Diana Sandberg's Reviews > Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Spook by Mary Roach
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's review
May 25, 12

bookshelves: science-and-math, contemporary-issues
Read in January, 2012

Roach does a nice line in not-meanly-skeptical investigation and she is clearly a research junkie. She does have a dry wit, bordering in some cases on the snarky, but also a certain willingness to be convinced, with which I strongly sympathize. I found the Skeptics Society (or whatever they were called) distasteful when I attended their meetings - the odour of True Believer was every bit as rank there as in the evangelical church I attended as a teen. Closed minds on both sides. Roach, as she says, wants plausibility, but is open to finding it wherever she can. The book discusses the history of ideas about the soul and “spirit”, and goes on to check out as many claims to proof of the existence of same as she could find. I think what sets her apart from the Official Skeptics is that when she does not find proof, or plausibility, she is not gloating but rather somewhat disappointed. On the other hand, she continues to not be able to accept what is implausible and unproven. Her final brief chapter, entitled “Last Words”, is a splendid summing up and I wanted to stand and applaud as I read it.

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