History Main / SkepticismFailure

16th Dec '16 8:15:34 AM Upgrader
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** ZigZagged with season 4's ''The Hero in the Hold''. Throughout the episode, Booth escapes imprisonment in a Navy ship while seeing and hearing the ghost of a dead friend. InUniverse, this trope is {{Subverted}}, since all hints of supernatural activity are explained away by Brennan in a later episode as side effects of Booth's brain tumor. [[spoiler: Save for the fact that several of the doors in the Navy ship required two people to be opened, and that she unknowingly saw the same ghost at the end of the episode.]]

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** ZigZagged with season 4's ''The Hero in the Hold''. Throughout the episode, Booth escapes imprisonment in a Navy ship while seeing and hearing the ghost of a dead war friend. InUniverse, this trope is {{Subverted}}, since all hints of supernatural activity are explained away by Brennan in a later episode as side effects of Booth's brain tumor. [[spoiler: Save for the fact that several of the doors in the Navy ship required two people to be opened, and that she unknowingly saw the same ghost at the end of the episode.]]



** ''The Shot in the Dark'' has Brennan being shot. While in the real world she's unconscious in a hospital bed, Brennan goes to an imaginary version of her childhood home with her long-dead mother inside. Brennan rationalizes that this is her brain hallucinating. [[spoiler: Except her mother's "hallucination" tells her that she knew her father's first gift to her was stolen. In the real world, Max confirms this and claims he never told anyone about it.]]

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*** Actually, any episode with Avalon in it can count as this.
** ''The Shot in the Dark'' has Brennan being shot. While in the real world she's unconscious in a hospital bed, Brennan goes to an imaginary version of her childhood home with her long-dead mother inside. Brennan doesn't believe in an afterlife and rationalizes that this is her brain hallucinating. [[spoiler: Except her mother's "hallucination" tells her that she knew her father's first gift to her was stolen. In the real world, Max confirms this and claims he never told anyone about it.]]
7th Dec '16 8:03:23 PM Upgrader
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* ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** Subverted in one episode, since the hints of supernatural activity (the ghost seen by Booth) was ultimately explained by a brain tumor. [[spoiler: Save for the fact that Bones saw the same ghost.]]
** Played straight in the season 5 premiere with the psychic who locates a mass grave. By the end of the episode, even Bones, the AgentScully of the cast, is a believer.

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* ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
''Series/{{Bones}}'': For a show that usually promotes basing everything on cold-hard science and facts and mocks the very concept of the supernatural, there are several hints that despite the main character's skepticism, there is actually something to it.
** Subverted ZigZagged with season 4's ''The Hero in one the Hold''. Throughout the episode, Booth escapes imprisonment in a Navy ship while seeing and hearing the ghost of a dead friend. InUniverse, this trope is {{Subverted}}, since the all hints of supernatural activity (the ghost seen by Booth) was ultimately are explained away by Brennan in a later episode as side effects of Booth's brain tumor. [[spoiler: Save for the fact that Bones several of the doors in the Navy ship required two people to be opened, and that she unknowingly saw the same ghost.ghost at the end of the episode.]]
** Played straight in In the season 5 premiere with the ''Harbingers in a Fountain'', Angela's psychic who friend Avalon Harmonia locates a mass grave. By the end of the episode, even Bones, the AgentScully of the cast, is a believer.believer.
** The entirety of ''The Ghost in the Machine'' is seen from the point of view of the VictimOfTheWeek's spirit, trapped inside the skull.
** ''The Shot in the Dark'' has Brennan being shot. While in the real world she's unconscious in a hospital bed, Brennan goes to an imaginary version of her childhood home with her long-dead mother inside. Brennan rationalizes that this is her brain hallucinating. [[spoiler: Except her mother's "hallucination" tells her that she knew her father's first gift to her was stolen. In the real world, Max confirms this and claims he never told anyone about it.]]
2nd Nov '16 6:19:27 PM Fireblood
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** The coming of the prequels makes this somewhat strange, as Han is old enough to remember a time before the Empire when Jedi were pretty common sights, making him more similar to a {{flat earth atheist}}. Some [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] material says the Republic has a million inhabited worlds but only a few thousand Jedi so most people have only heard stories, making this skepticism ''somewhat'' more justifiable, but only just.
** In ''Film/StarWarsTheForceAwakens'', Han makes a point of saying everything Finn and Rey have heard of the Force is true.

