Author: seeker

I Don’t Know

“I don’t know.” Three of the hardest words to say – except maybe for:

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Many of us – probably most of us – seem to approach admitting ignorance with the same enthusiasm we approach a root canal. It is as though we are afraid to confess that we don’t know something, as though it were a moral deficiency or a crime.

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Cougars

Not Your Usual Chicago Resident

From time to time, authorities in Illinois would receive a call from someone claiming to have seen a cougar. These calls were usually ignored. There were no cougars in Illinois – there were no credible reports of cougars here. That being the case, the caller didn’t really see a cougar. He must be mistaken or lying. Either way, there was no reason to take his call seriously. This state of affairs persisted for decades, right up to the time when a full-grown cougar had to be shot by Chicago police in a densely-populated neighborhood of the City. Suddenly, the possibility of cougars in Illinois became more plausible.

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Beresovka Mammoth

Beresovka Mammoth

The Beresovka Mammoth was found in Siberia in the early 20th Century. Its body had been relatively well preserved, frozen for about forty thousand years in the frigid tundra. There were a few mysterious facts that puzzled researchers.

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The Great Pyramid

Pyramids – What were we thinking?

The pyramids of Egypt – and in particular, the Great Pyramid of Giza – are among the most puzzling and contentious productions of human endeavor. In fact, one argument is whether the pyramids were built by humans or by aliens. The reasoning seems to go: “I don’t know how they could have built the pyramids. Therefore, it must have been aliens.” Such reasoning is wearisome; I’m going with “forgotten technology.”

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Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man Skull

In 1908, a worker at a gravel pit in Piltdown, England, found pieces of a skull. The discovery attracted the attention of a collector named Charles Dawson, and paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward. These men found additional pieces of the skull at the site, as well as a jawbone apparently belonging to the same creature. The creature seemed to have a brain around two thirds the size of a human’s, while its jaw was similar to that of a chimpanzee’s. It was called “Piltdown Man.”

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How Do You Know?

Most of us admit that we don’t know everything. However, we usually feel certain about some of our facts. We may think they’re obviously true, or that they’re so certain that everyone accepts them. I want to challenge this assumption.

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