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Book Club > "Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There" by Richard Wiseman - general discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

We'll be reading Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There by Richard Wiseman through the end of February.

This thread can be used to give book reviews as well as for a general discussion of the book. Please feel free to start a new discussion in the book club folder if you'd like to focus on specific aspects of or ideas from the book.

Paranormality Why We See What Isn't There by Richard Wiseman

message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin (miss_eepy) | 8 comments I just downloaded this to my Kindle, and I'm excited to read it and find out why we (or some people anyway) see what isn't there.

message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin (miss_eepy) | 8 comments I'm really enjoying this book so far. It's humorous and informative. I like the quizzes too -- I learned that I'm an excellent judge of character :)

message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin (miss_eepy) | 8 comments Chapter 2 (out-of-body experiences) reminded me of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife and Sam Harris's wonderful response (which was previously posted in this forum here: ). It also made me wonder about the soul . I realized several years ago that I no longer believed in the human soul -- as an extension of no longer believing in Jesus, God, or an afterlife. Wiseman does an excellent job explaining how we know where we are, but how do we know who we are -- personality, preferences, emotions, etc? Also, I'd be interested in a fuller discussion of near-death experiences .

message 5: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 98 comments i enjoyed the first chapter about fortune-telling. out of idle curiosity or spurred on by friends or family, i've had my palm read; consulted psychics and tarot readers; and had one aunt that read cards and tea leaves and another aunt that had a crystal ball. because i'm skeptical of all this nonsense, they never got a good reading on me (and that includes my aunts.) apparently, i wasn't giving them the feedback required.

message 6: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 98 comments i'm enjoying this book much more than i expected. in chapter 2 about out-of-body experiences there's quite a lot about perception and how your brain can be fooled into thinking that you are not in your own body. very interesting stuff. i've heard a couple stories on Radiolab that add nicely to these experiments:

this is an episode about phantom limbs and the mirror-box that's talked about in the book:

and this story is about a man who is no longer receiving feedback from his body. in other words, when you touch something, there's a feedback loop from your hand to your brain. your brain perceives that you are touching something. this man has lost that ability, and so he has to maintain complete concentration when performing any simple tasks: for instance, when walking he has to pay attention to when his foot touches and he can roll his weight forward and lift the back foot. he's adjusted to this quite well, except that sometimes he stumbles when a beautiful woman walks by.

really interesting stuff -- our brains are so amazing!

message 7: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 98 comments what are the rest of you thinking about this book?

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