I know, not just believe, this book is nonsense: Book Review

IMG_5484Sometimes publishers and authors send me stuff. I’m not sure why they think I’ll suddenly be open to unscientific, fringe ideas about how the world works and overthrow what we know via just one book. Yes, that’s right, KNOW. This book, Paradigm Busters, from the Atlantis Rising magazine library, starts off by confusing conditional scientific knowledge with belief. “We don’t KNOW, we BELIEVE”. Maybe YOU do, but that’s not how I roll. Science is the most reliable way of gaining knowledge, in short because it removes as much error as humanly possible and is open to many people’s scrutiny and new evidence as it comes along. Some knowledge is certainly tentative but your kooky theory about pyramids is not going to overturn the entire field of archaeology and Egyptian history.

“Know” is interchangeable as “believe” in this book, that’s clear: “We already know… [that ancient spiritual places concentrate electromagnetic fields]” Oh? Where are the scientific references? There are none. This book is a collection of terribly researched, mystery mongering speculation and hopeful belief in something beyond reality.

We go way off on the wrong path right from the beginning as one writer suggests that magicians and entertainers may indeed have paranormal powers; that is, David Copperfield is NOT doing an illusion, he’s really supernatural! This book also suggests that people really are magnetic (nope), chi (which you can’t measure) could be the primal source of all matter and energy, animals can do complex math equations (in English), there are healing properties of coral slabs, energy beams are focused by the Georgia Guidestones, Mary Magdalene founded the Royal Dutch House of Orange, spirits can invade humans, ETs have visited us in the past, and that ideas about quantum physics were known in ancient Egypt. All baseless.

The contributors disregard normal explanations and sneer at anything related to orthodox “science”. Appealing to neuroscience and psychology, they still use sciencey language in that typical “I hate you but want you to accept me” relationship. Science is wrong, they conclude, let us upturn it for you.

Old and investigated tales are taken at face value with the non-supernormal explanation rejected out of hand (or not even mentioned). Therefore, there is more to fire walking than simple physics of insulation and heat exchange, the DaVinci code is real and reveals ancient secrets, and the Montauk Monster was a mutant from Plum Island research facility, not a long-drowned raccoon. It’s pretty much ridiculous stuff like this cover to cover.

I don’t have anything positive to say about a conspiratorial, anti-science book written by non-specialists who seem to have never studied the foundational literature of these fields. Oh, I didn’t find any typos and the grammar was acceptable. There.

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6 thoughts on “I know, not just believe, this book is nonsense: Book Review

  1. I hope this review finds its way to Amazon when this thing is listed for sale there, and anywhere else comments are displayed about this stupid woo manual. Any drop of sense plopped into the Nonsense Ocean can’t hurt.

  2. Yes, IDOUBTIT, I have asked for something more substantial than dreamy assertion myself, a number of times. It feels (and I realize how little my personal feelings may mean), but still it feels as if I do not ask for much. Some understand the level of evidence that I require just to start my research on a subject. It’s not much, just something shown or fairly concluded or otherwise based on a reasonable view of the evidence.
    But it is becoming rarer that I am required to become a magical thinker, either because those requesting have dealt with me before and understand that I will not leap as far as they would like, or maybe because they sense my scientific scepticism from the start and can’t be bothered with the request .. I’m not always sure, which is par for the course as a sceptic.

    Good review, all the best,
    Woody

  3. The writers mention Kuhn in the intro but discuss him not at all in the body of the text.

    It is a marvel how frequently fringe writers make a tendentitious use of scholarly sources they do not read.

  4. Forgot to mention: Of course, in typical fringe fashion, the book makes no mention of Popper or hypothesis testing or falsifiability.

    You can’t evoke Kuhn and ignore Popper. That is high-level cherry-picking.

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