Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He recently gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
In “The Mistake of the Machine,” Father Brown tells Flambeau that he has no confidence in the new invention now referred to as “the lie detector.” The priest then proceeds to tell his friend a story that backs up his opinion. It has taken ninety years for the world to catch up with the wisdom of Father Brown on the subject, but in October of 2002, news sources were reporting on the loss of credibility that had finally and officially overtaken the polygraph test and its practitioners. As journalist Steve Chapman reported in a typical news story, “A report issued last week by the National Academy of Sciences recommended that the federal government stop using polygraphs to screen for security risks. Why? Because, in the words of the study, these devices are ‘intrinsically susceptible to producing erroneous results.’ That’s academese for ‘I wouldn’t trust one as far as I could throw it’.” (Washington Times, October 16, 2002).Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList