For instance, how many people who consider themselves sensible and above superstition eagerly buy into claims of the paranormal? Parapsychology shows up on some university curricula, and the CIA/DIA funded programs for 15 years under the umbrella "Stargate" operation, so there must be something to it, mustn't there? Atlantis, crystal healing, and extraterrestrials in Mesoamerica all have enduring appeal. College-educated adults believe their gut rather than the science that says vaccinations don't cause autism.

When it comes to life’s most complex questions, why do so many otherwise intelligent individuals substitute feelings and belief for fact and cold, hard reason? 

Like the dark side of the Force, mysticism gives us quick and easy answers. Our brains are designed to pull patterns from chaos, to see order where none exists, and then to give preference to evidence that supports our biases. This isn't just a problem of the religious believers so many "rationalists" mock; it stalks even the most hallowed halls of academia (and, apparently, the CIA).

And the public eats it up.