"Such nonmainstream areas of inquiry as astrology, fortune-telling, and psychic and paranormal pursuits play a vital role in society by satisfying human needs that are not addressed by mainstream science."
This statement actually consists of two claims: (1) that non-mainstream areas of inquiry are vital in satisfying human needs, and (2) that these areas are therefore vital to society. I concede that astrology, fortune- telling, and psychic and paranormal pursuits respond to certain basic human needs.
However, in my view the potential harm they can inflict on their participants and on society far outweighs their psychological benefits.
Admittedly, these non-mainstream areas of inquiry address certain human needs, which mainstream science and other areas of intellectual inquiry inherently cannot.
One such need involves our common experience as humans that we freely make our own choices and decisions in life and therefore carry some responsibility for their consequences. Faced with infinite choices, we experience uncertainty, insecurity, and confusion; and we feel remorse, regret, and guilt when in retrospect our choices turn out be poor ones. Understandably, to prevent these bad feelings many people try to shift the burden of making difficult choices and decisions to some nebulous authority outside themselves——by relying on the stars or on a stack of tarot cards for guidance.
Two other such needs have to do with our awareness that we are mortal. This awareness brings a certain measure of pain that most people try to relieve by searching for evidence of an afterlife. Absent empirical proof that life extends beyond the grave, many people attempt to contact or otherwise connect with the so-called "other side" through paranormal and psychic pursuits. Another natural response to the prospect of being separated from our loved ones by death is to search for a deeper connection with others here on Earth and elsewhere, in the present as well as the past. This response manifests itself in people's enduring fascination with the paranormal search for extraterrestrial life, with so- called "past life" regression and "channeling," and the like.
While the sorts of pursuits which the speaker lists might be "vital" insofar as they help some people feel better about themselves and about their choices and circumstances, query whether these pursuits are otherwise useful to any individual or society.
In the first place，用一个非常普通的用于连接的词语开始了自己的列举because these pursuits are not rooted in reason, they are favorite pastimes of charlatans—经典，非常好的否定，hit home。and others who seek to prey on dupes—好，一个单词就直截了当的表明自己的想法driven by the aforementioned psychological needs. And the dupes have no recourse. After all, it is impossible to assess the credibility of a tarot card that tells us how to proceed in life simply because we cannot know where the paths not taken would have led. Similarly, we cannot evaluate claims about the afterlife because these claims inherently defy empirical ?这个形容词是经常用来解释pseuoscience的用词，我后面会给大家附一个伪科学的解释大家可以多次找到这个empirical这个词——proof——or disproof.
In the second place，衔接上面一段的陈述without any sure way to evaluate the legitimacy of these avenues of inquiry, participants become vulnerable to self-deception, false hopes, fantastic ideas, and even delusions.开始陈述这些所谓的科学的害处了。首先来的是对个人的害处。In turn, so-called "insights" gained from these pursuits can too easily serve as convenient excuses for irrational and unreasonable actions that harm others.引申到了对他人的害处。On a personal level, stubborn adherence to irrational beliefs in the face of reason and empirical evidence can lead to self-righteous arrogance, intolerance, anti-social behavior, and even hatred. Moreover, on a societal level these traits have led all too often to holy wars, and to such other atrocities as genocide and mass persecution.最后扩展到了整个社会的深度上来
In sum，开始结尾陈述了。I concede—承认部分的advantages，一看这个词concede就知道后面要出来转折——that the non-mainstream pursuits that the speaker lists are legitimate insofar as they afford many people psychological solace in life. However,出来转折了，意料之中，开始陈述反对意见的总结陈词咯when such pursuits serve as substitutes for reason and logic, and for honest intellectual inquiry, participants begin to distrust intellect as an impediment to enlightenment. In doing so, they risk making ill-conceived choices for themselves and unfair judgments about others——a risk that in my view outweighs the psychological rewards of those pursuits.说明从整体的角度来看还是害处要多于好处。
这篇文章逻辑层次非常鲜明，而且行文过程中运用了figurative expressions的修辞手法，显示了作者对语言的驾御能力，属于一篇写的非常漂亮的文章。尤其是作者的逻辑非常严谨，几乎挑不出来什么过失。考虑到testing time，这个文章绝对可以拿到5。5——6分的好成绩。