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Christopher Garfield Allen

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The Science Delusion
The Science Delusion
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A controversial critique of contemporary science, 26 Sep 2014
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'The Science Delusion' was published on 1 January 2012 in the UK. I remember queuing up at a talk given in London by the author book to launch his book, only to discover that all the seats had been sold out and they couldn't let me in; I should have booked a ticket in advance. I was disappointed; as a member of the Scientific and Medical Network, I knew from previous presentations given by Rupert Sheldrake for the SMN, that he is an engrossing speaker with a wide range of interests. So I had to settle for downloading 'The Science Delusion' as an e-book rather than getting an autographed hard cover as I hoped. Nevertheless, it turned out to be such an interesting read that I finished it in next to no time and it came as no surprise to me that 'The Science Delusion' was selected as SMN book of the year in 2013.

Published in the US on 4 September 2012 as Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery, this book summarises much of Sheldrake's previous work and advances a broader critique of philosophical materialism.
Its title apparently mimics that of 'The God Delusion' by one of his critics, Richard Dawkins. However, In an interview with Fortean Times, Sheldrake denied that Dawkins' book was the inspiration for his own, saying, "The title was at the insistence of my publishers, and the book will be re-titled in the USA as Science Set Free... Dawkins is a passionate believer in materialist dogma, but the book is not a response to him".
In the introduction to 'The Science Delusion', Sheldrake insists that this book is pro-science and that his intention is liberate the field from the dogmas that constrict it. he then goes on to list what he calls the ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted. These range from the notion that everything is mechanical to the idea that unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.

Sheldrake then proceeds to challenge every one of these core beliefs in turn. He does this by posing a number of questions as the theme of each of the next ten chapters in which he seeks to elaborate on his central premise that science is predicated on the belief that the nature of reality is already fully understood, with only minor details needing to be filled in. In his opinion, this is a delusion which echoes the classical world view widely held by physicists at the turn of the 20th century before all of these supposed certainties were overthrown by the arrival of the quantum age.

The author develops his critique by arguing that this 'delusion' has reduced science to a series of dogmas grounded in philosophical materialism rather than an open-minded approach to investigating phenomena. He points out that there are many powerful taboos that prevent legitimate scientists inquiry. For instance, Sheldrake questions conservation of energy; he calls it a "standard scientific dogma" and has stated that "the evidence for energy conservation in living organisms is weak". He argues in favour of alternative medicine and psychic phenomena, saying that their recognition as being legitimate is impeded by a "scientific priesthood" with an "authoritarian mentality". Citing his earlier "psychic staring effect" experiments and other reasons, he claims that minds are not confined to brains and remarks that "liberating minds from confinement in heads is like being released from prison". He suggests that DNA is insufficient to explain inheritance, and that inheritance of form and behaviour is mediated through what he calls morphic resonance. Sheldrake also promotes his 'morphic resonance' hypothesis in broader fashion as an explanation for other phenomena such as memory.

Reviews from outside of the scientific community have often been positive. Philosopher Mary Midgley, writing in The Guardian welcomed it as "a new mind-body paradigm" to address "the unlucky fact that our current form of mechanistic materialism rests on muddled, outdated notions of matter". She also stated that Sheldrake's "analogy between natural regularities and habit" could be found in the writings of CS Peirce, Nietzsche, William James and AN Whitehead. In another review, Deepak Chopra commended Sheldrake for wanting "to end the breach between science and religion". Philosopher Martin Cohen in The Times Higher Educational Supplement wrote that "Sheldrake pokes enough holes in such certainties [of orthodox science] to make this work a valuable contribution, not only to philosophical debates but also to scientific ones, too", although Cohen noted that Sheldrake "goes a bit too far here and there".

In a mixed review, Bryan Appleyard writing in The Sunday Times commented that Sheldrake was "at his most incisive" when making a "broad critique of contemporary science" and "scientism", but on Sheldrake's "own scientific theories" Appleyard noted that "morphic resonance is widely derided and narrowly supported. Most of the experimental evidence is contested, though Sheldrake argues there are 'statistically significant' results". Appleyard said "it is certainly highly speculative" and "I simply can't tell whether it makes sense or not".

