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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

Dr. Robert Park

From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, why has superstition become so pervasive in an age of science? Robert Park, the University of Maryland physics professor and the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science is the only way we have of understanding the world. In this lecture based on his new book, Park discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people’s blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves.

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