You knew this had to be at least one book. And here is one, The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences (2017) by the chair and associate professor in the department of religion at Williams College in New England.
He asks, why do people accept both scientism and superstition?:
But as I argued in my book The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences (2017), the common notion of disenchantment as an extirpation of animism rests on a mistaken premise. Several large-scale surveys suggest that the vast majority of Americans believe in some sort of paranormal phenomena. Indeed, a surprising 83.3 per cent of Americans believe in either guardian angels, demonic possession or ghosts, and there is evidence for similar belief patterns in western Europe. (I should note that disenchantment should not be confused with secularisation. The sociological evidence suggests that de-Christianisation, while usually equated with secularisation, often correlates with an increase in belief in spirits, ghosts and magic – not the reverse.) Nor are sociological surveys the only evidence. If one views Europe and North America through the same sort of anthropological lens that European and American anthropologists are used to directing abroad, it seems hard to defend the notion that the ‘modern West’ is straightforwardly disenchanted. There are plenty of examples.
Walmart sells ‘Sage Spirit-Smudge Wands’ and clothing chains such as Urban Outfitters sell ‘healing crystals’ and tarot cards. You can go on eBay right now and pay an Australian ‘white witch’ to perform a ritual to summon a djinn and bind it to an object of your choice. Celebrities such as Anna Nicole Smith and Bobby Brown have publicly described having sex with ghosts. Coffee shops and co-ops throughout the US and much of western Europe display flyers advertising ‘palm readers’, ‘energy balancing’ and ‘chakra work’. Even if you ignore the Harry Potter craze and other fictionalised depictions of wizards, ghosts and witches, studies of American reading habits suggest that ‘New Age’ print culture is incredibly lucrative, with ‘non-fiction books’ about magic, guardian angels and near-death experiences frequently appearing in the upper echelons of Amazon’s bestseller lists. And the past 15 years have seen a proliferation of ‘reality’ television series that claim to report evidence for ghosts, psychics, extraterrestrials, monsters, curses and even miracles. At the very least, it would seem that contemporary consumers are willing to flirt with the existence of spirits and psychical powers.Jason Josephson Storm, “Against Disenchantment” at Aeon
Storm goes on to say that thinks that neither superstition nor secularism liberate people.
Come to think of it, believing in artificial intelligence or space aliens as god-like makes as much sense as believing in lucky numbers and charms.
See also: Tales of an invented god
Sceptic asks, why do people who abandon religion embrace superstition? Belief in God is declining and belief in ghosts and witches is rising
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