I thought it was thought-provoking, even-handed and honest. I like his open-mindedness, I like his critical thinking skills, and I like the heart he brings to the project. What's especially interesting about her story is the promise of the paranormal and the warning contained in her story. In the end, she sacrificed her penultimate findings for the greater good, and went on to change the practice of medicine forever. Sometimes, we are simply found wanting. This is not a world of binary opposites.
I expected to read that chapter, and then return to the book I was in the process of reading. So it is with that background that I began reading, at my wife's suggestion, this book. I expected to read that chapter, and then return to the book I was in the process of reading. Although well written, Volk's antipathies obviously lie with the anti-science crowd. This wasn't news to me, but it was good to see a journalist document it. I tried to meet up with him one weekend, but he was occupied.
Volk argues that the world needs far more humility; people should be open to a more nuanced view of life, less black and white. He really doesn't take a hard stand on any of it, just calls it like he saw it. I think that that's a perfectly logical way to look at it, and this book gave me a lot of food for thought. On the other hand, I'm a writer who almost exclusively read fantasy well into his 20s. He is an excellent reporter and I get that he wanted to inject himself into the story to lend a little more credibility to his subject matter there are just a few moments of disconnect that take the reader out of the world he's guiding us through. The book teaches us that we should never be duped by outrageous claims, but that by staying open we may have more opportunity to consider what really happens in our mysterious world.
It's a realm rich in acronym. In my memory, he is a larger-than-life reporter, the kind of aggressive, hard-nosed guy who laughs in the face of danger. A scientist I am not. A scientist I am not. I left my childhood religion informally at 23 or so and then formally at 34 at the same time I came out of the closet. I think the basic premise of science - is it verifiable and repeatable - is where we should be, and where this book falls short. Based on what we know, that makes sense.
But we can still dream, think and explore. Volk's strength is his journalism-honed narrative detail and the personal pull of the vibrant people he describes, and he shows through example that there is always more to any tale than meets the eye. He sets out to explore what we know, and what we don't know, about the world. This cautionary tale underscores the complexities of these phenomena, which resist easy categorisation, and stresses the importance of following a middle path. The popular discussion tends to conflate the separate issues of organised religion, psi, spirituality and God, when in fact for instance numerous parapsychologists are atheists. Fantasy is also what I like to write. But even with a family-ghost story lurking in his own background, seasoned journalist Steve Volk has been like most of those millions of Americans—reticent to talk about his experience in polite company.
He wanted to put the first boots on the ground. This book is going to to upset your amygadala. I'm eager to learn more about it, as I've experienced it once since first hearing of it, but that's a topic for another time. Psychological methodology is not the same as physics methodology. Volk, with good storytelling and very engaging prose, tells tales from various places where unbelievable things have happened. He chased scoops with a singular verve. The object lit up brightly, then flashed across the sky and vanished.
I shrieked with excitement and shock. And that maybe the other side knows a little more than we want to admit. I'd like to believe in an afterlife, but I'm also not interested in fooling myself. Although billing himself as a skeptic, Volk does not seem to understand that a 'skeptic' is a person who wants evidence to form conclusions. The amygdala is the part of the brain that allows people to hold onto a comfortable worldview even when they are repeatedly presented with facts that undermine that worldview. I gobbled this book up.
What was your view when you read this book? He also does not profess or belie any particular belief in paranormal events and activities, but seeks throughout the book to suggest that the extremes of society - believers and skeptics, mystics and scientists, rationalists and the religious - should all keep an open mind and recognize that there are unexplained manifestations that are just that: unexplained. However legitimate and interesting her personal experiences had been, they eventually led her to divorce and then falling in with a medium who later turned out to be a simple con-man. It's true that some people believe in God and lucid dreaming and ghosts, and it's true that some don't. Volk explains this kind of behavior as occurring because people feel threatened when a belief about the meaning of life, which they rely on to feel safe, is threatened by new ideas. What a happy surprise to find such a readable, entertaining, non-biased account of several of the more controversial fields in fringe science. I say this not to disclose angle I am approaching this review from, but to illustrate one of Volk's key points. Were they a top secret military experiment? Then he shows us how extreme viewpoints on either side stymie those who attempt to research these phenomena and gives us examples of people who approach the subject with a more open, critical, exploratory state of mind.
Fringe-ology is not the book I expected of him, and I enjoy that fact. Order with multiple titles may receive several packages to fill the entire order. In literary nonfiction, however, I found a way to satisfy my urge to write creatively without going through the messy business of imagining all the details. Fringe-ology reads like what it is, a series of investigative reports by an experienced newspaper reporter, with no obvious pre-conceptions on what he should find. Skeptics dismiss them and New Agers insist they are all true, but Volk teaches us to stand in the middle and suspend our disbelief, without swallowing anything whole.