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Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions (English Edition)
 
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Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

James Randi , Isaac Asimov

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In this book, Randi explores and exposes what he believes to be the outrageous deception that has been promoted widely in the media. Unafraid to call researchers to account for their failures and impostures, Randi tells us that we have been badly served by scientists who have failed to follow the procedures required by their training and traditions. Here, he shows us how what he views as sloppy research has been followed by rationalizations of evident failures, and we see these errors and misrepresentations clearly pointed out. Mr. Randi provides us with a compelling and convincing document that will certainly startle and enlighten all who read it.

The Kindle Edition features a new preface by James Randi.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 5836 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 342 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Editeur : James Randi Educational Foundation (17 avril 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004X6U5DY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  112 commentaires
154 internautes sur 163 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Not Amazing, but Pretty Good 3 septembre 2004
Par Jonah Cohen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
James Randi is well renowned as one of the world's most prominent skeptics, as well he should be. He has offered a million dollar prize to anyone who can prove in scientifically controlled tests that they possess some kind of paranormal power. Go figure, no one has ever been able to do so, and most self-proclaimed psychics, diviners etc have simply refused to be tested. A common excuse is that 'negative vibrations/energy' from non-believers interfers with their 'powers'. Translation: "I can prove I can do anything... as long as it's only to people who are already firmly convinced that I can."

This book's most interesting sections include accounts of some people who have tried to claim this prize, and often descriptions of the trickery they tried to pull. Famous scams and flim-flammery are also discussed. The perpetrators range from the honestly mistaken, to those manipulated by others (including children) to the deluded to the knowing liars. It's not a read that will lift your opinion of humanity, but it's well worth reading.

The book is not without its flaws. Randi is correctly portrayed as pissed off - and given the insistent idiocy he deals with, perhaps that's no surprise. The topics veer through a hodgepodge of the allegedly paranormal, making it read a little too episodic. At times, the prose gets dry. For example, the chapter on the Cottingly Faeries goes into technical details about cameras, which I had a tough time understanding.

Worth noting are some false claims that negative reviewers have made on Amazon. Randi does NOT maintain a dogmatic insistance that all paranormal claims are false. He bases his belief that such claims are hooey not on faith, but on evidence, having seen many (many, many) which are false, and none that have proven true. That's merely rational thinking. He does not claim "There are no paranormal powers and I can prove it." One cannot prove a negative like that. [Quick: can you play the tuba? Can you PROVE to me that you can't?] Moreover, the burden of proof does not lie with him. If I say I can fly like Superman, you say I can't... who do you think should be assumed correct barring evidence about my claim?