It is interesting to note that other reviews were less favourable, if not outright hostile. New Scientist's deputy editor Graham Lawton characterised Science Set Free as "woolly credulousness" and chided Sheldrake for "uncritically embracing all kinds of fringe ideas". A review in Philosophy Now called the book "disturbingly eccentric", combining "a disorderly collage of scientific fact and opinion with an intrusive yet disjunctive metaphysical programme"

It is interesting to speculate why do some unorthodox scientific theories attract such vehement ridicule, while others are merely contentious? From adaptive mutation to psi phenomena to water memory to UFOs, from plant consciousness to Sheldrake's morphic resonance, these exceptions to the rule in science point to a transition from the existing materialistic paradigm to one that eventually might embrace them. However, these controversial viewpoints suggest a universe in which intelligence, purpose, and consciousness are not under the exclusive ownership of human beings, thus challenging a key pillar of traditional dualistic thinking. It is hardly surprising therefore that because they pose such an ideological and psychological threat, these theories tend to provoke a backlash that is often more emotional than intellectual. It is worth being in mind that in April 2008, Sheldrake was stabbed by a man during a lecture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The man told a reporter that he thought Sheldrake had been using him as a "guinea pig" in telepathic mind control experiments for over five years. Sheldrake suffered a wound to the leg and has since recovered while his assailant was found "guilty but mentally ill"

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


The Fourth Way
The Fourth Way
Price: £1.84

5.0 out of 5 stars The most complete collection -- over 400 pages in print -- of the ideas taught by P D Ouspensky, 25 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Fourth Way (Kindle Edition)
'The Fourth Way' is the most complete collection -- over 400 pages in print -- of the ideas taught by P D Ouspensky subsequent to his break with his one time mentor: G I Gurdjieff. It is an engrossing and brilliant work based on verbatim records from the year 1921 to 1946 and develops the material set forth in Ouspensky's earlier book: 'In Search of the Miraculous'.

For those unfamiliar with the work of these two men, a brief history of their remarkable lives may be of interest.
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff was born in Alexandropol, then part of the Russian empire, sometime between January 13, 1866 and November 28, 1877; his exact birthdate, like the man himself, is something of a mystery.
His father was Greek, his mother was Armenian. After extensive travelling, much of it in early life, he became an influential spiritual teacher who argued that most people live their lives in a robot like condition, in a low state of awareness, akin to hypnosis, which he called "waking sleep". He did, however, insist but that it is possible to escape this mechanicalness and transcend to a higher level of consciousness and hence achieve one's full potential. Gurdjieff developed a system to realize this goal which consisted on `working on oneself', largely through accurate self-observation to recognize one's innate mechanicalness, self-remembering to awaken one's consciousness and non-expression of negative emotions so as not to dissipate energy. In order for this type of spiritual work to proceed correctly, his approach required a special type of environment or school. His method differed from the traditional paths of the fakir, monk or yogi and so was called the `Fourth Way' or the `Way of the Cunning Man.' Gurdjieff also described his teaching as being "esoteric Christianity."
During the course of his life, Gurdjieff started and closed down various schools of the Fourth Way in different parts of the world, the first of which appears to have been in Moscow. He seems to have enjoyed varying degrees of success. The origin of his esoteric teaching is disputed. Gurdjieff claimed that it was essentially an oral tradition, an ancient wisdom which he had encountered it during his prolific travels.

P D Ouspensky was born in Moscow on 5 March 1878 and grew up among the Russian intelligentsia of his day. From an early age, he seemed frequently to experience a sense of the fundamental unreality of the world around him and a feeling that `I have been here before.' Not surprisingly therefore, he was deeply struck by the Nietzsche's concept of `Eternal Recurrence' when he encountered this concept in his adolescence. Indeed, the idea that we repeatedly live the through same embodiment appears to have become something of an obsession; for instance, it features in Ouspensky's strange auto-biographical novel: `The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin.'
Ouspensky became a successful journalist and travelled extensively in both Europe and the United States between 1908 and 1912, during which time he appears to have undergone a profound mystical experience, a sensation so powerful that it was to influence the rest of his life. He rose to celebrity status after his book, a philosophical treatise: `Tertium Organum' was published in 1912; it became a best seller. His reputation was further enhanced by `A New Model of the Universe' which appeared in 1914. In the same year, he realised his ambition to travel to India. He seemed intent on finding an esoteric school of `real' philosophical knowledge and a master teacher. He finally appeared to have succeeded upon return to Moscow in 1915 where he met up with Gurdjieff.
Ouspensky subsequently studied the Gurdjieff System under the latter's personal supervision for a period of some ten years until 1924 after which they separated when Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France. Ouspensky, for his part, set up his own organization in London: The Society for the Study of Normal Psychology which subsequently became known as the Study Society. Nevertheless, he wrote about his time with Gurdjieff in a book originally entitled Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. It was published posthumously in 1947 under the title: In Search of the Miraculous.

