Science, Pseudo-science, Non-sense, and Critical Thinking shines an unforgiving light on popular and lucrative 'miraculous' practices that promise to offer answers during times of trouble. Throughout the book, the authors unfold the fallacies underlying these practices, as well as consumers' need and desire to believe in them.
Adopting a scientific approach, the book critically evaluates research into cold-reading practices, such as those that claim to be able to communicate with the afterlife or posess supernatural powers, before considering a range of pseudo-sciences including graphology and polygraph interrogation, exposing the pretensions of these practices in a clear and logical fashion. The book seeks to encourage critical thinking throughout, asking whether there is any scientific evidence to support these practitioners' abilities to supply us with reliable answers, and discussing the various factors that comprise the psychological mechanism of belief.
Written in a fluent and accessible style, Science, Pseudo-science, Non-sense, and Critical Thinking is aimed at interested professionals and the public at large.
Gershon Ben-Shakhar is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a leading expert in the psychophysiological detection of deception.
Marianna Barr studied English and Comparative Literature. She has written and translated poetry as well as translated numerous theoretical books, essays, and short stories.
"In our post-modern era in which the distinction between truth and fiction is increasingly blurred and practices offering quick solutions are more popular than ever, Science, Pseudo-science, Non-sense, and Critical Thinking is a must read. In accessible and often humorous language, Barr and Ben-Shakhar debunk practices based on mysticism and pseudoscience, offer illuminating insights into our beliefs, and demonstrate the promise of critical thinking. Reading this book was sheer pleasure. I will recommend it to all my students because critical thinking is important not just for science, it is important for our everyday life." - Ram Frost, Professor of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel