Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
A decent volume on pseudoscientific and paranormal beliefs
on May 8, 2015
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. At times, Hines' writing may seem tedious, but this book is accessible to anyone who wants to acquire a decent volume on pseudoscientific and paranormal beliefs. Another noteworthy quality of this book is that it provides extensive references for the interested reader who may want to explore a particular topic in depth.