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** The coming of the prequels makes this somewhat strange, as Han is old enough to remember a time before the Empire when Jedi were pretty common sights, making him more similar to a {{flat earth atheist}}. Some [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] material says the Republic has a million inhabited worlds but only a few thousand Jedi so most people have only heard stories, making this skepticism ''somewhat'' more justifiable, but only just.
** In ''Film/StarWarsTheForceAwakens'', Han makes a point of saying everything Finn and Rey have heard of the Force is true."all true".
2nd Nov '16 6:17:46 PM Fireblood
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* ''Film/StarWars'':
** Han Solo is a good example, as he ridicules the Force at first and later comes to believe in it and respect it.
-->'''Han''': Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen ''anything'' to make me believe there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
** The coming of the prequels makes this somewhat strange, as Han is old enough to remember a time before the Empire when Jedi were pretty common sights, making him more similar to a {{flat earth atheist}}. Some [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] material says the Republic has a million inhabited worlds but only a few thousand Jedi so most people have only heard stories, making this skepticism ''somewhat'' more justifiable, but only just.
** In ''Film/StarWarsTheForceAwakens'', Han makes a point of saying everything Finn and Rey have heard of the Force is true.
4th Oct '16 11:21:53 PM Fireblood
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** Subverted in the episode "Humbug" when Scully explains that she saw the killer, and what he was, but the local sheriff makes fun of her outlandish story (which the viewer knows happens to be true). Mulder, who had been skeptical of her theory himself, walks by and comments, "Now you know how I feel."

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** Subverted in the episode "Humbug" when Scully explains that she saw the killer, and what he was, but the local sheriff makes fun of her outlandish story (which the viewer knows happens to be true). Mulder, who had been skeptical of her theory himself, walks by and comments, comments "Now you know how I feel."



** There was also an episode where a psychic got killed because she managed to divine the place a murder victim's body had been hidden, and the villain heard of this. In the end of the episode it was revealed that she had no supernatural knowledge, and her assessment of the victim's soul's current location (She is in "Summer''land''") got misheard as "Summer''lin''" (a Vegas suburb), which was the area the body was hidden.

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** There was also an episode where a psychic got killed because she managed to divine the place a murder victim's body had been hidden, and the villain heard of this. In the end of the episode it was revealed that she had no supernatural knowledge, and her assessment of the victim's soul's current location (She (she is in "Summer''land''") got misheard as "Summer''lin''" (a Vegas suburb), which was the area the body was hidden.



* ''Series/TheMentalist'' is an interesting inversion of this: the main character, Patrick Jane, is a former TV psychic (and [[PhonyPsychic admitted fraud]]) who gave up that line of work after his insulting "psychic reading" of a serial killer wound up [[DeathByOriginStory getting his family killed]]. The skills he picked up while faking psychic powers (a [[HyperAwareness keen sense of observation]] and a good understanding of human nature) turn out to be quite useful for police work, though...

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* ''Series/TheMentalist'' is an interesting inversion of this: the main character, Patrick Jane, is a former TV psychic (and [[PhonyPsychic admitted fraud]]) who gave up that line of work after his insulting "psychic reading" of a serial killer wound up [[DeathByOriginStory getting his family killed]]. The skills he picked up while faking psychic powers (a [[HyperAwareness keen sense of observation]] and a good understanding of human nature) turn out to be quite useful for police work, though... He's strongly opposed to psychic claims because of this.



* Averting this trope is a key theme of ''Series/JonathanCreek.'' No matter how 'impossible' the event in question, Jonathan never entertains the possibility of a supernatural cause, and he is always right. Many of the perpetrators of the deliberate crimes/cons (as opposed to the accidental events) actually ''rely'' on SkepticismFailure to cover their tracks, but as Jonathan often points out, falling back on 'magic' is what most people do because they don't like to believe they can be so easily fooled by a trick (he's a designer of magic tricks, he would know better than most.) Additionally, unlike many procedurals/detective programs that tease at the supernatural, the show ''never'' suggested that it might be real at any point in its five season run.

