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Record Type: Review   ID: 1143

Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence

Hines, Terence

 The author, a psychologist, has taught a course on "Parapsychology and the Occult" at Pace College since 1964. He found that there was no textbook that covered all of the subjects he wanted to discuss in his class, and so he wrote this book for his own use and for others who are interested in a critical evaluation of paranormal claims and who also wish to believe such claims. Although it is aimed primarily at students, it does not require a background in psychology. The first chapter discusses the nature of pseudoscience. A variety of psi applications are discussed in the next chapter, "Psychics and Psychic Phenomena," including spiritualism, psychic readings, psychic predictions, criminal investigation and psi, the psychic photography of Ted Serios, precognitive experiences, and demonic possession. Three aspects of survival are considered in the third chapter: ghosts and poltergeists, NDEs and OBEs, and reincarnation. Laboratory parapsychology is the subject of Chapter 4—a mere 31 pages. He discusses Uri Geller and the early experiments of Rhine and Soal, and then briefly deals with remote viewing, RNG experiments, and Ganzfeld research. A chapter is devoted to faith healing and its dangers. There are many critical (debunking) books, but Hines also provides a "positive" contribution in his discussion of the issue of "why people continue to believe in paranormal and occult claims in the face of clear empirical evidence that these claims are invalid. Platitudes about a `will to believe' are inadequate explanations. Rather, explanations for continued belief must be based on knowledge about how humans process information and about the nature of human memory and perception" (p. xi). Other subject areas covered are psychoanalysis, astrology, UFOs, ancient astronauts, and health quackery. The final chapter covers "Current Trends in Pseudoscience."
Publisher Information:Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1988. 372p. Author index: 353-361; Bibliography: 319-351; 8 figures; 1 graph; 13 illustrations; Index: 363-372; 2 tables
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