Science vs the paranormal: Paranormal pursuits play an important role in society by satisfying human needs that are not addressed by mainstream science.

Essay by presidunk October 2002

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The debate of science versus the paranormal has long raged in academic, scientific and social circles. Most of the scientific community has been skeptical about the authenticity and scientific basis of such scientifically inexplicable phenomenon as psychic readings, fortune telling, spoon bending and the seeing of personal auras. Scientists have dismissed these as superstition on the part of people and ways of tapping the gullibility of superstitious people on the part of those who make a living from preaching belief in the paranormal.

Many surveys have been conducted to find out what type of people believes in the paranormal. Results have shown that lower the education level of the people, the more likely they are to have faith in psychic powers and UFO sightings. This could perhaps be explained by the fact that to the common man with high-school level education, scientific thinking does not come easily and naturally.

In solving the mysteries of the universe, the focus of science is to answer the 'how' and not the 'why'. While it can provide a complex explanation about how the planets in the solar system revolve around the sun, it cannot explain why the universe exists in the first place. It is this incapability of science that often makes the common man turn to paranormal beliefs.

Paranormal beliefs have gained popularity in a way that science has never been able to. Movies like 'The Exorcist', 'The Omen' and television shows like 'The X-files' have been lapped up by audiences world wide. The whole attractiveness of paranormal phenomena is, to a large extent, their inexplicability on the basis of science. It is something like the almost universal belief in the existence of God - man needs to believe in something that is more powerful than himself, something that is not in...