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5-7 yrs 8-12 yrs Teens College Teachers Family Skeptical Inquirer

SYLLABI FOR COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY COURSES

Anthropology and the Paranormal

The course critically examines paranormal belief systems in contemporary US society. The course is designed to acquaint students with the discipline of cultural anthropology and with scientific standards of evidential reasoning. Topics to be covered include the entire range of pseudoscience and parapsychology.
[James Lett; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Belief in the Paranormal

The course examines possible root causes as well as the extent and variety of belief in pseudoscience and the paranormal. Readings and discussions on the scientific method and human perception and memory will accompany a critical evaluation of the more popular phenomena within these subjects. Sociological and psychological variables that correlate with paranormal belief will be examined.
[Wayne Messer; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

NEW! Contemporary Hysteria: the Drama of Righteous Gullibility

A course that explores the current hysterical cultural landscape - false memory syndrome, satanic ritual abuse, alien abduction, multiple personality disorder, and more. Students will examine the tens of thousands of cases that can be found in present-day society - discuss the politics involved and the historical perspective of the subject matter - searching for clues that might lead to a responsible comprehension of the whole.
[Gladden Schrock; Bennington College; College Level; on-site resource]

Critical Thinking About the Paranormal

A very well designed syllabus with comprehensive reading guides that accompany Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World. The course serves to teach critical thinking, identify the factors that interfere and contribute to critical thought and apply the tools of science and skepticism in examining paranormal claims.
[Bob Baugher; Highline College; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Geology Confronts Creationism

A seminar course designed to study the geological arguments of Creationism and address them in various ways. The primary focus is to develop written position papers and arguments in several forms and to use those to strengthen the students' understanding of geology and its conceptual foundations. The "web syllabus" is a living document for the course and is expected to change regularly. The site also houses several valuable resources and links.
[Mark Wilson; College of Wooster; College Level; off-site resource]

Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents

A brief course outline is provided here for a class taught by the College of the Arts & Sciences at the University of Indiana. Further material is forthcoming.
[University of Indiana; College Level; off-site resource]

Lost Tribes, Sunken Continents and Ancient Astronauts: "Cult" Archaeology & Creationism

An online course offered by the University of Iowa Anthropology Department about investigating pseudoscience and cult archaeology claims. (Similar course as below)
[University of Iowa; College Level; off-site resource]

Lost Tribes, Sunken Continents and Ancient Astronauts: "Cult" Archaeology & Creationism

A seminar course taught by the University of South Dakota Anthropology Department about investigating pseudoscience and cult archaeology claims. (Similar course as above)
[University of South Dakota; College Level; off-site resource]

Paranormal Phenomena - A Critical Examination

This interdisciplinary course examines the nature of phenomena that are believed, by some, to arise as a result of forces beyond the bounds of accepted science. Through an integration of lectures, discussions, interactive demonstrations, and empirical research, and by combining ideas connected to psychology, biology, astronomy, sociology, religion and philosophy, the evidence of, and explanations for, paranormal phenomena will be critically reviewed.
[Louis Manza; Lebanon Valley College; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Parapsychology and Skeptical Inquiry

The course explores the scientific evidence for various paranormal claims. Topics include extrasensory perception (ESP)/telekinesis, UFOs and alien abductions, astrology, and more. Emphasis is placed on what psychology, cognitive psychology in particular, can tell us about such paranormal topics. The goal of the course is to provide a healthy dose of skepticism that will allow students to ask the critical questions when faced with apparently miraculous paranormal events. Coverage is evenhanded: pro-paranormal materials are used to acquaint students with the beliefs and claims being examined.
[Shaun Vecera; University of Utah; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Perceptions of Science in Western Society

The course is an intensive interdisciplinary writing course in the Languages and Humanities. The course focuses on significant humanities texts in relationship to their historical and cultural contexts. Texts are broadly defined to include written documents, films, works of art, music and performances. The course is concerned with the way in which a given text has a significant relationship to a specific society and milieu, how the text shapes and is shaped by that society and culture, and how the text may later be reinterpreted by succeeding societies and cultures within the contexts of their values and beliefs.
[Sharon MacDonald; Illinois State University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Pseudoscience: Science and Nonsense

The course is designed to sharpen students' critical thinking skills and to deepen their understanding of human belief systems and ethics. These goals are addressed by examining how science operates and by evaluating several extraordinary ideas that claim to be scientific. The class will critically investigate the background and data for such topics as scientific-creationism, ESP, UFOs, fantastic archaeology, dowsing, and much more.
[Dee Anne Wymer; Bloomsburg University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

NEW! Psychology of Anomalous Experience

The course explores the psychology behind unusual and extraordinary experiences that are often labeled as paranormal in nature and used as evidence towards the existence of paranormal and supernatural phenomena.
[James Alcock; York University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Psychology of Consciousness

