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U.S. Adults' Fears and Paranormal beliefs:

Chapman University fear survey:

Chapman 1 is a highly rated private institution in Orange County, CA. During 2017-MAY, a team at Chapman conducted an annual "Survey of American Fears." They interviewed 1,207 randomly selected U.S. adults and asked the level of fear that they had concerning about eighty different scary events that might occur in the future. The top ten fears were found to be:

  1. 74%: Corruption by government officials;

  2. 55%: Personal loss of healthcare;

  3. 53%: Pollution of oceans, rivers, and lakes;

  4. 50%: Pollution of drinking water;

  5. 50%: Running out of money in the future;

  6. 48%: High medical bills;

  7. 48%: World War III with involvement by the U.S.; *

  8. 48%: Global warming/Climate change;

  9. 48%: Use of nuclear weapons by North Korea; *

  10. 45%: Air pollution.

The results' margin of error is ~+mn~2.8 percentage points.

* 2017 was the first year where these two fears were among the top 10%.

Environmental fears rose suddenly in 2017 compared with previous years' surveys. They had never been in the top ten fears before. The increase in concern might be related to the Trump Administration's relaxing of many of the environmental policies by the previous Obama Administration, and the plan to withdraw the U.S.from the Paris Climate Accord.

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Some of the less common, interesting fears were:

#12: 44%: Extinction of plant and animal species;

#13: 43%: Terrorist attack;

#23: 39%: Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition;

#35: 28%: Random mass shooting;

#41: 25%: Sharks;

#47: 21%: Racial/Hate crime;

#48: 20%: Dying;

#52: 20%: Public speaking;

#76: 7%: Clowns;

#78: 5%: Zombies;

#79: 4%: Ghosts.

The survey apparently did not ask whether the person feared going to Hell after death. This is a common fear and seems to be a strange omission.

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Paranormal beliefs during 2017:

Associated with the above survey was a second group of questions concerning paranormal beliefs. They found, in decreasing order of probability, that:

  • 55%, a majority, believe in "Atlantology:" that ancient, scientifically advanced civilizations like Atlantis once existed. The latter was an island city described by Plato in his dialogues Timaeus and Critiasas as having existed circa 9560 BCE. Several places in the Mediterranean and elsewhere -- from Antarctica to the North Pole -- have been suggested as possible locations. No solid archeological evidence has ever been found of such a civilization anywhere. If the remains of an ancient city like Atlantis were to be found that dates back this far in pre-history, then archaeologists would have to completely abandon their current findings on the pre-history of humanity. 2,3

  • 52% believed that places can be haunted by spirits. (A team member at this web site was once very skeptical of ghosts and spirits. But then, she and her husband visited a house for sale that they were considering buying. During their inspection, she entered one of the bedrooms and experienced incapacitating feelings of fear and dread. She later found out that the daughter of the previous owner had committed suicide in that room.)

  • 35% believe that extraterrestrial aliens have visited Earth in the ancient past.

  • 26% believe that extraterrestrial aliens have visited during modern times.

  • 25% believe in telekinesis -- a.k.a. psychokinesis: that some people can move objects without touching them, by using only their minds.

  • 19% believe that fortune tellers and psychics can foresee the future. (The author of this essay has always been very skeptical of them until a psychic stranger discussed events from his past in great detail; afterwards, he has been not so certain.)

  • 16% believe that Bigfoot (a.k.a. Sasquatch) really exists. It is believed by some to be a human-sized, ape-like creature, covered in hair, that inhabits the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (Lots of strange footprints have been found; a few photos and videos with very poor focus have been taken; but no dead bodies have ever been found of Bigfeet who have died a natural death, been shot by hunters, or killed by a collision by a car).

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star Please read this. It might save your life:

Another false and widespread belief ... this time, about cancer:

article in LiveScience titled: "Nearly Half of Americans Think Alternative Medicine Can Cure Cancer. It Can't."

She said:

"The survey, known as the National Cancer Opinion Survey, was released [on 2018-]OCT-30 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a leading group of cancer doctors. The survey found that nearly 40 percent of Americans said they believed that cancer could be cured solely through alternative therapies, such as oxygen therapy, 7 or use of certain diets, vitamins and minerals.

However, experts stress that these therapies are not recommended as a sole treatment for cancer, as there is little evidence to support their benefit, and they may in fact be harmful if used to replace standard therapies. For example, a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 4 found that cancer patients who used only alternative medicine were 2.5 times more likely to die during a five-year period, compared with those who used standard cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone-based therapies."

The survey's abstract concluded that:

"Although rare, AM [Alternate Medicine] utilization for curable cancer without any CCT is associated with greater risk of death." 4

The survey found that:

"Notably, patients in the AM group were more likely to be younger, to be female, to have a lower Charlson-Deyo Comorbidity Score (CDCS), and to have higher cancer stage, income, and education."

Webmaster's notes:

  • Unfortunately, the acronym "CCT" in the field of medicine has 79 meanings. In this case, we assume that it means "Client Centered Therapy."

  • The Charlson/Deyo Comorbidity Score is a system that takes account of additional diseases or disorders that are present in a patient along with a primary disease or disorder. For example, diabetes, congestive heart failure, etc. could be present, along with a cancer of the breast. In the above study, patients who used alternative medicine had fewer additional diseases or disorders accompanying their cancer.

  • On the other hand, overweight persons who are interested in preventing the occurrence of cancer might consider losing weight. A German study in 2010 concluded that, in that country:

    "... there is a considerable preventive potential for cancers associated with excess body weight. Efforts to prevent further weight gain and encourage weight loss should be promoted." 5

    A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) value from 18.5 to 24.9 is regarded as being of normal weight. A BMI calculator is available on the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It can be used on their website and/or downloaded into an Iphone or Android cell phone. 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Chapman University," U.S. News & World Report, at:
  2. "Location hypotheses of Atlantis, Wikipedia, as on 2018-NOV-09, 2018, at:

  3. book cover Paul Jordan, "The Atlantis Syndrome," Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store review: [The author] ... maps the invention, abandonment, and rediscovery of the concept of Atlantis from Plato's invention of Atlantis in his moral tale of the ruining of Athens, to the present day 'alternative archaeologies' which use his analogy as their foundation. Jordan argues that contemporary archaeology has gone far beyond the need for an Atlantis to explain the distant human past and outlines contemporary archaeological thinking about human evolution, prehistory and classical history and society. Ultimately he takes in turn several of the more popular books on the Atlantis theory and critically analyses their evidence and approach. In this way he effectively shoots down several modern heroes of the modern cult of Atlantology, looking at the underlying motivations for their writings. He also warns of the `colonialist and missionary condescension' enshrined in their hyperdiffusionist ideas. This is a fascinating and much needed contextual analysis of the `Atlantis Syndrome' and should be read by anyone interested in this subject.

  4. Skyler B Johnson, et al., "Use of Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Its Impact on Survival," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 101, Issue 1, 2018-JAN, at:
  5. A, Wienecke, et al., "Cancers Potentially Preventable through Excess Weight Reduction in Germany in 2010," US National Library of Medicine, 2018-OCT-17, at:
  6. "Calculate Your Body Mass Index," National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, undated, at:
  7. "Oxygen Concentrators and Pulse Oximeters: What To Know About At-Home Oxygen Therapy," Yuwell, undated, at: Oxygen Concentrators: What To Know About At-Home Oxygen Therapy

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Copyright Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-NOV-10
Latest update: 2021-MAR-11

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