New PDF release: Beyond Belief: Skepticism, Science and the Paranormal

By Martin Bridgstock

ISBN-10: 0521758939

ISBN-13: 9780521758932

No matter if ghosts, astrology or ESP, as much as eighty in keeping with cent of the inhabitants believes in a single or extra points of the mystical. Such ideals are interesting, and it's tempting to consider them as risk free. although, there's mounting facts that paranormal ideals may be risky - circumstances of kids death simply because mom and dad rejected orthodox medication in favour of different treatments, and 'psychics' who alternate at the grief of the bereaved for private revenue and achieve. Expenditure at the paranormal runs into billions of bucks every year. In past trust: Skepticism, technological know-how and the magical Martin Bridgstock presents an built-in figuring out of what an evidence-based method of the mystical - a skeptical technique - consists of, and why it will be significant. Bridgstock doesn't got down to exhibit that every one paranormal claims are unavoidably fake, yet he does recommend that all of us want the analytical skill and demanding pondering abilities to hunt and determine the proof for paranormal claims.

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Extra info for Beyond Belief: Skepticism, Science and the Paranormal

Example text

Compare this to, say, Pythagoras’s Theorem. Granted certain assumptions (known as axioms), one can prove Pythagoras’s Theorem to be true. However, Newton’s Laws cannot be proved in the same way: they are accepted because they (usually) fit the evidence, and can always be discarded if they do not. This makes scientific knowledge radically different from other forms of knowledge, even though it shares some attributes with them. Few other forms of knowledge are at the same time highly reliable and completely provisional.

This is what seems to be happening in the field of parapsychology, as we shall see. Research is being done, but there seems to be little or no advance in understanding. What happens to a claim – paranormal or otherwise – which has evidence but no theory? It would seem likely that it goes into a kind of grey T H E N AT U R E O F S C I E N C E zone. Assuming that the evidence is reliable, it cannot be integrated into the body of scientific knowledge, and it cannot even really be regarded as part of the frontier.

Then, as semiconductors were developed into integrated circuits, computers began to shrink, from huge sets of cabinets to desk-size machines, and finally again to objects which could fit inside a pocket (Weber 1996). At the same time the power of these machines greatly increased, transforming our lives in ways which were – and are – mostly unforeseeable. Linked with the increasing power of computers has been the development of communications technology. A couple of centuries ago it took months to travel across the world.

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Beyond Belief: Skepticism, Science and the Paranormal by Martin Bridgstock

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