PARAPSYCHOLOGY AND THE NATURE OF LIFE by John L. Randall

PARAPSYCHOLOGY AND THE NATURE OF LIFE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This enthusiastic endorsement of ESP begins with a pious rehash of the science-vs.-religion debate--pious because the author thinks that with the dethronement of Victorian Christianity came most of the evils of 20th-century life, from Auschwitz to anomie. (No mention of what atrocities continue in the name of religious dogma.) Part II is a where-we-stand-now statement beginning with anecdotes and endless variations on those card-guessing games. Things pick up a bit with a discussion of criticism and experimenter bias, and the observation that ESP powers tend to decline in repeated tests. Fraud is admitted as a cause only once in the case of the recent researcher at the Institute of Parapsychology. This section concludes with some bizarre plant and animal psi experiments which even the author finds lamentable. Part III--the most readable--is an attempt to resolve scientific reductionism (exemplified by Jacques Monod) with the opposition (represented by Arthur Koestler). Randall's solution is to posit the existence of mind and matter in dualistic interaction. The larger mind (as opposed to the individual mind) is the creative force moving toward better things, and we witness its interaction With matter any time we observe ESP. Even though mind-matter interaction is not exactly a new idea, the author does bring to light the internal dialogues among contemporary biologists about the origin of life and the growth of complexity.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row