Television, the movies, and computer games fill the minds of their viewers with a daily staple of fantasy, from tales of UFO landings, haunted houses, and communication with the dead to claims of miraculous cures by gifted healers or breakthrough treatments by means of fringe medicine. The paranormal is so ubiquitous in one form of entertainment or another that many people easily lose sight of the distinction between the real and the imaginary, or they never learn to make the distinction in the first place. In this thorough review of pseudoscience and the paranormal in contemporary life, psychologist Terence Hines teaches readers how to carefully evaluate all such claims in terms of scientific evidence. Hines devotes separate chapters to psychics; life after death; parapsychology; astrology; UFOs; ancient astronauts, cosmic collisions, and the Bermuda Triangle; faith healing; and more. New to this second edition are extended sections on psychoanalysis and pseudopsychologies, especially recovered memory therapy, satanic ritual abuse, facilitated communication, and other questionable psychotherapies. There are also new chapters on alternative medicine, which is now marketed in our drug stores, and on environmental pseudoscience, with special emphasis on the evidence that certain technologies like cell phones or environmental agents like asbestos cause cancer. Finally, Hines discusses the psychological causes for belief in the paranormal despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This valuable, highly interesting, and completely accessible analysis critiques the whole range of current paranormal claims.
Pseudoscience and Deception is a compilation of some of the most eye-opening skeptical articles pertaining to extraordinary claims and pseudoscience. The articles explore paranormal, extraordinary, or fringe-science claims and reveal logical explanations or outline the deceptive tactics involved in convincing the vulnerable.
Rev. ed. of: Pseudoscience and extraordinary claims of the paranormal: a critical thinker's toolkit. 2010.
Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker's Toolkit provides readers with a variety of "reality-checking" tools to analyze extraordinary claims and to determine their validity. Integrates simple yet powerful evaluative tools used by both paranormal believers and skeptics alike Introduces innovations such as a continuum for ranking paranormal claims and evaluating their implications Includes an innovative "Critical Thinker’s Toolkit," a systematic approach for performing reality checks on paranormal claims related to astrology, psychics, spiritualism, parapsychology, dream telepathy, mind-over-matter, prayer, life after death, creationism, and more Explores the five alternative hypotheses to consider when confronting a paranormal claim Reality Check boxes, integrated into the text, invite students to engage in further discussion and examination of claims Written in a lively, engaging style for students and general readers alike Ancillaries: Testbank and PowerPoint slides available at www.wiley.com/go/pseudoscience
Dr. Michael presents to us an overview of the three fundamental branches of science, physics, chemistry and biology, in a simple and easy to understand fashion. With this basic knowledge, he leads us to re-evaluate the alternative explanation of the natural world as envisioned by religion, philosophy and pseudoscience with their abstract ideas that have dominated human culture for thousands of years. The result is an intellectual journey to reach the truth and achieve the thought-after well-being of mankind and global peace.
Whether ghosts, astrology or ESP, up to 80 per cent of the population believes in one or more aspects of the paranormal. Such beliefs are entertaining, and it is tempting to think of them as harmless. However, there is mounting evidence that paranormal beliefs can be dangerous - cases of children dying because parents rejected orthodox medicine in favour of alternative remedies, and 'psychics' who trade on the grief of the bereaved for personal profit and gain. Expenditure on the paranormal runs into billions of dollars each year. In Beyond Belief: Skepticism, Science and the Paranormal Martin Bridgstock provides an integrated understanding of what an evidence-based approach to the paranormal - a skeptical approach - involves, and why it is necessary. Bridgstock does not set out to show that all paranormal claims are necessarily false, but he does suggest that we all need the analytical ability and critical thinking skills to seek and assess the evidence for paranormal claims.
For courses in Introductory Psychology, Critical Thinking and Scientific Reasoning. This topically organized text integrates naturally with the flow of all introductory psychology courses presenting the differences between science and pseudoscience in a fun and interesting way. Timothy Lawson uses original sources to address the numerous pseudoscientific claims that students are exposed to through the media, the Internet and pop psychology books.
