J.G. Keely's Reviews > Dancing Naked in the Mind Field

Dancing Naked in the Mind Field by Kary Mullis
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Jul 03, 2007

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bookshelves: non-fiction, science, reviewed, autobiographical, america
Read in January, 2000

From a consummate genius; developer of PCR; a bit of a strange man. It was lovely to see a person with a passionate and intelligent vision of the world, whose sense of joy and rationality led him down unexpected and influential paths; one of which led to a Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, there is also a cautionary tale in this: that no matter how ensconced one is in the rational process, it is easy to be 'caught up'.

Mullis reference several drug-based and sober experiences which support certain beliefs of his in ESP and extraterrestrials. Now, let me for a moment state that my skepticism comes not from a disbelief, nor of a desire to disprove. Quite the opposite: the reason I am a skeptic is because I deeply wish such things to be true. It is often difficult to deal with the wanton desire to believe, especially amongst close friends and lovers; not because it seems ignorant and conflictive, but because it so closely mirrors my own desires.

However, there is another desire in me which burns hotter: a desire to move toward the truth and not to lose myself in the ease of disillusionment. Hypocrisy and belief for the sake of identity are entirely destructive and selfish acts, and despite seeming harmless, have long-reaching ramifications.

Mullis, despite his vast knowledge of the scientific method and of what must be shown and indicated, nevertheless falls into an easy comfort with coincidence and possible-self delusion without recognizing the simplicity with which the human mind may bias itself.

Then again, there is a point where one takes scientific opinion (and even knowledge) and fortifies them with a staunch sense of belief that turns science into a pointless belief. Science is what it is because of what can be proven or disproven by any of its participants, not by the odd politics and personal opinions which fence it in.

Of course, Mullis seems to have pulled in the other direction; and in his defense, he relies ever on the position of unknowing to hedge himself. However, his enthusiasm and wonder cannot but show the ease with which we may send ourselves on way or another on the barest of evidence and the vastest desire that It Be So.

Here is a lovely article on the topic: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/journ...
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