• Title: Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't
  • Author: Steve Volk Andrew B. Newberg Stephen LaBerge
  • ISBN: 9780061857713
  • Page: 141
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Fringe ology How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable And Couldn t More than seventy percent of Americans believe in paranormal activity But even with a family ghost story lurking in his own background seasoned journalist Steve Volk has been like most of those milli
    More than seventy percent of Americans believe in paranormal activity 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 If so many of us have similar stories to tell, why are we so reluctant to take them seriously ParanoMore than seventy percent of Americans believe in paranormal activity 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 If so many of us have similar stories to tell, why are we so reluctant to take them seriously Paranormal claims don t traditionally sit well with reporters, but Volk decided to focus his gimlet eyed tenacity on a new beat the world of psychics, UFOs, and things that go bump in the night It s a rollicking ride as Volk introduces us to all sorts of fringe dwellers, many of them reluctant to admit to their paranormal experiences a NASA astronaut turned mystic, a world famous psychologist who taught us about dying and then decided death may not exist at all, and brave scientists attempting to verify what mystics have been reporting for millennia Volk investigates what happens in the brains of people undergoing religious experiences, learns how to control his own dreams, and goes hunting for specters in his family s old haunted house.From his journey into the bizarre, Volk returns with a compelling argument that we need to allow for a middle space, a place where paranormal phenomena can be weird and compelling raise crucial questions and, quite possibly, remain unexplainable He rejects the polarized options the twenty first century seems to offer us to passionately embrace or hotly reject, to revere only science or only spirituality And he underscores, again and again, that by raising our most existential questions why are we here, are we alone in the universe, and what happens when we die paranormal stories are in fact a crucial point of connection It turns out that these fringe experiences strike at the core of what it means to be human.

    One Reply to “Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't”

    1. I'm all for honesty. Here are some caveats:I love a good conspiracy theory, whether I believe in the events, or not.I am a total hot mess for all things supernatural, whether I believe in the events or not.I am "looking for answers" but, to paraphrase Volk, I'm also not interested in being duped and I'm OK with an "I don't know".In the past 2-3 months I've found myself delving pretty deep into modern parapsychological literature. I know my CSICOPs from my PEARs and I'm not shy about airing my (c [...]

    2. I am a skeptic. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have generally looked askance at mystical explanations for otherwise unexplained phenomena. So it is with that background that I began reading, at my wife's suggestion, this book. She thought I would like the chapter on near death experiences, the first one in the book, so I began reading the book. I expected to read that chapter, and then return to the book I was in the process of reading.I read the whole book.Steve Volk is a journalist who [...]

    3. a journalist with some of the best investigative chops in the business takes on the paranormal and comes back with some of the most compelling stories, info and perspectives on everything from ghosts to UFOs and lucid dreaming. steve volk stands out because he can turn a phrase as well as he can research a topic - and his conclusions are some of the best i've ever read about the paranormal. short and sweet review: read this. you won't be disappointed.

    4. I really tried to give this one a shot but the further I got in the book the worse it got. Don't waste your time or money on this one.'

    5. I found this to be the most well-balanced book on "paranormal" phenomena I've ever come across: true skepticism in the sense of reserving judgment and maintaining an attitude of open inquiry, rather than leaving one's mind so open that one's brains fall out on one side or demanding ever-increasing degrees of proof to overcome the closed mind ever running ahead of the continually sliding goal posts on the other. It should thus, in my opinion, be of great interest to anyone who adopts the position [...]

    6. What I liked best about this book was how the author explored the way that the media report on any issue by interviewing only a few extremists at either pole, pro and anti, and ignoring anyone who takes a more complex, balanced view of the issue, or admits that the issue's complexity does not admit to sound byte summaries. In this book Volk looks at how society approaches various phenomena lumped together under the head "paranormal." He describes what is known about various paranormal phenomena [...]

    7. I expected and hoped this book would be about all sorts of spooky supernatural stuff that would give me a good shiver. Well, it really wasn't. There was a small amount of that, but really this book was about how the unexplainable polarizes people and confounds both atheists/skeptics/scientists and believers/spiritualists/the religious. Over and over the author argues several important points -- about our own brains reinforcing these walls and these divisions, about the need to explore the unexpl [...]

    8. Although well written, Volk's antipathies obviously lie with the anti-science crowd. A careful reading will reveal that Volk does not understand scientific method or the rules of evidence, and he gives too much credence to fringe thinkers. He does not understand that antidotal evidence and statistical evidence are only a part of scientific methodology and that each science has its own interpretation and methods of analyzing data. Psychological methodology is not the same as physics methodology. [...]

