Nostradamus Lauded. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by James Randi   
nostrodamus

Sunday, October 28th, the History Channel ran a two-part “examination” of the life of Nostradamus. It was interesting to see the treatment of this subject they provided. As with so many of their previous attempts to “examine” history, they played right down the woo-woo alley, titillating viewers and thereby selling products. They spent “safe” time running on about the seer’s alchemical ideas if they had some value in medicine, then the “experts” they interviewed blathered on about the same old nonsense such as Quatrain I-35, in which they rhapsodized about Nostradamus’ prophecy of the death of Henry II of France. That verse most certainly did not apply to that event, one reason being that Nostradamus dedicated the book to Henry, calling him “invincible” and using several other quatrains in the book to foresee a long and eventful reign for the monarch, who died almost as soon as it was published…

The only sensible opinion on the program was provided by Penn & Teller. They were given about 30 seconds to explain the problems with assigning successes in such matters, then the various pro-Nostradamus writers were given full access to viewers, and simply repeated all the standard canards about how the “prophet” contributed so much to our knowledge. Obviously, the producers dropped in P&T as the required token skeptics, then defused them by editing. Surprisingly, none of the book authors who have criticized Nostradamus were included. Oh, wait. I’m the only one who did that…

The “History Channel” is fast becoming the “Woo-Woo Channel.” Just last night, they ran a credulous program on Edgar Cayce that lauded his contributions to society (???) then “Nostradamus: 500 Years Later, and “The Lost Book of Nostradamus” (there was no lost book, only quatrains written by others well after the seer was very dead and after the “predicted” events had already happened) and they have “Monster Quest” coming up. We can imagine how much “Nessie” will be in there, along with “Bigfoot” tales…