Video of my Scientifical Americans talk and a point some people miss

Just added to my videos page is my talk at the National Capital Area Skeptics.

I love the way it’s edited to end with the best question of the talk: What would it take for me to believe in paranormal activity?

But one thing has been bothering me. Several commenters, even those at the talk, seemed to miss a point I tried hard to make: why this is an important topic even for those who think the paranormal is all nonsense.

About half the U.S. population believes in something of a paranormal nature. HALF! That is nothing to ignore. It’s influential in our culture and is an important part of many people’s worldview. That isn’t going to change. It’s a legitimate effort to find out what and why they believe and how that affects our entire society. The way paranormalists use sciencey things to look professional and authoritative to the public is a reflection of how science is valued in our society. But it also reveals how poorly people understand what science is and how it works.

“Being scientifical” is easy and effective. It’s working. People think Ghost Hunters are “scientific”. They seek out these self-styled paranormal “experts” to solve their perceived paranormal problems. The public is buying into those people playing pretend scientist. That is concerning to me.

In today’s climate of baseless information presented daily as “news”, the disregard for legitimate authorities, a national sense of disenfranchisement, and credentials needed only from Googling, it is not pointless to examine matters of worldview, scientific credibility, and modern spirituality. This is an important topic to examine and consider.

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