Read an older version of this some years ago, the free PDF version has some more content new to me. Included in the new content is a critique of Sam Harris's mode of 'spirituality'. It is however as misinformed as Falk claims Wilber is. Falk quotes 'a real rationalist' (his words) to back himself up:
"As the real rationalist Meera Nanda (2003) then noted:
Sam Harris is not all that far apart from Mahesh Yogi, Deepak Chopra and others who claim that spiritual practitioners have the most objective view of the world because they can see it “directly,” just the way it is, completely “shorn of the self,” and the many biases and dogmas that “I-ness” brings.... He loads spiritual practices with metaphysical baggage, all the while claiming to stand up for reason and evidence. By the end of the book, I could not help thinking of him as a Trojan horse for the New Age."
This 'real rationalist' has just completely misrepresented Sam Harris's thinking. Harris has in fact stated pretty much the exact opposite. This makes me question Falk's work more than I previously had. So while I believe the work has some merit, reader beware.
Geoffrey D. Falk is a former admirer of Ken Wilber turned critic and sceptic. Judging by both this book and his blog, Falk is somehow associated with CSICOP alias CSI. Thus, his criticism of Wilber is written from an atheist and materialist perspective.
Unfortunately, "Norman Einstein" is poorly edited, badly written and contains too long quotations from works by other authors. The main source for Falk's criticisms is Frank Visser's website Integral World. Essentially, "Norman Einstein" is an attempted summary of the critical articles on Wilber found on that site.
The entire book feels extremely in-house, more in-house in fact than Integral World. The causal reader may want to know why it's so important to criticize this Ken Wilber character in the first place? Falk's friend James Randi apparently never heard of Wilber until Falk approached him on the matter (Wilber claims to have paranormal abilities, something Falk wanted Randi to test and debunk).
Apart from the chapter on Adi Da and the appendix on David Bohm, "Norman Einstein" just isn't good enough, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the concrete criticisms made. Jeff Meyerhoff's "Bald ambition" is somewhat better, but the best critiques of Wilber can be found on Integral World.
Incidentally, Falk's book is available free on-line, so you don't even have to buy it, unless you collect Wilberiana or anti-Wilberiana, for no good reason at all...
I'm afraid I can only give this work two stars. :-(
I agree with the author in places, e.g. Ken Wilber's comments on evolution are too simplistic. For example when I hear him say that there are no first occurrences and use rabbits as an example, I cringe. Surely there were proto-rabbits. Whether the "no first occurrences" statement is true of prokaryotic cells I have no idea. However what makes the text almost unreadable for me is the author's consistent immature insulting language. It is like watching Fox News where the commentators take refuge in juvenile 'aren't we so smart and they're so dumb' kind of attitude. I really do wonder what is driving the author's anger. A more reasoned version of his criticisms would be welcome.