SUPERMINDS: A Scientist Looks at the Paranormal by John Taylor

SUPERMINDS: A Scientist Looks at the Paranormal

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Taylor, a mathematician at King's College, demonstrates with precision that a scientist looking is not the same thing as a scientific look. His supposed focus is the Uri Geller metal-bending phenomenon (the bending and breaking of forks, spoons, latchkeys, copper rods, etc., either under gentle manual stroking or with no physical contact at all) and telepathic feats like the drawing of pictures projected by ""senders."" He dwells on the need for system and objectivity, but keeps wandering off on fuzzily reported cases (one fears there can hardly be a spoon intact in the United Kingdom) and getting into other manifestations of the occult (poltergeists, psychic healers, mediums). His organization is unfortunately of the sort which cannot get an argument moving without the most exhausting efforts. Thus his attempt to survey various alternative explanations in terms of the ""four forces"" of nature and the molecular structure of metals turns out to be an unnecessary escalation of mental clutter. The final ""explanation,"" when it comes, is disappointingly tentative and meager in proportion to all those preliminaries: the brain may act a a receiver and transmitter of low-frequency electromagnetic signals which may set up movements of dislocations in the metal until enough dislocations have coalesced to generate fractures. The illustrations are a major drawback--an uncritical assemblage of materials ranging from microphotography of metal structures to the departed spirit of Queen Astrid of the Belgians, clad in saintly white, reappearing photogenically at a seance. As for Geller, our own theory runs to an intergalactic connection in runcible spoons.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1975
Publisher: Viking