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A Field Guide to Critical Thinking

James Lett

There are many reasons for the popularity of paranormal beliefs in the United
States today, including:

1.   the irresponsibility of the mass media, who exploit the public taste for

2.   the irrationality of the American world-view, which supports such
     unsupportable claims as life after death and the efficacy of the
     polygraph, and

3.   the ineffectiveness of public education, which generally fails to teach
     students the essential skills of critical thinking. As a college
     professor, I am especially concerned with this third problem. Most of
     the freshman and sophomore students in my classes simply do not know how
     to draw reasonable conclusions from the evidence. At most, they've been
     taught in high school what to think; few of them know how to think.

In an attempt to remedy this problem at my college, I've developed an
elective course called "Anthropology and the Paranormal." The course examines
the complete range of paranormal beliefs in contemporary American culture,
from precognition and psychokinesis to channeling and cryptozoology and

[406 lines left ... full text available at <url:http://www.reference.com/cgi-bin/pn/go?choice=message&table=04_1997&mid=3495193&hilit=CONSPIRACY+MEDIA> ]

Article-ID: 04_1997&3472930
Score: 78
Subject: Kathy Tries to Turn Tables - But Fails Miserably