This valued resource helps practitioners and students evaluate the merits of popular yet controversial practices in clinical psychology and allied fields, and base treatment decisions on the best available research. Leading authorities review widely used therapies for a range of child, adolescent, and adult disorders, differentiating between those that can stand up to the rigors of science and those that cannot. Questionable assessment and diagnostic techniques and self-help models are also examined. The volume provides essential skills for thinking critically as a practitioner, evaluating the validity of scientific claims, and steering clear of treatments that are ineffective or even harmful. New to This Edition *Reflects the significant growth of evidence-based practices in the last decade. *Updated throughout with the latest treatment research. *Chapter on attachment therapy. *Chapter on controversial interventions for child and adolescent antisocial behavior. *Addresses changes in DSM-5.
Examines supernatural controversies such as crop circles, the Shroud of Turin, and cold fusion, and provides evidence for and against each phenomenon.
Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you're trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon. How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? This down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims will help you set the record straight. The author, a veteran journalist, has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored "the most haunted house in America," frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a "contrite Roswell alien." He is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation. For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction. Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, this book invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Science fiction produced in the 1970s has long been undervalued, dismissed by Bruce Sterling as “confused, self-involved, and stale.” The New Wave was all but over and Cyberpunk had yet to arrive. The decade polarised sf – on the one hand it aspired to be a serious form, addressing issues such as race, Vietnam, feminism, ecology and sexuality, on the other hand it broke box office records with Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien and Superman: The Movie. Across the political spectrum, writers perceived a series of invisible enemies: radicals addressed the ideological structures of racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism, pollution and capitalism and the possibility of new social structures, whereas conservatives feared the gains made by the civil rights movement, feminism, gay liberation, independence movements, ecology and Marxism and the perceived threats to the nuclear family. Sf would never be the same again. Beginning with chapters on the First sf and New Wave authors who published during the 1970s, Solar Flares examines the ways in which the genre confronted a new epoch and its own history, including the rise of fantasy, the sf blockbuster, children’s sf, pseudoscience and postmodernism. It explores significant figures such as Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler. From Larry Niven’s Ringworld to Thomas M. Disch’s On Wings of Song, from The Andromeda Strain to Flash Gordon and from Doctor Who to Buck Rogers, this book reclaims seventies sf writing, film and television – alongside music and architecture – as a crucial period in the history of science fiction.
Tales of alien abductions, miraculous relics, and haunted castles have attracted believers and skeptics across the globe for centuries. Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell tackles the world's most seemingly inexplicable myths in Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. With four decades of experience in the field, Nickell employs skepticism and scientific analysis to pull truth from the mires of false evidence and trickery that surround both old and new legends and mysteries. Unlike authors who engage in hype and sensationalism in order to foster or debunk myths, Nickell approaches each case with a rational and scientific approach intended to find the truth. Occam's Razor -- all things being equal, the simplest solution is the best one -- is a principal instrument in his investigative toolbox, as well as the belief that it is the claimant's responsibility to provide the extraordinary proof required in such extraordinary cases. Adventures in Paranormal Investigation features Nickell's on-site explorations in unusual phenomena. Among the forty unique cases, Nickell examines mysteries ranging from snake charmers who purport to hold influence over the reptiles, to the Holocaust victims who reportedly haunt a gas chamber in Dachau, to Lake Simcoe's resident lake monster Igopogo in Canada. In addition to the case studies, Nickell analyzes how the propensity to fantasize can affect human perceptions of and belief in paranormal activity and how his personal experience with the paranormal was altered when intuition led to the discovery of a daughter he didn't know existed. More than just another myth-busting text, Adventures in Paranormal Investigation brings together reason and scientific analyses to explain both the phenomena and the role of human perception therein, establishing Nickell as the foremost paranormal investigator of our time.
The authors examine a variety of subjects in the field of the occult and how they can be explained through simple physics or probability.
