Forum Discussion What is the Harm F 3.1: Why do we believe? Why do some people have paranormal beliefs, while others are disbelievers or ambivalent? Find
Forum Discussion What is the Harm F 3.1: Why do we believe?
Why do some people have paranormal beliefs, while others are disbelievers or ambivalent? Find a friend or relative who is willing to talk about their paranormal or supernatural beliefs. (Alternatively, you can simply discuss your personal responses.) Ask they if they are willing to answer a few simple questions. Use this script:
Hi! I’m interviewing some people for a class I am taking on the paranormal. This is not an experiment. Nearly everyone has a paranormal or supernatural belief. I’m trying to find out why people have their beliefs. What’s your paranormal or supernatural belief? You may pick one from this list:
Acupuncture and other Oriental treatments can cure through an invisible and mysterious energy field.
Angels are literally real
Communicating with the dead
Flying saucers from other planets have visited Earth.
Fortune-telling and seeing into the future
Ghosts and haunted houses
Prayer can heal people from a great distance, even when they don’tknow they’re being prayed for
Psychic mind-reading and extrasensory perception
Reincarnation and past lives
Then give your person the Belief Justification Survey (p. 262 in your text)
Your assignment is to discuss your person’s (or your) responses. What are the 4-8 main reasons you person (or you) hives for accepting their chosen paranormal/supernatural claim? How do your results compare with what is presented in the box “Why Do You Believe” and the information in Appendix A? ((p. 255). KEEP YOUR PERSON’S IDENTITY SECRET! RESPECT CONFIDENTIALITY. DO NOT JUDGE THIS PERSON AS “RIGHT” OR “WRONG.” SIMPLY REPORT WHAT AND WHY YOUR PERSON BELIEVES. SIMPLY REFER TO YOUR PERSON AS “MY SUBJECT” RATHER THAN “MY WIFE, LOVER, CHILD, PET, etc.).
WRONG: “My subject is Jonathan C. Smith, an aging professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago (430 S. Michigan Ave.) He is a paranormal nut. He believes in smearing wet moss over his head because he thinks it grows hair. The reason he believes in this form of herbal medicine is that he saw a TV show on it once. This is an example of support through sources (mass media). Stupid!”
BETTER: “My subject is a professor who believes in smearing wet moss over his head because he thinks it grows hair. The reason he believes in this form of herbal medicine is that he saw a TV show on it once. This is an example of supporting a claim through sources (mass media).”
Post to reply:
RS: My subject is a friend and massage therapist who believes in herbal medicines of several types from using essential oils to cure ailments to using herbs instead of certain medications (she would like to note, not ALL medications. For example, she uses banana tablets instead of Tums for an antacid because “natural is better” but does use antibiotics when necessary). According to the Belief Justification Survey, she believes in herbal remedies equally for several reasons. She scored a 4 in PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OR INTUITION, ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE, AND TEST OF TIME. She also scored a 3 in several areas, FAITH AND RELIGION, FAMILY AND CULTURE, MEDIA, POPULAR WITNESS AND CONSPIRACY THEORY.
Having gone to massage therapy school over 20 years ago, I can see how my friend would be more open to “natural” remedies. She studied homeopathy and has been certified in reiki so one can’t really fault her for believing in these as scientifically based, given the legitimate seeming training that is out there these days. Though it may still be mainly based on INTUITIVE rather than CRITICAL THINKING, it has stood the TEST OF TIME.
KG: This week, spoke with a young adult female about her belief that it is possible to know when others have had something very positive or very negative happen to them, without learning about it through normal means (ESP). Using the BELIEF JUSTIFICATION SURVEY my participant noted she believed “very much” (level 4) in ESP. Before reading the individual questions to measure why she believes, she offered her own, candid justifications. She noted that she has had this happen to her on numerous occasions (PERSONAL EXPERIENCE), and she feels that science is not advanced enough to be able to detect this (ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE).
The results of the BELIEF JUSTIFICATION SURVEY After taking the survey the results indicate her top BELIEF JUSTIFICATION to be PERSONAL EXPERIENCE/INTUITION, with a score of 4. This means she indicated she believes “very much” to the following:
2. “This is something I have personally experienced” (4)
15. “ This is true because it just feels right” (4)
22. “This fits what my intuition tells me” (4)
Her second highest score was ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE with a score of 3.67. In this section she indicated the following:
4. “This shows there’s a lot science doesn’t know about the world.” (4)
11. “This is real because there is no science against it.” (3)
24. “This is a mysterious truth science can’t explain.” (4)
I find that her results fit in well with the research findings from Borgogna and Smith located indicated in APPENDIX A. My participant’s top reason for believing (PERSONAL EXPERIENCE/INTUITION) is the largest primary predictor of the level of belief (34%). Her second highest reason for believing (ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE) is also listed in the top predictors of the level of belief.
It is interesting to consider that her strong level of belief in ESP would place her as an outlier when compared to the research results in TABLE 3.2. This table shows that a predominant number of those who believe in ESP are more likely to indicate a 2 (believe a little) or 3 (believe somewhat). These OPEN-MINDED QUESTIONERS account for 76.2% of this group. However, those with a level 4 belief only account for 7.1%.
F 3.2: WHAT’S THE HARM?
Check out the website “What’s the Harm?” among the required readings. http://whatstheharm.net/
Select a paranormal claim from those on the list.Describe what you think are the most serious potential harms of this claim.Search websites promoting the claim you selected.Which “Path of Closed-Mindedness” is at times displayed by proponents of your claim.200 words. Purchase answer to see full