The Belief Engine Alcock Analysis

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In “The Belief Engine”, Alcock (1951) highlighted the necessity of skepticism by revealing the malfunction of brain activities when making judgments. He indicated that people automatically generate false beliefs and neglect the truthfulness of the issue. In “Occult Beliefs”, Singer and Benassi (1981) suggested that occult beliefs are indestructible; people tend to invent an explanation to satisfy their own beliefs, which relates to Alcock’s proposal of our brains acting as a “belief engine” (Alcock, 1995). The authors in both articles attempted to explain how people invent these “magical thinking” (Alcock, 1995), and why those beliefs outweigh scientific explanations. It is ironic that while scientists try simultaneously to disprove paranormal beliefs, occults actually influence modern psychology. Most scientific experiments have portrayed negative view on occult beliefs, yet those beliefs help develop and create new perspective in different aspects of psychology. Occult …show more content…

Alcock emphasized in his article the importance of skepticism in helping us to “question our experience” (Alcock, 1951) and recognize the truth, scientists’ skeptical approach however yields a slow process made in scientific inquiry. Scientists should always be open-minded and never think that the ultimate solution has been reached. Yet, this creates an image of uncertainty to the public, and as a result, scientific reasoning is unable to diminish people’s certainty in occult beliefs. Moreover, science investigations always involve in endless change; scientists have to constantly abandon past facts and enable new explanations in knowledge when new evidence is presented. This unsteady process leads to supernatural explanations winning people’s acceptance over scientific claims. In addition, even when there is a well-established claim, it became pseudoscience when “evidence is misinterpreted.” (Normand,

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