no one knew how that whole day/night thing worked. We have a pretty good handle on that now (though don't ask a creationist).

And one day we will understand a lot more about the greatest mysteries of time and space. We will understand them as a result of experiments and observation and thought – not by making up stories.

Science, broadly speaking, is responsible for the likes of clean water, electricity, medicine and our ability to communicate with anyone further away than the other end of the couch.

With superstition - although you get some pretty good art and music on the plus side, on the minus side you get prejudice, sanctimony, violence against strangers and Sensing Murder.

There are many impalpable, unexplained and mysterious things in our lives. They are the likes of love, friendship and empathy. We can enjoy them without having to accept absurdities, and nobody tries to make a buck out of them.