OBJECTIVES for Part 8
In this module, we have 4 objectives:
- We apply our critical thinking techniques to some fun topics: paranormal phenomena, or, as SV say, "weird things."
"Weird things" includes astrology, ghosts, fairies, ESP, psychokinesis, UFO abductions, channeling, dowsing, near-death experiences, prophetic dreams, demon possession, time travel, parapsychology, creationism, crop circles, false memory syndrome, therapeutic touch, and the Roswell "incident."
- We also explore some fascinating topics in the psychology of self-deception.
- We analyze why science provides a model of rational belief-formation.
- Finally, we explore the question: is it ever reasonable to deliberately adopt unreasonable beliefs?
When you finish this module, you should be able to explain what counts as a good reason to believe a claim. You should also be able to explain why NONE of the following constitutes sufficient reason to believe a claim (let's call the claim p):
- "I just know p but I can't say why."
- "I had an extraordinary personal experience that proves to me that p is true."
- "No one has ever disproved p, so it's reasonable to believe it."
- "Any claim is true if I sincerely believe it, and I sincerely believe p."
- "A lot of people believe p, so there must be something to it."
- "I saw a TV program that said p was true, and you can't say something on TV that isn't true."
- "I read a book that said p was true, and everything you read in books is true."
- "Anything is possible, so p might be true." (This "weasel reason" is often combined with the other "reasons" here.)
READINGS for Part 8
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