The 'Fourth Way' gives a lucid explanation of the practical side of Gurdjieff's esoteric system and provides a path for inner spiritual development to be followed in the ordinary conditions of life of the Western householder as distinct from the three traditional ways that call for retirement from the world - those of the Fakir, Monk and Yogi. I highly recommend it.

It was Ouspensky's specific task to put together the raw material of Gurdjieff's teaching into a systemic whole and transmit these ideas by means of lectures and talks, many of them in London through the Study Society which Ouspensky founded.
Whereas Ouspensky first major book: 'Tertium Organum' dealt with new ways of thinking, 'The Fourth Way' deals with new ways of living. With his answers -- in 16 chapters -- to a wide range of questions from his students, Ouspensky displays characteristic clarity, simplicity and sureness. The book is a precious guide to those who are seeking a true but by no means easy guide to inner spiritual growth. Readers should not be put off by Gurdjieff's apparently bizarre ideas about Cosmology, particularly in relation to the so called: 'feeding of the moon'. There is good reason to believe that these notions were not meant to be taken literally and were designed to shake his students out of the confines of their habitual ways of thinking -- to wake them up.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the work of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, I would also recommend that they first try 'The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution'. Published after Ouspensky's death, it is much more concise introduction -- less than 100 pages in print -- to this extraordinary philosophy of life.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


Dead Man's Grip (Roy Grace 7)
Dead Man's Grip (Roy Grace 7)
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Start of a downward spiral, 24 Sep 2014
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I have to admit that I found the seventh outing of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace to be rather disappointing and the first indication, in my opinion, of a downward spiral in Peter James's police procedural thrillers set in Brighton. This novel is not nearly as good as the previous ones in the series . In common with other reviewers, I found the plot is be highly unlikely and formulaic. I struggled to complete this book and was way past caring towards the end to such an extent that I gave up on Roy Grace completely for a few years. This was until I decided to dip in again with the 2014 offering: 'Want You Dead' which I bought as an audiobook recently ... and wished I hadn't bothered.

I appreciate that in common with all of the well known crime writers: Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, P D James, Jo Nesbo etc., Peter James appears to have focussed pretty much exclusively on just one main character: Roy Grace in his case. A reliable product for a ready made fan base is, no doubt, essential for success but that said, there seems to be a tendency with all of these writers to eventually lose the originality, freshness that came with the creative impulse ... and a downward trajectory into recycling -- the same old, same old thing. To my mind, this propensity is particularly noticeable in Peter James's case. Sadly, his Roy Grace novels have become too irritating to read ... or to listen to.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


Piece of My Heart
Piece of My Heart
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars The 16th outing for DCI Alan Banks - one of the best yet, 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Piece of My Heart (Kindle Edition)
'Piece of My Heart' is the 16th outing for DCI Alan Banks and is arguably the best yet.
Peter Robinson succeeds in cleverly interweaving two murder investigations, one in the past, one in the present and further enhances his reputation as one of the best British crime writers, right up there with Ian Rankin and P D James.

This is a expertly written and well crafted novel ... recommended.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


The Snowman: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 5)
The Snowman: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 5)
Price: £2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Another well written Scandinavian crime thriller from Jo Nesbo, 23 Sep 2014
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'The Snowman' is the fifth in a sequence of police stories set in modern day Scandinavia featuring the larger than life and seemingly perpetually drunk, Oslo's very own: Detective Harry Hole.

This time, Harry investigates the disappearance of two young women and fears that they may well have been murdered by the same man. As the investigation unfolds and Harry closes in, he is unaware that he is about to be confronted by a serial killer who will drive the brilliant but erratic detective to the brink of insanity.

This is another well crafted thriller, set in Norway, by possibly the best of the contemporary Scandinavia crime writers.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


The Redeemer: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 4): 6
The Redeemer: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 4): 6
Price: £2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Another well written crime thriller set in Norway from Jo Nesbo, 23 Sep 2014
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'The Redeemer' is the fourth in a sequence of police stories set in modern day Norway and featuring Oslo's brilliant but erratic detective: Harry Hole.

This time, a singer at a Christmas concert is shot dead ... without apparent motive. The dysfunctional Harry and his team are called in to investigate with little to go on ... no immediate suspect and no weapon.
Unaware that the victim has fallen foul of an assassination attempt gone wrong, Harry finds that his troubles have only just begun as the highly proficient killer determines to rectify his mistake and finish the job.
This is well written crime thriller in which the author leaves no stone unturned in his latest excursion into the depths of human depravity.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 3)
The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 3)
Price: £2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A well written police thriller set in modern day Oslo, 23 Sep 2014
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The Devil's Star is the third in a sequence of stories, set in modern day Norway, which highlight the exploits of Jo Nesbo's Detective Harry Hole who is assigned to investigate the murder of a young woman in her Oslo flat. One finger has been removed from her left hand and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a pentagram -- the Devil's Star -- has been hidden behind her eyelid.

