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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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've used this in my teaching composition class. It has interesting short source material for students to spring off into longer research projects on strange subjects.Published 28 days ago by J. J. Sargent
All round knowledge on how to live a sceptical life both in everyday land professional life. It's life time knowledge.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 4 months 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 5 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 6 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 11 months ago by J. H. Chamberlain
Excellent reference for handling the neighbor that's always telling you about something weird they heard or saw on TV. Read morePublished 18 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