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Pseudoscience and the Paranormal Paperback – March 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Hines' chapter on psychoanalysis should be mandatory reading for all persons who still believe Sigmund Freud's imbecilic fantasy differs in any qualitative way from spilling one's guts to a bartender, taxi driver or hetaera, particularly TV scriptwriters who regularly portray psychoshrinks as something other than self-deluded humbugs.
Hines catalogues an abundance of evidence that polygraphs are no more effective as lie detectors than tossing a coin, "Heads it's the truth and tails it's a lie." He described an experiment conducted by "Sixty Minutes," in which polygraph operators from several firms were asked to determine which CBS employee was responsible for a series of thefts. Each operator was given a hint that a particular individual was the prime suspect.Read more ›
The author covers many areas in this book and offers, for the most part, sound reasons for not believing in the subjects he is attempting to debunk. The book is very detailed, but still very readable.
Anyone who enjoyed this book should also check out the following: Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, James Randi's Flim Flam, and Henry Gordon's Extra Sensory Deception. These books, along with the book being reviewed, are among the best available dealing with the subject of debunking paranormal claims. They should all be read to help build what Carl Sagan calls a "Baloney Detection Kit".
People really want to believe in the paranormal, and rarely want to have their beliefs challenged with rational explanations. Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? But the truth is the truth, and sometimes, when Dr. Hines tells it, it's even better than the fiction.
Most people think that having an open mind means being receptive to strange and "unbelievable" things. I think that having an open mind means being receptive to all possibilities -- including those that indicate that some unbelievable things really shouldn't BE believed. If you consider yourself an rational thinker, take the time to read this book, and give it to others as a truly magical gift -- the gift of reason.
Hines makes the point that credulous 'believers' are more likely to ignore or twist evidence that doesn't fit their pre-conceived beliefs about a given subject, whereas 'non-believers' are generally more open to new material -- even if it contradicts what they've already learned. Surprisingly, studies have been performed that confirm this assertion, and thus it's not surprising (sad as it may be) that our world is full of people who continue to believe in Atlantis, psychic phenomena, creationism, channeling, and other pap philosophies despite all logic and evidence to the contrary.
The book also contains significant material describing the reasons that scientists are sometimes hoodwinked by charlatans and hoaxers; as James "The Amazing" Randi has also pointed out, often it takes a trained magician to catch someone who's attempting to deceive a researcher.
Highly recommended to anyone who's studying human behavior, folklore, or the difference between real science and pseudoscience. This book also should be required reading in public school science classes, and for legislators who are too often lacking in understanding where science is concerned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In his chapter on astrology, Hines makes incorrect references about astrology and the astrologers who practice it, claiming that astrologers refuse to take into account precession,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amy Herring
An excellent overview of various types of pseudoscience. It's not quite a five-star book as there is little original material here (one of the exceptions is the author's account of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John D. Muir
This is an excellent survey of paranormal claims from a skeptical point of view, encyclopedic in breadth. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Harllee
I assume this book has been discredited since there are no newer reviews here. It just came across my path, and I would like to say that this is pseudoscience itself. Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. H. Chamberlain
This book contains refutations of claims spread by proponents of any discipline who claim to practice and support science, but avoid the use of the scientific method and resort to... Read morePublished 12 months ago by J.D. Dawson
Excellent reference for handling the neighbor that's always telling you about something weird they heard or saw on TV. Read morePublished 15 months ago by boneclub
Dr Hines does an excellent job of reminding us that every needle has its ginormous haystack. ... Not that that was the intent of this skeptic's guide to the pseudo-paranormal ---... Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by BLS
One of my college professors wrote this book (Terence Hines), and the class that he taught to go along with the book was phenomenal. Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by KSO