Every few months or so, a mainstream scientific magazine or journal will publish a mocking, derogatory article that asks why people still believe in the paranormal, UFOs, and conspiracies, or any other field of knowledge that hasn’t received the official sanction of the government, the media and the scientific priesthood. The writers of these articles - and their fawning sycophants in the comments sections - take great pleasure in asserting their intellectual superiority over those who don’t subscribe to the dictates of materialist science, which has become the new state religion.
These days the popular strategy among academics is to psychologize interest in the paranormal. In other words, to dismiss it as the fevered speculations of those who are too narcissistic and delusional to realize they need therapy, and pronto.
A good example of this is a study discussed in a recent edition of Scientific American, which was spnsored by a pair of psychologists at the University of Toulouse in France. In this case that’s ‘Toulouse’ as in ‘too loose with the truth’ and ‘too loose with the facts.’
These two geniuses set out to prove their thesis that believers in the paranormal were more likely to be “intuitive” thinkers, while skeptics and non-believers could be placed in the “reflective” category. In fact every single human being relies on both reflection and intuition, but these jokers wanted to show that people who leaned intuitive were prone to conclusion jumping.
And to no one’s surprise they accomplished their mission. They found study participants who accepted vague horoscopes and rigged laboratory test for ESP as genuine tested out as intuitive rather than reflective. And naturally the opposite was true for skeptics. Based on this, we are supposed to conclude that paranormal beliefs are always false and should be abandoned for all time. Anyone who refuses to do so is clearly a dolt and beneath contempt.
But research like this tell us absolutely nothing about the ideas of paranormal researchers who’ve collected mountains of data to support their hypotheses, basing their advocacy on numerous scientific studies, tons of eyewitness testimony, ample film and audio evidence and their own personal experiences. Nor does it tell us anything about those of us who take the paranormal seriously precisely because they are aware of this evidence – which includes the majority of paranormal aficionados.
Paranormal Enthusiasts to Materialist Scientists: “Psychologize This!”
The psychologizing of belief in the paranormal is lame and logically incoherent. If we are going to dismiss people’s beliefs based on psychological tendencies we should hold everyone to the same standard, including debunkers and skeptics whose egos prevent them from acknowledging the limitations of their understanding.
The paranormal has more than its share of flakes and crazies. But so does establishment science (we’re looking at you, Richard Dawkins), along with every other ideology or interest group known to man. Our views on reality may open or close our minds to controversial subject matter, but that is a trivial observation that does little to help us separate truth from fiction.