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James Lett and Paranormal Belief

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Paranormal Belief Scale
  3. The confirmation bias
  4. Lett's claim's
  5. Conclusion

Paranormal belief is a controversial topic within society and many of its advocates and opponents are both victim to biases in their advocating for or against it. Paranormal belief implies a belief in phenomena that currently cannot be explained by science. These ideas can range from precognition to the belief in life after death or God. Precognition entails the ability to know something before it occurs through extrasensory perceptions. The acceptance of these ideas is rewarding because it allows the believer to have a sense of greater meaning and may also indicate a curiosity within the realm of that which we do not yet understand.

[...] Lett first displays his bias in the reasons he indicated for the popularity of paranormal belief in the United States. I feel these claims are marginalizing and generalizing the way we view the paranormal, the American world-view, and the influence of education and the media. I additionally refute the idea that these are the three main reasons why people believe in the paranormal. The reasons that his agenda highlighted are: The irresponsibility of the mass media, who exploit the public taste for nonsense. [...]

[...] Lett's claim that the public education system fails to teach our children the skills of critical thinking is hardly a reason for belief in the paranormal. Throughout my schooling, the topic of God and religion was relatively taboo, and any talk of it was seemingly rather objective. I acknowledge there must be other schools that are not so objective and have a religious agenda. It could again be a reason for marginalizing your beliefs with a Christian or religious agenda within the educational system, but I feel the educational system is not assuming, as Lett claims, this all- powerful position over our beliefs. [...]

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