Education, scientific knowledge, and belief in the paranormal

Posted on July 23, 2007


Erich Goode had an article in 2002 in the Skeptical Inquirer that it might be worth pursuing further:

Education may not be the antidote to paranormal thinking that some observers imagine. Even scientific knowledge and scientific reasoning correlate inconsistently with paranormalism. Here’s a new look at the relationship between these two seemingly contradictory dimensions.

The basic claims are nothing new. The interesting aspects of the paper are in the details: Goode claims that while “paranormal beliefs that are sustained by a religious tradition bear a negative relationship with education” the correlation fails to be clear-cut for other paranormal beliefs. This, though only indirectly, fits in with the idea that religious superstitions come to succeed or fail along with the religions they are a part of. To see whether this is the case it would have been good if the author also looked at how religious commitment relates to the factors he did look at. But, then, there is always more data that it would be good to have a look at.