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The College Myth / The Paranormal & Religion

Date Tuesday - February 5, 2019
Host George Noory
Guests Bryan CaplanScott S. Smith

In the first half, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Bryan Caplan, argued that much schooling and public support for college education is astonishingly wasteful, if not counterproductive. He cited the issue of "credential inflation" where people need a Bachelor's degree, or even a Masters or a Ph.D. for jobs that previously didn't require them. Most practical learning takes place on the job rather than in a classroom, he noted, and people could be getting an earlier start instead of spending years in college. So much of the payoff for college is being able to finish and get the degree, he cited, so it's particularly useless for those who aren't able to see the program through completion.

A college degree does open up opportunities for many types of employment a person wouldn't be hired for otherwise, he conceded, even if their higher education has little to do with the required skill set. As far as choosing a college curriculum, he recommended economics as a good choice as it can lead to a decent paying career. Trade schools, he added, are greatly underrated, and are especially appropriate for those who don't excel in academics. We should also look at models from other countries, said Caplan, where kids start exploring career options and apprenticeships as young teens.

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In the latter half, author Scott S. Smith discussed his work on bridging the paranormal and religion, messages from supernatural entities, and searching for truth in the debate between atheism and religion. He traced his personal path growing up with Mormonism and then having mystical experiences in 1989, which led him to reject traditional religious approaches and become a soul seeker exploring various ceremonies and rituals around the world, as well as studying the work of parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo. Eventually, Smith adopted the ancient ideas of Gnosticism, which advocates that everyone can have their own direct revelations of God.

He investigated visions of the Virgin Mary, such as at Fatima, saints that were able to levitate, or whose bodies never decomposed after death. While these offer evidence for Catholic doctrine, Smith noted that followers of other religious traditions report supernatural visitations, so one cannot necessarily view a certain religion as the only true one. "There's a greater reality of multiple dimensions...[and] I do believe there are supernatural entities that wish us well," -- you can pray or meditate to them, yet, he added, there are also hostile and neutral entities. He has concluded there is strong evidence for life-after-death, but conversely, he finds the proof for reincarnation and karma to be quite weak.

News segment guests: John M. Curtis, Roger Stone

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Bumper music from Tuesday February 05, 2019

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