Pseudoscience and the Paranormal Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

ISBN-13: 978-1573929790
ISBN-10: 1573929794
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Terence M. Hines (Pleasantville, NY) is professor of psychology at Pace University, and the author of the first edition of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1892 KB
  • Print Length: 524 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1573929794
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 2nd ed. edition (June 30, 2010)
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003UD7RMS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. William R. Harwood on April 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
According to Terrence Hines, "The continued claims by proponents of pseudoscience constitute nothing short of consumer fraud," a fraud that costs the American public billions of dollars each year. In debunking the most widely believed contrary-to-fact beliefs, he devotes several pages to explaining how cold readings are accomplished in sufficient detail to satisfy all but the incurably giullible that the psychic scam relies on the Barnum dictum that there is a sucker born every minute. He shows that passages by Nostrodamus widely interpreted as foretelling the rise and fall of Napoleon could equally well be applied to Ferdinand II, Adolf Hitler, or any European ruler whose governance was less than beneficial. He also shows that a novel retroactively interpreted as a prediction of the sinking of the Titanic conformed to all of the circumstances that a book about an ocean liner sinking was virtually obliged to incorporate in order to be plausible.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to immunize themselves against irrational beliefs in the strange and unexplained. This is one of the better books on the subject, even though some entries are treated unfairly such as Chiropractic. In fact, some schools and colleges actually use this as a textbook and make it required reading.
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".
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Format: Paperback
Entertaining and engaging, this book presents insight into widely accepted "bad arguments." Less stuffy than any Introduction to Logic text, Hines takes the reader on a guided tour of every illogically-supported belief in America, from UFOs to Christianity. Be warned, however; almost everyone has a personal "irrational belief" -- and none of them get kid-glove treatment here. A real eye-opener
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Format: Paperback
A very complete way to review the sceptical/scientific approach to XX Century paranormal myths, hoaxes and scams. Highly commendable as a first book on the subject, and with the excellent bibliographic index, it would guide very well any reader interested on learning more on the matter, (although Hines' treatment of the subject, at over 300 pages, is quite thorough in itself). By the way, I found the other review (a reader, 1997) very useful, but I am not sure what I voted (boxes are not too clear as to which is which)
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Format: Paperback
As a medical writer who has become more and more interested in alternative medicine, being able to think clearly and evaluate rationally has been one of my greatest strengths. I owe much of this to Dr. Hines, who deftly explains why so much pseudoscience is plain old junk, while keeping an open mind about things that are still under investigation. He even manages to do this in an interesting, amusing, and entertaining way.
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.
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Format: Paperback
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 the abuse of ad hoc defenses when they are presented with evidence that falsifies their hypothesis. Consequently, they earn their categorization as a pseudoscience.

The author emphasizes both the necessity and importance of scientific testing by adequately providing numerous historical instances where many sincere individuals, as well as many reputable scientists, believed they discovered incontestable evidence for the existence of a supernatural phenomenon. When in fact, the explanations for the purportedly supernatural phenomenon were more mundane than was initially believed.

Each chapter provides a clear assessment of a set of ideas relating to a specific pseudoscience and paranormal belief.

For instance, in the second chapter, Hines discusses the beginning of nineteenth century Spiritualism and describes the fraudulent methods employed by alleged mediums and psychics to obtain information to give to the person who is inquiring about a deceased loved one, a certain question concerning the future, or any event the unwary victim of these charlatans wants to come to fruition.

The third chapter--which is my favorite--contains a section which discusses how purported sightings and nocturnal visitations from ghosts, demons, little green men, as well as other fanciful and fictitious creatures, can be attributed to hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations.

The subsequent chapters outline a plethora of topics that have been extensively addressed by other renowned skeptics.
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