By Kendrick Frazier
This number of serious essays and investigative reviews examines nearly each region of fringe technological know-how and the mystical from a refreshingly medical and clear-minded point of view. The authors are famous scientists, philosophers, psychologists, and writers. All deliver to the duty a selection to sift feel from nonsense and truth from fiction in a space infamous for incorrect information, misperception, self-delusion, and wishful pondering. They accomplish that in a manner that highlights the variations among genuine technology and pseudoscience.They've made designated efforts first to discover the particular evidence at the back of a variety of claims that experience renowned allure, after which to provide an explanation for and converse what clinical research and reasoning display approximately them. topics taken care of to incisive and pleasing exam comprise astrology, ESP, psychic detectives, psychic predictions, parapsychology, remote-viewing, UFOs, creationism, the Shroud of Turin, coincidences, cult archaeology, palmistry and fringe drugs. There also are explorations of the results of paranormal ideals for technology schooling.
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Extra resources for Science Confronts the Paranormal
Or “what is normally expected”? Aside from the beginnings of professionalization, at least two other factors need attention. For a start, from the 1830s. the Romantics had acquired something of a monopoly over “Nature,” and as a result it was felt to have lost some of the precision it needed to be of use in science. In addition, this change was probably associated with the rise of the new “positivism” of Auguste Comte. which in turn acquired a special status among theoretical physicists and chemists, most of all in France.
Your own daily newspaper is very likely to carry at least one national or local story a week on some claim that comes under the loose rubric of paranormal or fringe-science beliefs. It almost certainly prints a daily artrology column. ” His own attitude toward these assertions seems to range from fun-poking to uncritical acceptance. Magazines, books, and radio and TV talk-shows all have a full complement of psychics offering advice and making predictions. Serious magazines like Forbes, Computerworld, and the Journal of Defense and Diplomacy have recently published lengthy articles repeating claims of psychic powers without even a hint of critical scientific perspective.
But all of this is so much apple pie. The universality of the demands in question is purchased at the price of losing touch with the real work of the sciences. For example, the standards that determine what counts as a scientific “prediction” vary between one science and another, and even from one phase to another in the development of any particular science. So, before we can apply these formal, abstract demands to actual scientific situations, we must pay attention also to certain specific, concrete features that are distinctive of any given science at this or that stage in its history; and it turns out that most of these features are highly variable, both among different sciences and among historical epochs.