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Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  119 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials, social critic Wendy Kaminer illuminates the various ways in which society has come to value emotion over reason, faith over fact, and argues that declarations of intense belief have largely taken the place of rational discourse. In a world in which "How do you feel," seems to be a more frequently asked question than "What do you know," ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published 1999 by Pantheon Books
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Mar 14, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-affairs
“The contrary willingness to accept untested personal testimony as public truth is at the heart of the irrationalism that confronts us today. . . Generally, the only proof offered for a fantastic belief is the passion it inspires in believers.” Kaminer’s new book decries the influence that irrational belief has on public policy. In the introduction she humorously ridicules her going to a homeopath, recognizing that it has no scientific validity, and she knows the result is due to the placebo eff ...more
Jan 19, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Joel Osteen book listed on Goodreads has 616 ratings. This book has 22. Now it has 23.

A trip to the bookstore yesterday showed Osteen's book prominently displayed -- by the door, with the bestsellers, etc. There were rows and rows of self-help books, new age books, prosperity books. Over and over and over again, people find ways to market New Thought, Positive Thinking, the Law of Attraction, the Law of Reciprocity, and the Prosperity Gospel. It strikes me as peculiarly American -- see the boo
Jan 01, 2011 Meika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the most exciting skeptical treatise I've read, but so far, it's the most methodical and lucid. It's not as inflammatory as some others, which makes it less of a call-to-arms, but might make it more accessible to someone who doesn't feel like rejecting God or other things they've accepted on faith. She actually makes an accommodation for faith, which is good. Essentially, she says, "In the end, faith needs to be contained in the realm of the unknowable. It is an inapt basis for unders ...more
Nov 18, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading Kaminer because she is so intellectually honest. This book is from 1999 but she nails the therapeutic culture and foresees the college campus PC wars.
Great read. A bit outdated but I enjoyed it! I especially liked how Wendy Kaminer called BS on Deepak Chopra and other spewers of pseudoscience.

"The challenge for atheists is to make the case for not believing in God without falling into the pit of moral certainty squirming with believers."
Charlie George
I enjoy Wendy Kaminer's writing, but I waited entirely too long on this book and it dated itself. Also she's a militant agnostic, to the detriment of atheism.

Her attacks on New Age and therapeutic culture were sound and welcome.
Jul 19, 2007 Jrobertus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
she is one tough minded skeptic - i loved it. although humorous, the description of religious fundamentalists, ufo types, and new agers surrounding us all is unsettling.
Lots of hogwash - just a random person's opinions on a vast array of topics about which she knows nothing.
May 21, 2008 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend these essays by Wendy Kaminer.
Nov 08, 2015 Devi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author raises some interesting points.
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