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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(verified purchases). Show all reviews
on February 19, 2002
One reviewer inaccurately states that this book is nothing but a compendium of the author's "personal biases." Nothing could be further from the truth; instead this is a wonderful and highly readable work that exposes pseudoscientific charlatanry for what it is. Hines' work is concise and easy to understand. He cites numerous studies to support his assertions, enabling the reader to cross-reference additional material if desired. Perhaps most important are the concepts of the irreducible minimum and the irrefutable hypothesis, both of which are often used by pseudoscientists to justify otherwise unsupportable positions for which they lack sufficient data.
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.
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on March 15, 2016
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 a faith 'healing' performance, which is most enlightening) but there are many references to other works which cover each subject in more depth.

Each reader will have different areas of interest and the broad scope of the book means there is something for everyone. I'm not particularly interested in Fraudian (oops, sorry, made a Freudian slip there) psychoanalysis, so I skipped most of that and still found the book well worth the money. A very good starter and reference book for those interested in distinguishing reality from unfounded beliefs.
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on July 7, 2013
One of my college professors wrote this book (Terence Hines), and the class that he taught to go along with the book was phenomenal. This is one of the ONLY books that I have kept from college and not sold back - I find it very interesting to read :)
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on May 2, 2013
This is one of the most credible sources for scientific explanations of bogus paranormal claims and so called psychic phenomena. The book is well researched and very well written. I would recommend it.
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on February 26, 2015
Excellent reference for handling the neighbor that's always telling you about something weird they heard or saw on TV. You could conduct a class using this book and comparing to the junk shown on the History channel. The History channel is not the one bringing intellect to the game. Much of the stuff you think really is, might just be junk and this book helps sort it out fer ya.
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on September 23, 2011
This is an excellent book. Other 4 and 5-star reviewers have already pointed out almost everything I could say here.
However: since it deserves reprintings, the author may consider, in future editions, expanding some sections.
Ghosts is a case in point. Though he demonstrates that the most famous poltergeists (Amityville, the British Rectory) were hoaxes or scams, evidence by enumeration of examples does not on itself demonstrate the impossibility of ghosts. Countless examples do not preclude an exception, and a believer could argue: "ok; those cases were not real, but what about my story?"
In my view, general, universal arguments to posit the "incoherencies" in people's belief on ghosts should be added to the chapter. (For example: are ghosts incorporeal? Then, how do they move objects? Are they "solid"? Then, how do they go through walls?)
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on July 30, 2016
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.
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on June 25, 2016
All round knowledge on how to live a sceptical life both in everyday land professional life. It's life time knowledge.
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on January 28, 2015
Excellent reference.
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