2022-2023 University Catalog 
    
    Jun 18, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog archived

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HIST 251 - Science and the Supernatural


FDR: HU Humanities Distribution
Credits: 3

In modern - especially late-modern - times, science has become the adjudicator of truth - truth in terms of fact and law-like rationality. The result has been a retreat of the occult, of many superstitions, and the uncovering of fallacies and frauds. Yet large sectors of modern society have remained enamored of the paranormal. Even scientific practitioners themselves, including Nobel Laureates, have kept alive a belief in telepathy, precognition and such-like phenomena. Equally persistent, especially in religious circles, has been the conviction that miracles do happen; and, again, great scientists and medical practitioners have supported these and similar notions. More recently, the study of “wonders” has emerged as a separate field of inquiry: anomalistics. This course explores the fascinating history of the uneasy relationship between science and its contested boundaries where fact and fiction overlap. The recent outbreak of conspiracy theories, facilitated by social media, adds to our topic’s current affairs significance.



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