unsinkable rubber duck

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined by James Randi, by analogy to the way a rubber duck will pop back up to the surface after being submerged.

Noun[edit]

unsinkable rubber duck (plural unsinkable rubber ducks)

  1. A belief in a supernatural or paranormal phenomenon that people continue to hold, in spite of it being debunked.
    • 2010, Paul Kurtz, Exuberant Skepticism, →ISBN, page 179:
      Indeed, even if they are thoroughly examined and refuted in one age, they seem to reemerge within the next, and people will continue to believe them in spite of evidence to the contrary. This is what I have called the “unsinkable rubber duck” syndrome.
    • 2011, Lawrence R Samuel, Supernatural America: A Cultural History, →ISBN, page 120:
      As a self-proclaimed “spokesman for rationality,” The Skeptical Inquirer documented every major gaffe made by Jeane Dixon (“the unsinkable rubber duck of prophecy”) and took special pleasure debunking SRI's Geller experiments.
    • 2016, Nate Hendley, The Big Con, →ISBN:
      John, this is an unsinkable rubber duck. They're all unsinkable rubber ducks. There's no way we're going to get rid of them, because people don't listen.