A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace “A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions. Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms. Praise for The Demon-Haunted World “Powerful . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”—The Washington Post Book World “Compelling.”—USA Today “A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity.”—The Sciences “Passionate.”—San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle
Most scholars dismiss research into the paranormal as pseudoscience, a frivolous pursuit for the paranoid or gullible. Even historians of religion, whose work naturally attends to events beyond the realm of empirical science, have shown scant interest in the subject. But the history of psychical phenomena, Jeffrey J. Kripal contends, is an untapped source of insight into the sacred and by tracing that history through the last two centuries of Western thought we can see its potential centrality to the critical study of religion. Kripal grounds his study in the work of four major figures in the history of paranormal research: psychical researcher Frederic Myers; writer and humorist Charles Fort; astronomer, computer scientist, and ufologist Jacques Vallee; and philosopher and sociologist Bertrand Méheust. Through incisive analyses of these thinkers, Kripal ushers the reader into a beguiling world somewhere between fact, fiction, and fraud. The cultural history of telepathy, teleportation, and UFOs; a ghostly love story; the occult dimensions of science fiction; cold war psychic espionage; galactic colonialism; and the intimate relationship between consciousness and culture all come together in Authors of the Impossible, a dazzling and profound look at how the paranormal bridges the sacred and the scientific.
Like its predecessors, Volume III of the Handbook for Teaching Introductory Psychology provides introductory psychology instructors with teaching ideas and activities that can immediately be put into practice in the classroom. It contains an organized collection of articles from Teaching of Psychology (TOP), the official journal of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Division 2 of the American Psychological Association. Volume III contains 89 articles from TOP that have not been included in other volumes. Another distinction between this volume and its predecessors is its emphasis on testing and assessment. The book is divided into two sections. Section One, "Issues and Approaches in Teaching Introductory Psychology," contains 52 articles on critical issues, such as: how to approach the course; understanding students' interests, perceptions, and motives; students' existing knowledge of psychology (including their misconceptions); a comparison of introductory textbooks and tips on how to evaluate them; test questions and student factors affecting exam performance; an overview of different forms of feedback; giving extra credit; and how to deal with academic dishonesty. Section Two consists of 37 articles that present demonstrations, class and laboratory projects, and other techniques to enhance teaching and learning in both the introductory, as well as advanced courses in the discipline. This section is organized so as to parallel the order of topics found in most introductory psychology textbooks. Intended for academicians who teach the introductory psychology course and/or oversee grad assistants who teach the course, all royalties of the book go directly to the Society for the Teaching of Psychology to promote its activities to further improve the teaching of psychology.
A wide-ranging collection of essays on millennial American culture that “marshals a vast pop vocabulary with easy wit” (The New York Times Book Review). From the far left to the far right, on talk radio and the op-ed page, more and more Americans believe that the social fabric is unraveling. Celebrity worship and media frenzy, suicidal cultists and heavily armed secessionists: modern life seems to have become a “pyrotechnic insanitarium,” Mark Dery says, borrowing a turn-of-the-century name for Coney Island. Dery elucidates the meaning to our madness, deconstructing American culture from mainstream forces like Disney and Nike to fringe phenomena like the Unabomber and alien invaders. Our millennial angst, he argues, is a product of a pervasive cultural anxiety—a combination of the social and economic upheaval wrought by global capitalism and the paranoia fanned by media sensationalism. The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium is a theme-park ride through the extremes of American culture of which The Atlantic Monthly has written, “Mark Dery confirms once again what writers and thinkers as disparate as Nathanael West, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Sigmund Freud, and Oliver Sacks have already shown us: the best place to explore the human condition is at its outer margins, its pathological extremes.” “Dery is the kind of critic who just might give conspiracy theory a good name.” —Wired
This book both introduces the philosophy of science through examination of the occult and examines the occult rigorously enough to raise central issues in the philosophy of science. Placed in the context of the occult, philosophy of science issues become immediately understandable and forcefully compelling. Divergent views on astrology, parapsychology, and quantum mechanics mysticism emphasize topics standard to the philosophy of science. Such issues as confirmation and selection for testing, causality and time, explanation and the nature of scientific laws, the status of theoretical entities, the problem of demarcation, theory and observation, and science and values are discussed. Significantly revised, this second edition presents an entirely new section of quantum mechanics and mysticism including instructions from N. David Mermin for constructing a device which dramatically illustrates the genuinely puzzling phenomena of quantum mechanics. A more complete and current review of research on astrology has been included in this new edition, and the section on the problem of demarcation has been broadened.