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* Averting this trope is a key theme of ''Series/JonathanCreek.'' No matter how 'impossible' the event in question, Jonathan never entertains the possibility of a supernatural cause, and he is always right. Many of the perpetrators of the deliberate crimes/cons (as opposed to the accidental events) actually ''rely'' on SkepticismFailure to cover their tracks, but as Jonathan often points out, falling back on 'magic' is what most people do because they don't like to believe they can be so easily fooled by a trick (he's (as he's a designer of magic tricks, he would know better than most.) Additionally, unlike many procedurals/detective programs that tease at the supernatural, the show ''never'' suggested that it might be real at any point in its five season run.
23rd Aug '16 3:07:44 AM Sinister_Sandwich
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Added DiffLines:

* Averting this trope is a key theme of ''Series/JonathanCreek.'' No matter how 'impossible' the event in question, Jonathan never entertains the possibility of a supernatural cause, and he is always right. Many of the perpetrators of the deliberate crimes/cons (as opposed to the accidental events) actually ''rely'' on SkepticismFailure to cover their tracks, but as Jonathan often points out, falling back on 'magic' is what most people do because they don't like to believe they can be so easily fooled by a trick (he's a designer of magic tricks, he would know better than most.) Additionally, unlike many procedurals/detective programs that tease at the supernatural, the show ''never'' suggested that it might be real at any point in its five season run.
18th Aug '16 5:18:58 PM Fireblood
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* Brian from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is a FlatEarthAtheist, and the show seems to agree with him... which would hold more water if Brian hadn't met God and Jesus personally, and that Peter has died and met Death several times. Of course, the God and Jesus he runs into bear little resemblance to the religious figures beyond outfit and name. Then again, they're still shown to have genuine miraculous powers, and Brian never states that they ''aren't'' who they appear to be. Actually, he never comments on them at all, one way or the other.

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* Brian from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is a FlatEarthAtheist, and the show seems to agree with him... which would hold more water if Brian hadn't met God and Jesus personally, and that Peter has hasn't died and met Death several times. Of course, the God and Jesus he runs into bear little resemblance to the religious figures beyond outfit and name. Then again, they're still shown to have genuine miraculous powers, and Brian never states that they ''aren't'' who they appear to be. Actually, he never comments on them at all, one way or the other.



** In one episode of the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.

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** In one episode of the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.



** Played straight in a later episode when Shawn, Gus, and another guy go to a psychic while following a dead man's last few hours. After the psychic somehow manages to guess the bizarre idea in [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Shawn's]] head they tell her that the man she talked to the previous day was dead causing her to freak out and [[OohMeAccentsSlipping drops the Romanian accent]]. However, before the guys leave she looks at Shawn and Gus's friend and draws the Death Tarot card. Said friend is dead by the next commercial break.

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** Played straight in a later episode when Shawn, Gus, and another guy go to a psychic while following a dead man's last few hours. After the psychic somehow manages to guess the bizarre idea in [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Shawn's]] head they tell her that the man she talked to the previous day was dead dead, causing her to freak out and [[OohMeAccentsSlipping drops drop the Romanian accent]]. However, before the guys leave she looks at Shawn and Gus's friend and draws the Death Tarot card. Said friend is dead by the next commercial break.
18th Aug '16 5:03:06 PM Fireblood
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* ''Series/ZeroHour'': Hank is not only a skeptic, he publishes ''Modern Skeptic'' magazine, and of course his doubt toward conspiracy theories quickly gets disproven when he encounters a real one in the show. This appears to be the only reason he begins as a professional skeptic, with a dramatic contrast.
2nd Jul '16 9:03:47 AM lavendermintrose
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* In {{anime}}, ghosts are a fact of life. Whoever doubts it will be proven wrong before the end of the episode. The only major exceptions are detective series, which are full of fake ghosts, and series where there's one type of supernatural creature as a premise of the show, and the "ghost" is one of those in disguise.
** Anime in general holds this trope up due to the underlying Shinto belief system, which has multiple gods and magic forces. In nearly all anime/manga/games, when an event can be attributed to the supernatural, it is rarely questioned due to this cultural system. However, there are exceptions...
30th Mar '16 7:36:24 AM Morgenthaler
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** Almost this [[RecycledScript exact same story]] appears in an episode of ''Series/NowAndAgain'', an ill-fated science fiction series from the late 90's about a man who was rebuilt out of spare body parts by the government.

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** * Almost this [[RecycledScript exact same story]] appears in an episode of ''Series/NowAndAgain'', an ill-fated science fiction series from the late 90's about a man who was rebuilt out of spare body parts by the government.



** It's because on Lost's island, there are many things that are crazier than the button. It's a case of [[IfJesusThenAliens If Jesus, Zombies, Bigfoot, Unicorns, Flying Pigs, Tap-Dancing Cutlery And Psychic Hamburgers, Then Aliens.]]



* Seen in an episode of ''Series/{{NUMB3RS}}'' where Charlie scoffs at a psychic who's brought in to work on a case; Charlie is treated as the unreasonable one, surprisingly for a show that focuses on math and logic in solving crimes.
** He returns in a later episode. And like the CSI example above, by the end of the episode, he's dead, and everyone wonders if he was the real deal.
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'' [[strike:claims]] revolves around how God works in mysterious ways even when you don't believe it.
** In one episode, God (represented or channeled by the main character) is "put on trial," but the opposing counsel falls victim to fallacious reasoning, both committing fallacies in his own arguments and being (especially for a trained lawyer) overly credulous of the opposition's reasoning. This in effect sets up the prosecuting attorney as a [[TheWarOnStraw Strawman]] for the defendant.
* Played straight in virtually every episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' -- in fact, it's the ''raison d'être'' for AgentScully, who remains skeptical of AgentMulder's explanations throughout the series, [[ArbitrarySkepticism despite the number of times Mulder is proved correct]]. However, after Mulder left the series, AgentScully then became increasingly written as the more eager believer, with the newcomer to doubt ''her''.

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* Seen in an episode of ''Series/{{NUMB3RS}}'' where Charlie scoffs at a psychic who's brought in to work on a case; Charlie is treated as the unreasonable one, surprisingly for a show that focuses on math and logic in solving crimes.
**
crimes. He returns in a later episode. And like the CSI example above, by the end of the episode, episode he's dead, dead and everyone wonders if he was the real deal.
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'' [[strike:claims]] revolves around how God works in mysterious ways even when you don't believe it.
**
it. In one episode, God (represented or channeled by the main character) is "put on trial," but the opposing counsel falls victim to fallacious reasoning, both committing fallacies in his own arguments and being (especially for a trained lawyer) overly credulous of the opposition's reasoning. This in effect sets up the prosecuting attorney as a [[TheWarOnStraw Strawman]] for the defendant.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
**
Played straight in virtually every episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' -- in fact, it's the ''raison d'être'' for AgentScully, who remains skeptical of AgentMulder's explanations throughout the series, [[ArbitrarySkepticism despite the number of times Mulder is proved correct]]. However, after Mulder left the series, AgentScully then became increasingly written as the more eager believer, with the newcomer to doubt ''her''.



** The Episode's title is ''Angel of Death.''



* ''Series/TheBill'' had an episode called "Haunted" in which police officers on a stake-out in an allegedly haunted building recounted spooky but just-about-plausible things that happened to them (a lost girl with uncanny similarities to a murder victim; a woman who dies at the around same time as her psychotic and jealous husband, who left a message on her machine saying "I need you with me"), before ending with DS Stanton (the AgentScully) quite definitely encountering a ghost.

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* ''Series/TheBill'' had ''Series/TheBill'':
** There's
an episode called "Haunted" in which police officers on a stake-out in an allegedly haunted building recounted spooky but just-about-plausible things that happened to them (a lost girl with uncanny similarities to a murder victim; a woman who dies at the around same time as her psychotic and jealous husband, who left a message on her machine saying "I need you with me"), before ending with DS Stanton (the AgentScully) quite definitely encountering a ghost.



* In the ''Series/QuantumLeap'' episode "A Portrait for Troian," Sam Beckett leaps into a paranormal investigator. Over the course of the episode, he plays the skeptic regarding the existence of ghosts, and Al plays the believer. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler: he has proven the primary haunting is a hoax, but then discovers that one of the secondary characters was a ghost all along. This is enforced with a shot of the ghost vanishing.]]

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* ''Series/QuantumLeap'':
**
In the ''Series/QuantumLeap'' episode "A Portrait for Troian," Sam Beckett leaps into a paranormal investigator. Over the course of the episode, he plays the skeptic regarding the existence of ghosts, and Al plays the believer. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler: he has proven the primary haunting is a hoax, but then discovers that one of the secondary characters was a ghost all along. This is enforced with a shot of the ghost vanishing.]]



* In the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "He's Dead, She's Dead" a psychic is murdered, and supposedly leaves a letter about her own murder for the police. Beckett is skeptical while Castle believes it wholeheartedly. In the end of the episode, everything is wrapped up, except for one tiny point in the letter that Castle reminds Beckett of that seems to indicate the letter actually was from the psychic, proving her amazing PsychicPowers.

