How can you not love an essay like this? Clare Coffey is a delight to read:
That the movements of the human mind, its bent for narrative and order, might correspond to something real besides raw evolutionary fitness simply does not compute for Brotherton. And once you undersell the capacity of the human mind to know and love the world, you have lost the thread on both conspiracy and cryptozoology. However toxic certain strains are, both are a kind of world-loving. Conspiracy theories obsesses over human history and insist that it can be known, not as a collection of data points and mass social tendencies through time, but on a human-sized stage with real human actors. Cryptozoology taps into a tradition of natural history in which nature is wild, and jealous of her secret oddities. Its amateurism and eagerness towards all phenomena distinguish it from science, but it is precisely in those qualities that its riches lie. It does not assume an enchanted world, precisely, but a world that has never lost its edges, where discovery has never ceded precedence to technical tinkering.