Steve Sekula, a teacher, writes of The compulsion to tell tales of faith in his blog, The Adventures of My Pet Hamster:
This semester, I am teaching a course designed to educate students about critical thinking and the scientific method. There is an inherent risk in teaching this course. It deals with some difficult scientific questions about matters of spirituality or faith. For instance, what can be said of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin? Are all psychics actually possessive of supernatural power, or are there more natural explanations for their abilities (such as cold reading or other forms of deceit)? Are faith healers, a kind of psychic or medium, actually performing miracles? (emphasis mine)
How do you avoid poisoning the well with paragraphs like this? This is a good article dealing with a tough problem.
Why do I mentioned all of this? When you confront students with the fraud – essentially, when you pull back the curtain and reveal the man who is behind the Great and Powerful Oz – they have many kinds of reactions. Some feel that their skepticism in the supernatural is confirmed by seeing how the fraud is committed. Others find this to be a challenge to their faith, a walk into uncomfortable territory that we as professors should not be allowed to take.
I hope when he discusses the shroud that he is open to possibilities.