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Physics and Psychics by [Stenger, Victor J.]
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Physics and Psychics Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 323 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A particle physicist at the University of Hawaii, Stenger sets forth a purely materialist, reductionist view of the universe. The transcendent--gods, spirits, religious or mystical experiences--is delusory, in his reckoning. He further maintains that paranormal phenomena such as precognition or mind-over-matter are due to fraud, hallucination, error or a will to believe. Whether he is discussing ESP, poltergeists, UFOs, or out-of-body or near-death experiences, he ignores, misrepresents or skims over evidence that would contradict his thesis, while maintaining an aura of detached objectivity. Claiming that religious or supernatural beliefs may be programmed into our DNA because they once had survival value, Stenger rejects the holism of New Age Thinkers and physicists, disputing their claim that instantaneous connections link events across space and time.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Stenger is an elementary particle physicist, an atheist, a skeptic, and an ardent defender of the scientific method. He uses the principle of Occam's razor (the simplest explanation is the best) and the test of the predictive value of a model to show how little evidence there is for paranormal claims, including religious beliefs, as well as ESP, astrology, and spirit channeling. Some of Stenger's ideas are controversial even among scientists, and he tends to explain all human qualities by just saying they are an evolutionary advantage. However, this book provides an interesting overview of both skeptical and credulous physics and much material for discussion. A good purchase for undergraduate science collections.
- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll., Durango, Col.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3235 KB
  • Print Length: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 1, 1990)
  • Publication Date: April 30, 1990
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036FUA4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,438 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By A Customer on March 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There is a disturbing new trend in "popular science" to justify New Age and mystical beliefs using misinterpreted scientific ideas. Most experimental physicists are content to ignore this trend and continue in their research, regardless of how people choose to interpret it. Others are careless enough to make ambiguous statements about physics and the nature of reality that add fuel to the fire of pseudoscience. Victor Stenger is a refreshing voice of reason, with a solid background as a respected experimental physicist.

First of all, Dr. Stenger is not attacking parapsychology. Rather, he is defending science from those who try to corrupt it by putting parapsychology on the same level, or use scientific ideas to support unscientific theories. Science, specifically physics, has a rigorous standard of evidence and experimental verifiability under controlled conditions. Any theory that claims to be scientific must meet these standards to justify that claim. Psychic powers, and the other supernatural phenomena addressed in this book, have never met these standards.

To summarize, this book is not anti-supernatural, it is just pro-science. Dr. Stenger does an excellent job of showing that supernatural phenomena are not scientifically established, and probably never will be, or they would have been experimentally verified a long time ago. If you choose to believe in the supernatural, feel free, but don't try to justify your beliefs scientifically.
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By A Customer on February 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is good in that it identifies problems in understanding the paranormal in terms related to physics, especially relativity and quantum physics. The author indicates that the new world of quantum mechanics and relativity makes it improbable that the paranormal is real, even more so than the world of Newtonian physics. I personally do not agree with that conclusion. Quantum mechanics and relativity have demonstrated that the real world may be different than commonly assumed, however the author has suddenly concluded that all paranormal phenomena is fraud, delusion, you name it, anything but a possibility that it is true, and thus is making the same mistake as those who were so convinced that Newtonian mechanics was the final world that they refused to consider anything else. In my opinion I am very skeptical that all paranormal phenomena is fraudulent, resulting from wishful thinking, delusion, etc. There is just a bigger world out there than we have imagined and which remains to be explained.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stenger is a noted cosmic ray physicist who religiously believes in the physics model known as materialism. Not content with attacking psychic phenomena, he has also attacked god in newer books of his. He appears to be totally unaware of the assumptions, approximations and limitations of key aspects of physics on which current physics models are based. Ironically, I not only was able to solve some of the psychic phenomena, but was also able to solve some of the cosmic ray physics issues that had troubled him, namely the nature of the muon and other leptons and how super-high-energy cosmic rays can travel clear across the universe before striking the Earth's atmosphere. It's simple, they start off as high-energy neutrons that decay into super-high-energy protons when they reach the Earth. They do not travel as charged particles. What amazes me is how many physicists limit their thinking to such an extent that they cannot even solve problems in their own field. The mere fact that they see these mysterious phenomena in their own fields should open their minds to other possibilities. I must admit that I did not believe in psychic phenomena either for many years, but I spotted the flaws in physics as early as my freshman year at MIT... back in 1956. It was only when I chanced to read books about psychic phenomena when I was between engineering jobs in 1971 that my eyes and mind were open to the so-called 'paranormal'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Victor J. Stenger was a physicist who wrote many books about the conflict between modern science and claims of believers in the paranormal or supernatural. In Physics and Psychics, Stenger points out the many fallacies in the assumptions, methods of investigation and analysis of data committed by those who propose that the supernatural and paranormal are legitimate foundations for accepting as real such claims as clairvoyance, psychokinesis, auras, cosmically connected consciousness, survival of consciousness after death, observer dependent reality and miracles. He uses the best modern scientific models as well as reasonable criticism to refute such claims and does so convincingly provided that the reader’s criteria for accepting claims as true is evidence based. His view is materialistic and steeped in philosophical naturalism. His writing is clear, matter of fact and frequently witty. If your worldview is dominated by faith and religious dogma to the point that you’ll cling to it in spite of evidence to the contrary, you’ll find this book very offensive. If you’re open-minded enough to examine a well thought out criticism of these claims, then you’ll at the very least understand why materialists like Stenger adopt the point of view that the universe is matter, energy, space and time and nothing more. Just remember this – if you’re reading this, it is because the science that made that possible is the exact same science that Stenger uses to make his point.
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