This baffling case brings the dysfunctional Harry into contention once again with his long-time adversary and rival fellow Detective: the super smooth Tom Waaler. Initially, Harry wants no part in the investigation and is already on notice to quit the force on account of his drink problem. And to make matters worse, his relationship with the lovely Rakel and her young son: Oleg has been comprised by his erratic behaviour. However, he is given no alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and give it his all as he comes to realise that a wave of similar killings is about to unfold. An emerging pattern of clues point to the work of a serial killer and that the five pointed Devil's Star is the key to establishing identity and motive.
This is book is a well written and pacy thriller; Nesbo is adept in exploring dark recesses, depraved behaviour and emotional complications in this latest tale of Nordic angst.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


Norton Internet Security 2011, 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC)
Norton Internet Security 2011, 3 Computers, 1 Year Subscription (PC)

3.0 out of 5 stars Appears to do the job without any fuss or bother., 22 Sep 2014
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I encountered no problems with the installation and use of this product -- or its later variants -- on any of my machines, none of which have ever shown any indication of disruption due to a virus. I think it's a safe bet to assume that Norton Internet Security does want it says on the tin.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


A New Model of the Universe
A New Model of the Universe
Price: £2.63

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting books ever written, 22 Sep 2014
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'A New Model of the Universe' is, in the opinion of this reviewer, one of the most interesting books ever published and arguably the author's finest work. The original version was written by Ouspensky in 1914 with a second edition in 1934 and a third in 1938 that appear to include refinements to his ideas subsequent to his time with Gurdjieff. This book is encyclopaedic and covers a wide range of subjects ranging from Esoteric philosophy, Yoga, the nature of dreams and hypnotism and, perhaps most importantly, to the new Physics where the author reveals himself to be a thinker many years ahead of his time.

There is an important section on 'Experimental Mysticism in which Ouspensky recounts his experiences of drug induced higher states of consciousness in which he challenges our everyday common sense view of reality. Elsewhere, he has interesting things to say about the paranormal including clairvoyance, trance states and communication with dead.
There is an interesting chapter in which he vividly describes his impressions of such marvels as the Sphinx, the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal encountered during his extensive travels in search for the miraculous.
To my mind, the most interesting part of the book is Ouspensky's views, supplemented with a detailed mathematical explanation, on eternal recurrence, an idea first propounded by Pythagoras and the Buddha. It's mind blowing stuff.
Controversial throughout, the author considers the issue of sex in the last chapter and develops a final thought provoking line of argument in connection with its place in the spiritual evolution of man.

This book is by no means an easy read at times but is filled with some of the most original ideas I have ever encountered. I first came across it in my late twenties and, having returned to it in later life, have been astonished to find that it has lost none of its power or relevance to the 21st century -- quite the opposite if anything.

For those unfamiliar with his background, Peter D Ouspensky was born in Moscow on 5 March 1878 and grew up among the Russian intelligentsia of his day. He became a successful journalist and travelled extensively in both Europe and the United States between 1908 and 1912, during which time he appears to have undergone a profound mystical experience, a sensation so powerful that it was to influence the rest of his life. He rose to celebrity status after his book, a philosophical treatise: `Tertium Organum' was published in 1912; it became a best seller. His reputation was further enhanced by `A New Model of the Universe' which appeared in 1914 and a compelling autobiography written as a novel: 'The Strange Life of Ian Osokin'. In the same year, he realised his ambition to travel to India. Ouspensky seemed intent on finding an esoteric school of `real' philosophical knowledge and a master teacher. He finally appeared to have succeeded upon returning to Moscow in 1915 where he met up with Gurdjieff.

Ouspensky subsequently studied the Gurdjieff System under the latter's personal supervision for a period of some ten years until 1924 after which they separated when Gurdjieff founded his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in France. Ouspensky, for his part, set up his own organization in London: The Society for the Study of Normal Psychology which subsequently became known as the Study Society.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


Flight Simulator X - Gold Edition (PC)
Flight Simulator X - Gold Edition (PC)
Offered by Digitalville UK
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant software package, 20 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a brilliant software package which enables you to quickly come to terms with the fundamental principles and flying requirements for all manner of all of fixed and rotary aircraft. A vast range of different flying scenarios is on offer. The training material for the novice pilot is particularly good and helps to rapidly build your confidence.
Highly recommended.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1


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