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paper for anth class

Critique a Paranormal Mystery
Apply the ideas in chapter two the Miles book, as well as skills and concepts we have discussed in class to critique a cultural, paranormal ‘mystery’. Watch an episode of an investigative inquiry into an ‘unexplained phenomenon’. Many series exist which seek to explore these, such as Finding Bigfoot, Ghost Hunters, and Ancient Aliens. Write a critique of the mystery and the techniques used to explore or explain it. The Miles book uses specific points in Chapter 2 for detecting pseudoscience vs science and other ways of knowing the world. We have discussed various principles of science, including basic truisms like ‘the simplest explanation is usually correct’, ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs’, falsifiability as well as psychological processes including expectant attention. We have also discussed various aspects of non-scientific narrative and cultural practices related to the oral tradition and practicality of description in the absence of known cause and effect contingencies. Draw upon these as you consider the claims, the methods of investigation, the style of presentation of ‘facts’ and evidence. What function does the mystery serve (if any)? Are the investigations sufficient and scientifically sound? Based upon what is presented to you, do you regard the mystery solved or do you think other approaches (for example, should Bigfoot be investigated as a cultural or psychological phenomenon rather than a biological one?) would be more useful. If you watch ancient aliens, what information do you feel is left out of the discussion (feel free to search for archeological discussions of the ‘alien’ artifacts or constructs). Make sure you address the following:
1) Identify and briefly describe the program.
2) Use the information in Chapter 2 of Miles and class concepts to critique the content viewed.
3) Provide your conclusions about the mystery based upon what you have seen.
4) Cite your sources using any standard format (APA, MLA, etc.)

You will be graded on addressing all parts of the assignment, attention to detail, clarity of communication in your writing and organization of the paper, application of ideas discussed in class and thoughtfulness. Papers should be roughly 2-3pages, standard font, double space. CITE ALL SOURCES USED.


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