The Skeptics Contemporary Essays

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The paranormal – and the pseudoscience that attempts to validate it – is so ubiquitous that many people lose sight of the distinction between the real and the imaginary, and some never learn to make the distinction in the first place.

In this updated and expanded edition of “Pseudoscience and the Paranormal”, the most comprehensive and up-to-date work of its kind, psychologist and neuroscientist Terence Hines explores the question of evidence for the paranormal and delves beyond it to one that is even more puzzling: Why do people continue to believe in the reality of the supernatural despite overwhelming evidence that it does not exist? Kida vividly illustrates these tendencies with numerous examples that demonstrate how easily we can be fooled into believing something that isn’t true.

This 16-page booklet is designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

It includes suggestions on what questions to ask, what traps to avoid, specific examples of how the scientific method is used to test pseudoscience and paranormal claims, and a how-to guide for developing a class in critical thinking.

Journalist Guy P Harrison argues that this is an ineffective way of encouraging people to develop critical thinking about religion.

In this unique approach to scepticism regarding God, Harrison concisely presents fifty commonly heard reasons people often give for believing in a God and then he raises legitimate questions regarding these reasons, showing in each case that there is much room for doubt.

As a journalist who has travelled widely and interviewed many highly accomplished people, quite a number of whom are believers, Harrison appreciates the variety of belief and the ways in which people seek to make religion compatible with scientific thought.

Nonetheless, he shows that, despite the prevalence of belief in God or religious belief in intelligent people, in the end there are no unassailable reasons for believing in a God.

Conversions on the road to Damascus are for those who hear voices and fall prey to delusions and who would be better off seeking professional help.

Much more valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. My kids are in the process of learning about literature, and a rule of thumb they’ve picked up concerns how to recognize the protagonist of a Story: it’s the character who undergoes the greatest transformation.

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