"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald
I constantly feel like I have my feet in two different worlds, and sometimes it gets pretty interesting. I am well-versed in the ways and methodologies of science, although I'm far from a scientist. My formal science education includes too many courses to even remember, all the way through the graduate level. I've been taught everything from diagramming cell structures to various theories in physics and advanced statistical analysis techniques. In my science-based education, I've been taught by people who have firmly believed science has answers for everything, as well as those who recognize its acute limits.
At the same time, my schooling involved what intellectual snobs would term "soft" courses. These courses did not couch themselves in the scientific method or reasoning, but instead introduced me to alternative ways of thought. Those courses taught me to become comfortable with ambiguity and complex ideas that I only partially understood and that could not be independently tested.
Now, as a professional, I spend much of my day writing about "concrete" things like science and technology as applied in the real world, plus the ambiguous nature of the paranormal in modern society. Like the quote from Fitzgerald above, I often find myself having discussions and even arguments in my head when it comes to science and the paranormal. It's a complex relationship for me, because I've had too much scientific-based education to genuinely believe that science can answer all of the questions in life. Sure, there are scientists who believe they can, but I view them as no different from religious leaders who claim to be able to do the same.
The more I learn about the world and universe, the less I feel like I really know. It's probably because I keep butting up against areas where my knowledge is limited or even nonexistent, and I'm okay with admitting that. I've also come to the conclusion that same people do not like to dwell on what they don't understand, so they try to categorize such areas as "unimportant" or "garbage" and move on, eliminating that cognitive dissonance from their psyche.
I also genuinely don't understand why some people in the paranormal community have the attitude that everything must be validated through scientific methods. The majority of these people have such an infirm grasp on the scientific method and collection practices that it's almost laughable to see them at work. I suppose they also feel that the only way to genuinely prove something is through the might of science. I question whether science will ever validate the existence of a soul, but for the most part I don't really care. I view science as a tool in a large chest I carry around in my mind, something that is useful for the right jobs.
I don't really blame anyone for thinking that all things paranormal are "bunk" because that's a pretty easy line of thought. Anything we don't understand is easily discarded as pure superstition, but I still think it's lazy thinking. If I hadn't had some of interesting and inexplicable experiences in my own life, I would probably be more apt to think along those lines, though. There have been too many who leverage the paranormal for their own selfish gain, whether it be riches or fame, and that makes me very cautious about believing many purported paranormal events.
I have to admit that oftentimes I've felt guilty for my complex feelings when it comes to anything paranormal. Often I have competing ideas in my own head, but lately I have run into other people who seem to experience the same "problem."