The course is concerned with the scientific and philosophical analyses of issues that often engage very strongly-held religious, political, and socio-cultural beliefs. One of the course objectives is to show how deeply-held, but often unexamined, assumptions about the nature of mind or consciousness underlie public disputes in a number of hotly debated areas. The course will lay out various positions on the issues and it will take a strong stand on the evidence and arguments associated with them. One of the purposes of the course is to get people on all sides to subject the sources of their beliefs to rigorous scrutiny and criticism. In other words, the course is intended to raise the question, "On what basis do you hold the beliefs you do on these issues?"
[Barry Beyerstein; University of British Columbia; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Psychology of Paranormal Experiences

The course utilizes principles derived from psychological science to understand experiences and beliefs traditionally considered paranormal or occult. The class explores the way family dynamics, social influence process, perceptual illusions, brain functioning, memory distortions, motivation, self-awareness, and personal thinking styles make such experiences an inevitable part of our lives. The class aims to foster an appreciation of the scientific perspective, a better understanding of basic psychological principles, and the development of better thinking skills needed to carefully examine paranormal claims and experiences.
[Gerald Peterson; Saginaw Valley State University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

The Rhetoric of Extraordinary Claim

This course seeks to test belief in the paranormal, pseudoscience and millennialism, through the application of rhetorical analysis and critical thinking to discourse advancing extraordinary claims. Upon completion of the course student should be able to identify extraordinary claims in popular discourse, identify the types of appeals, including forms of reasoning and evidence, used to advance extraordinary claims, assess the strength of rhetoric advancing extraordinary claims, and prepare critical analyses and refutations of such claims.
[Peter Marston; California State University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Science as Method

The purpose of the course is to discuss what science is and is not, as well as several examples of pseudoscientific theories. These include alien abductions, recovered memories, and creationism, among others. The course is organized around an interactive discussion between the faculty and the students (i.e., an inquiry-based method of teaching).
[Massimo Pigliucci, University of Tennesse; College Level; off-site resource]

Science and Pseudoscience

The course provides a careful and critical examination of the evidence and arguments for some highly unusual claims in the popular media. The class will analyze case studies of both reputable science and pseudoscience fields and use the distinguishing characteristics to assist in decision-making.
[David Clevette; Doane College; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Science and Pseudoscience

This course will explore some of the features which distinguish scientific methodology from pseudoscience. Through a variety of readings we will look back at the history of spiritualism, at controversial healing practices old and new, at "creation science," and at other extraordinary claims. This site includes a class calendar with assignments and links to readings and handouts.
[Chip Denman, University of Maryland; College Level; off-site resource]

Science and Pseudo Science in Psychology:
Thinking Critically About Human Behavior

This course is designed to provide students with some of the skills needed to critically evaluate fringe-science, paranormal, and otherwise unusual claims about human behavior that often appear in the popular media. Examples of pseudoscience and questionable science will be drawn from both traditional areas of psychology as well as physiological psychology and neuroscience.
[Scott Lilienfeld; Emory University; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

Science & Pseudoscience Review in Mental Health

Six syllabi from several universities make up this course in teaching about critical thinking and pseudoscience topics related to psychology. The site also provides links, articles, and other related resources.
[Science and Pseudoscience Review Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT); College Level; off-site resource]

Science vs. Pseudoscience

This course begins by reviewing a scientific method of inquiry in which observations or problems suggest hypotheses, hypotheses generate predictions, predictions are checked by experiments, and, when experiments do not bear out predictions, hypotheses are modified or discarded. The method is then be used to evaluate pseudoscience and paranormal claims, such as, ESP and psychokinesis, astral projection, ghosts and spirits, creationism, UFOs and alien abductions, and divination techniques.
[Charles M. Wynn, Sr.; Eastern Connecticut State Univeristy; College Level; educator-submitted; on-site resource]

NEW! Skepticism, Pseudoscience and the Scientific Method

This course is a one-semester course designed to improve critical thinking skills. In particular, it is the goal of this course to encourage students to think of all the ways in which we can be fooled by ourselves and others. Participants learn to understand the ways in which scientists attempt (not always successfully) to discern meaningful patterns from phenomena around us, and not be biased by preconceptions. The course explores several examples of science and pseudoscience and examines the tools of science - including skeptical and critical inquiry.
[Eric Carlson; Wakeforest University; College Level; educator-submitted; on-site resource]

NEW! Social Issues

A first-year course in psychology that provides an excellent overview of all major topics within paranormal and pseudoscientific inquiry. The course outline contains a reading list, separated by topic, that educators will find useful in constructing their own classes and lesson units for the topics explored here.
[Barry Beyerstein; University of British Columbia; College Level; educator submitted; on-site resource]

 

 

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