The Myth of Modern Disenchantment

Doug Sikkema at The New Atlantis:

Whichever your take, the narrative abides: Modernity, thus understood, is an age of rationalism, science, and technology that eventually (and inevitably) overcame the mysterious wonders of magic, religion, and superstition. But this story, Josephson-Storm argues, is a myth. Why else, he suggests, would an esteemed scientist like Curie be cavorting with the likes of Palladino?

Part of his evidence comes from recent polls, which show that belief in psychic healing, ghosts, telepathy, witches, reincarnation, and other paranormal phenomena remains remarkably high. According to 2005 Gallup research, seventy-six percent of Americans “profess at least one paranormal belief.” Results from the large Baylor Religion Survey of the same year show that about 80 percent of respondents believe that angels probably or absolutely exist, and about 66 percent in the case of demons.

While these numbers challenge the idea that ours is a disenchanted age, perhaps such beliefs might still be expected among the common folk. Thus Josephson-Storm places in the crosshairs members of the scientific establishment, who we would expect to be right-thinking.

more here.