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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Expose Of ESP Hoaxers - Fooling Scientists, 3 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Flim-Flam: The Truth about Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions (Paperback)
Flim Flam, as the subtitle says, is about other delusions, and how James Randi investigates and exposes the tricks, frauds and fakery in the field of Psychic "Research". This field is really the wrestling arena for the con-artists who live by hype - either by fooling scientists, or in collusion with the pseudoscientists who live by money conned from good Samaritans, us - the tax payers and consumers and scientists of the normal. The Bermuda Triangle, Biorhythm, photos of fairies, ghosts and kirlia, levitation, pyramid power, Mayan visitors from outer space, tele-what-nots, TM and Z-rays are some of the "other delusions" exposed in this book. We know that these are bunk. But how do we convince our friends that they are? Give them this book. Show them how any of those so called psychic phenomena cannot stand the test of any skeptic with scientific approach which does not preclude the possibility of fraud or delusion or both. James Randi is the hit man of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and in this book you get an idea of how hard it is pull those punches.
Besides hundreds of names of people, places and institutions associated with these frauds, details from correspondence, this book has photos and diagrams of the hoax-rooms where the paranormal fakers did hoodwink and unnerve the rationality of the respectable scientists. The charts that were designed to fool the custodians of money - to be wasted through the propagation of pseudoscience of para-psychology and pollute the minds of the future generations of Americans with pure non-sense, the money that has been lost by genuine scientific and medical research - such charts have also been included in this book.
Issac Asimov in his introduction to this book rightly says, "Folly and Fakery has never before been dangerous as it is now" and that we therefore more than ever be grateful to Randi who deserves our admiration for his courage, diligence, perseverance, and the k! een senses needed for exposing these "rascals and knaves".
Dr. Russell Targ and Dr. Harold Puthoff are the Laurel and Hardy of Psi as a chapter title appropriately describes them. Reading this chapter it becomes at once obvious that if two scientists decide to cheat other men of science, tons and tons of our money can go down the drain. The directors of monies have to come up with an explanation for the misdirected research when the skeptics expose them. Because an apology would mean personal disaster, half-truths, rationalization, lies, damned lies, and, to back them up, statistical charts, and so on and on, until the consumer and tax-payer believes that there must be some truth somewhere beyond his common-sense beliefs. The fact that the Stanford Research Institute has been humiliated by these clowns, is only the tip of the iceberg of harm done by hype.
The flood of betting, lotto, and related software in the market is but the natural outcome of the pseudo-science of psi sanctified by misguided scientists who cannot tell the "law" of chances of mathematics from the laws of the physical world and believe that it can somehow determine the outcome of the roll of the dice, and their shortcut to fortune. If one just remembers that the people who sell such wares did not make money by the techniques they sell, but only by perpetuating wishful thought of the gullible, one would not be in that category any longer. Since the year 1964, Randi's Challenge to offer to pay $10,000 to any person who can demonstrate that she has any kind of paranormal power under fraud proof conditions still remains open. In chapter 13 Randi gives the details of this challenge and the conditions. The conditions can be obtained from him by sending a self addressed stamped envelope. To quote Randi "In response to that challenge, over 650 persons have applied as claimant. Only 54 (as of this writing) ever made it past the preliminaries, and none of them ever got a nickel.
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