Re: Belief in magic and witchcraft

@#$%!?! (
Wed, 15 Nov 1995 06:41:23 GMT

: perspective. It's hard to believe that educated people still believe
: in this sort of thing as something more than manipulation by subtle
: psychological methods - when I say "witchcraft" I'm referring to

You might find life more interesting if you weren't so eager to
dismiss people because you don't accept their beliefs. And if
you're interested in being _scientific_ about, a certain emotional
detachment and objectivity would help. If your sole purpose is
to bash you disagree with, you're not much better than a bigot.

: Enough educated people believe in this stuff (humanities "scholars" seem
: particularly prone to belief in this sort of thing - must be an aesthetic
: thing -) that there ought to be more written about it.

If you weren't so busy being skeptical, you might discover that
part of the interest in witches is a revival of a mother-goddess
religion, such as conjectured by Gimbuta.

: I'm especially interested in how people convince themselves that
: they can cast death and destruction spells on others successfully - or

At this moment, you've shown so much bias, I'm not sure your
characterisation of spellcasting is even close to reality. Have
you ever talked to someone who claims to this ability?

: in this sort of stuff --- to the point of indulging in it and coming to
: believe they have special powers --- see a shrink on a regular basis or
: have had some contact with mental health professionals in the past.

It is much kinder to lock them in psych unit than gulag, isn't it?
I understand. Tolerance is so difficult. If you can't destroy every
one who disagrees with, good lord, does that mean you might be wrong?
Better to lock them away to face even the tiniest sliver of self

: | "Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and |
: | Xochi Zen religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from |
: | deep nonsense" - Carl Sagan in _Broca's Brain_ |

You should learn to be skeptical about skepticism. Skepticism is not
destroying and trashing and insulting thing different with your own
views. It is about holding judgement in abeyance until sufficient
evidence has been collected. But even then, you should be skeptical
about the nature of "evidence."

I beseech you in your bowels to consider you might be wrong. Or
something like that.

In fearless youth when fervour leapt, | PO Box 1563
he sought the treasures silence kept | Cupertino, California
in chambers chilled where chanting stilled,| (xxx)xxx-xxxx 95015
where bleaching bones were bleakly kept. | I don't use no smileys