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* ''Series/{{Castle}}'':
**
In the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "He's Dead, She's Dead" a psychic is murdered, and supposedly leaves a letter about her own murder for the police. Beckett is skeptical while Castle believes it wholeheartedly. In the end of the episode, everything is wrapped up, except for one tiny point in the letter that Castle reminds Beckett of that seems to indicate the letter actually was from the psychic, proving her amazing PsychicPowers.



*** [[spoiler: Some of the 'bad luck' was ''deliberately caused'' by Beckett, Esposito and Ryan to freak Castle out. It is also just plain bad luck combined with a bit of self fulfilling prophecy. At the end of the episode, after the curse had been supposedly lifted, he still manages to cut himself with a kitchen knife.]]



** That's definitely an instance of MaybeMagicMaybeMundane, though, as it could easily have been a coincidence. Water is a ''very'' recurring element for {{Phony Psychic}}s.



** However, it's entirely possible that your character could have been drugged during the fight as voodoo practitioners allegedly use drugs to convince people what they're seeing is real, etc, and your character had already been doped at least once earlier in the game.



* You wouldn't expect an exception in a series that's all about wizards, but ''Literature/HarryPotter'' nonetheless has Hermione Granger utterly unconvinced by any of Trelawney's predictions or the Lovegoods' beliefs in creatures that, even by ''Harry Potter'' standards, are bizarre. The only correct Trelawney predictions are the ones Hermione doesn't hear in the first place, and the Lovegoods are right about exactly one thing the heroes didn't already know about ([[spoiler:the Deathly Hallows]]).
** Harry Potter is an interesting case, because Hermione is technically right, the evidence for these theories is ridiculously slim. Heck, one is a children's fable, which nobody believes. At the same time, she is Muggle-born, so she must realize that according to most Muggles, the last 6 years of her life couldn't have happened, and they'd view her as hallucinating or lying if she told them.
*** Another example is when Harry reasons out his entire family tree, concluding that he's descended from a legendary trio of wizards. Hermione and Ron both think he's losing it. Granted, he was over-eager in his explanation, which was sort of hard to follow. But it was a sound argument nonetheless.

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* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
**
You wouldn't expect an exception in a series that's all about wizards, but ''Literature/HarryPotter'' nonetheless has Hermione Granger is utterly unconvinced by any of Trelawney's predictions or the Lovegoods' beliefs in creatures that, even by ''Harry Potter'' standards, are bizarre. The only correct Trelawney predictions are the ones Hermione doesn't hear in the first place, and the Lovegoods are right about exactly one thing the heroes didn't already know about ([[spoiler:the Deathly Hallows]]).
** Harry Potter is an interesting case, because Hermione is technically right, the evidence for these theories is ridiculously slim. Heck, one is a children's fable, which nobody believes. At the same time, she is Muggle-born, so she must realize that according to most Muggles, the last 6 years of her life couldn't have happened, and they'd view her as hallucinating or lying if she told them.
*** Another example is when
Harry reasons out his entire family tree, concluding that he's descended from a legendary trio of wizards. Hermione and Ron both think he's losing it. Granted, he was over-eager in his explanation, which was sort of hard to follow. But it was a sound argument nonetheless.



* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' where one investigator's firm belief in spontaneous human combustion -- as both a phenomenon and the solution to a case -- is debunked by a scientific experiment they conduct.

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* ''Series/{{CSI}}'':
**
Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' where one investigator's firm belief in spontaneous human combustion -- as both a phenomenon and the solution to a case -- is debunked by a scientific experiment they conduct.



* In one episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.
** ''House'' also had a patient who, ironically, was a Christian faith healer. House's adamant belief that the guy was a fraud (while the rest of the protagonists went from skepticism to doubt) turned out to be the key to identifying his disease.

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* ''Series/{{House}}'': It's something that recurs with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
**
In one episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.
** ''House'' also had There was a patient who, ironically, was a Christian faith healer. House's adamant belief that the guy was a fraud (while the rest of the protagonists went from skepticism to doubt) turned out to be the key to identifying his disease.



** Really, that's something that recurs in ''House'' with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
*** There is an exception here; one patient comes in with a hallucination of Jesus (very vivid) and a host of other symptoms. The solution is found by ignoring the hallucination as a symptom, leaving the patient (a priest who had lost his faith) to believe it was divine intervention.

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** Really, that's something that recurs in ''House'' with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
***
There is an exception here; one patient comes in with a hallucination of Jesus (very vivid) and a host of other symptoms. The solution is found by ignoring the hallucination as a symptom, leaving the patient (a priest who had lost his faith) to believe it was divine intervention.



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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SkepticismFailure