[ASC-media] Media Release: Journey into the unknown

Anthony Coates a.coates at mailbox.gu.edu.au
Thu Feb 20 09:37:05 EST 2003


Journey into the unknown

Mind-reading, ghosts and Unidentified Flying Objects will be under scrutiny
this year when Griffith University science students put on their Mulder and
Scully hats to study the paranormal.

The University has started a new subject called "Skepticism, Science and
the Paranormal" which gives students the opportunity to study the areas of
science made famous by shows such as The X-Files and The Twilight Zone.

The subject was designed by Griffith School of Science Senior Lecturer Dr
Martin Bridgstock and is an elective within the Bachelor of Science degree,
however all Griffith students are able to study the subject.

Dr Bridgstock said he established the subject because he was impressed by
the large number of people he came across who believed in the paranormal.

"In establishing the subject, we looked at opinion polls showing that a
majority of the population believes in psychic healing, and substantial
minorities in astrology, mind-reading, UFOs and ghosts," Dr Bridgstock

"The subject doesn't take a position on whether the paranormal exists.
Instead, the aim is to understand what the paranormal is all about and
develop skills in deciding what to accept and what to reject. That is far
more valuable than telling students what to believe."

Dr Bridgstock said the subject would assist students to develop evaluation
skills which would be valuable in many aspects of scientific research as
well as in their everyday lives.

"It's important to be able to locate relevant information, make sense of it
and come to a considered conclusion.  Since knowledge becomes out of date
so fast, these skills are vital for people today."

And does Dr Bridgstock believe in the paranormal?

"Personally, I'm a moderate skeptic. That means that I haven't seen
anything to convince me yet, but I think it's important to keep an open
mind on these topics."

Dr Martin Bridgstock - 07 3345 1043 (Thursday 20/2) or 07 3875 7549 (Friday
Anthony Coates (Communications Officer) - 07 5552 8654 or 0419 649 516 or
A.Coates at griffith.edu.au

Anthony Coates
Communications Officer
External Relations
Queensland, Australia

Tel: +61 (0)7 5552 8654
Fax: +61 (0)7 5552 8517
Mob: 0419 649 516
A.Coates at griffith.edu.au

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