This book is a good one for those who value rational thinking. There are others that are better written (To name just a few: Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World", Robert Park's "Voodoo Science" and Randi's own, more focused "The Faith Healers") but I still give it high marks.
94 internautes sur 101 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Few stones left unturned... 15 septembre 2002
Par Timothy P. Scanlon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I formerly referred to another book available from Amazon.com as a great primer for those challenging New Age nonsense and other contemporary fads. A fellow skeptic challenged that claim saying this one is better. I agree!
Randi exposes more foolishness than any other of the texts I've read, from Arthur Conan Doyle and his taste for fairies, to the Maharishi to UFOs. And he's not subtle about his distaste for it. Granted, he does give credit to those who really believe in their craft. For instance, there are dousers and the like who really believe they're gifted with the talent for the bizarre. There are others, however, who are simply crooks who've lined up a gullible public with their credit cards. I actually appreciate Randi's powerful attitudes. Why get so "political" as to soft pedal crooks? He doesn't.
The book is a good primer because it covers so many subjects, and because it describes the reasoning process. Sure there'll be the people who dispute his findings. But one will convince them of nothing. At least the reasoning process illustrated by this volume will convince those capable of reason.
The ONLY reason I don't give it 5 stars is that some of the samples he gave would be better illustrated on a stage or a show; it was a bit difficult for me to follow them in writing.
Aside from that, I think this should probably be required reading for, say, high school seniors, those particularly prone to the charlatans of silly New Age fads and other quackery. But anyone wondering about such fads could gain a great deal from Randi's prose.
90 internautes sur 98 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lunatics, Frauds, and Suckers 31 décembre 1996
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I saw a TV show about James Randi recently. In one scene, he visited a college classroom, posing as an expert astrologer. He had prepared, he told the class, detailed individual horoscopes based on each student's birthdate and birthplace. The students read these horoscopes, then rated their accuracy on a scale of 1-5. One student gave his horoscope a 4. Every other horoscope got a 5. The students were amazed: astrology worked! Randi then had them look at each other's horoscopes. Cries of outrage filled the room. All of the horoscopes were exactly the same. They had nothing whatsoever to do with birthdates, or birthplaces, or any particular student.
This book is full of such examples. Randi uses them, and scientific data, and consistently careful analysis of facts, to show that such ideas as astrology, biorhythms, transcendental meditation, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, ESP, and psychic surgery are, quite simply, nonsense. In 1964, he offered $10,000 to anyone who could demonstrate a paranormal power under satisfactory observational conditions. As of the 1982 publication date, over 650 people had tried for the reward, none successfully. Some of the attempts are described in this book. Funny how psychics who have "demonstrated" the ability to bend metal rods by will power can't do it anymore when they are no longer allowed to wander out of the room with the rods during the experiment!
A theme throughout the book is that people who want to believe something will accept the most absurd rationalizations in order to continue to believe it, in spite of overwhelming contradictory evidence. At the beginning of his chapter on psychic surgery, Randi quotes William Cowper: "To follow foolish precedents, and wink / With both our eyes, is easier than to think." A similar theme arises in Langdon Gilkey's "Shantung Compound", about Gilkey's experiences as a prisoner of war (see my review). Observing "moral" internees rationalize stealing food from each other, Gilkey concluded that the greatest power of the human brain is not to reason, but to rationalize doing whatever the brain's owner wants to do. For other examples of this phenomenon, read anything by a "Creation Scientist".
Unfortunately, Randi is a professional magician, not a professional writer. His sentences are not always clear, and he does not always cite references where they would be appropriate. But his observations are insightful, and his writing is entertaining. James Randi is a compassionate man, fighting a good fight.
36 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Won't Get Fooled Again... 24 octobre 2000
Par Patrick Burnett - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Come closer, dear reader. I, the amazing psychic Patriki, will tell you all about yourself. You are a skeptic. You do not believe in the claims of phony psychics (those unlike the great Patriki), spoonbenders or UFO researchers. You do not believe in the powers of the Bermuda Triangle. You are a rational person.
Good for you. James Randi's "Flim Flam!" is a fairly well-written and well-researched expose of some of this century's greatest con artists and their self-deceived cousins. Each chapter focuses on a different case, describing in detail the flim-flammer's case, then picking it apart claim by claim. And herein lies the problem. Randi is a methodical, detailed man, well versed in scientific method. He also seems to like the sound of his own typewriter, never using a single paragraph when five will do.
I underwent the same phenomenon during each chapter I read. At first, I was deeply interested. As I continued reading, I kept flipping to the end of the chapter to see how much more of Randi's grandstanding I had to put up with. "And then I did this!" "And then I did that!" Couple this with his penchant for melodrama and his tendency to address the subjects of his exposes by name ("Yes, Mr. Geller, it means exactly that!")and you have a pretty odd book. I understand his desire to be complete, but if you call your book "Flim Flam!" (with the exclamation point), one assumes you are writing a book to entertain first and inform second. Otherwise, you would call your book "An Investigation into the Validity of Paranormal Claims", so people would expect a book full of dry scientific lab notes.
In the end, of course, I cannot fault Randi for being thorough, as it is this quality that allows him to prove his point. And most of the book is extremely entertaining. It saddens me that the only people who will read it and get anything from it are people like you and I, who are already convinced.
44 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Flim-flam, flummery and the fools that feed them. 26 août 2004
Par Jean E. Pouliot - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
As a professional magician, James Randi is the perfect person to see through the frauds and phonies who make a good living gulling the public. "Flim-Flam" deliciously exposes the flummeries of fakes like Uri Geller, Erich von Daniken, the Bermuda Triangle, psychic surgeons and meditation gurus - often with simple logic, facts and duplications of their "miracles." Compare Randi's homegrown picture of a levitator (really a teenager frozen in the middle of a trampoline bounce by a strobe flash) with the grainy and blurry "proof" of a TM levitation. You'll soon realize not only that Randi's shot is more expertly done, but how ridiculously easy it is to fake the "impossible."

After years of catching humbugs in the act, Randi gets caustic at times. But seeing the straightforward way he catches fakes is well worth the discomfort. People who claim to read blindfolded suddenly lose their abilities when Randi seals the crack in the blindfold with zinc oxide. Dowsers who swear they can find a steady flow of water flowing through a pipe six inches underground wander aimlessly and hilariously off the mark. Psychokinetic kids are caught on videotape using their hands to bend metal bars supposedly bent with brain power. The list of psychic gotchas goes on and on.

Randi exposes not only tricksters but also the fools who need to believe them. That includes scientists who think their awesome academic achievements make them impervious to deception. Reading "Flim Flam" is an education -- about people who go to not-so-great lengths to persuade others of their supposed powers, and more importantly, about the limits of human powers of perception. After all, without the flim-flammable, flim-flammers would soon go out of business. Rationality owes Randi a debt of gratitude for this book and for his life's work of exposing falsehood.
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"There has not been a single properly designed, properly conducted experiment that has proven the existence of any paranormal power." &quote;
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Once an individual, especially a fairly bright one, latches onto a belief system that offers comfort and universal answers, then nature has provided him with innumerable mechanisms to avoid facing up to discomforting challenges to that belief. &quote;
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Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. &quote;
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