    9. Based on reviews here and an interview I heard on NPR,I expected this to bedifferent. While it is obvious that Volk did his research, he often seems quite credulous. I agree with him that what seems like quack science can be, 20 years down the road, the cutting edge. Also, that we as a society need to be more open minded. But open minded doesn't mean leave the barn door open. I did like the chapters on micro vs macro quantum physics. Based on what we know, that makes sense. I did find my (as my [...]

    10. So, the amygdala is the part of your brain that makes you anxious either when you are in danger or when you are confronted with ideas that defy you understanding of the world. 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.This book is going to to upset your amygadala. And if you think the fact that you are smart, educated, informed person allows you to bypass your amyg [...]

    11. I'll start with the good, which is why this book gets 2 stars instead of just one: the chapter on lucid dreaming is pretty good. It's also featured in an excellent Radiolab episode.Now the bad: a plethora of straw men, false dichotomies, misrepresentations, and an ad hominem or two. The author does a fairly solid job of misrepresenting the scientific method, quantum mechanics, the so-called New Atheists, the skeptic community in general, and a few skeptics in specific.Overall: don't bother readi [...]

    12. A few years ago, I spotted a UFO. It was nighttime. I was standing on the bank of the Ohio River. A green triangle emerged above Mt. Washington. The object lit up brightly, then flashed across the sky and vanished. I shrieked with excitement and shock. Nobody else saw it. Since then, I love telling people about my “UFO experience,” because the event is now a harmless anecdote. When I tell the story, I always finish with the same joke: Oh, God, I thought. Now I’m going to be one of THOSE PE [...]

    13. 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. That religion, Seventh-Day Adventism, had a very specific and science fictional eschatology and world view and I realized one day after leaving it that I had to decide what my new world view was. Did I believe in anything beyond the material? Had my views on ghosts/UFOs/Leprechauns changed? Did I believe in a universe run on numerical laws or hidden stories, the plots of which h [...]

    14. It took me two tries and about six months to finally get through Steve Volk's fascinating roller coaster "Fringe-ology" and its not because its a lousy book. On the contrary, it is such a jaw dropper of a good read that I kept having to put it down just to process what I was reading.A scientist I am not. Despite having spent years upon years working in scientific journal publishing I do not know thing one about physics, earth science, biology or the countless other topics that fall under the gia [...]

    15. A veritable cornucopia of scientific trivia. More importantly,Volk's book stands as proof that there is no proven or "right" way to view the universe. So many of the religious are adamant that their faith in God or whatever is real, and everyone who feels, thinks, or does to the contrary are misleade wrong. The New Atheists, ostensibly rational thinkers like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, believe that only what we understand as proven or likely according to modern science is [...]

    16. Another book about the paranormal. Is it just a coincidence that I read "On Bullshit" the other week or are these two seemingly disconnected events related through quantum entanglement? Just kidding, the author presents a well-balanced thesis and unusually objective look into several remarkable events that - for now, at least - cannot be explained. He takes people who experience unexplained phenomena seriously, but also takes care not to be overly gullible. The paranormal experiences seem very r [...]

    17. Shake off the "Paranormal Taint" and read this book. Volk explores a wide range of topics and shows the value of approaching them with an open mind. Highlights for me were chapters on Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and "The Open Mind" which focuses on the the meditative state.Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is how Volk frames the battle between "skeptics" and "believers." With each group totally unwilling to budge from their completely static worldview, scientific research a [...]

    18. I heard about this book from an episode of Radio Lab. The Radio Lab story was specifically about lucid dreaming, which is covered in one of the later chapters of the book. Lucid dreaming is the ability to become aware that you are dreaming while the dream is happening and therefore influence the course of the dream or even the outcome. 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.Fringe-ology also touches on other pa [...]

    19. Steve Volk takes the difficult - and, I think, admirable - position that we just do not have all the answers yet. Human psychology is such that we don't sit too comfortably with uncertainty, but Volk writes that some of our greatest mistakes have come from jumping on one bandwagon or another just for the sake of feeling more secure.Volk discusses the huge number of "paranormal" (which he is quick to point out technically means "a thing we haven't discovered the scientific reason for" and does no [...]

    20. It's hard to find a book on paranormal phenomenon that isn't (1) Overtly critical or (2) Overtly accepting. Fringe-ology comes close. However, some chapters are far more compelling than others. I was especially intrigued with the chapters on NDE's, quantum consciousness, and the author's own personal ghost story. In the end, however, I don't think the author covered much new ground or established enough of a paradigm for discerning, understanding, and/or interpreting paranormal phenomenon.

    21. To be perfectly honest, I'd have given this book four stars, but I felt like I've already read its contents in various other places before. Full review: bit/ZGdLQk

    22. Not that I am big believer of such stuff, but I liked the seemingly objective way of dealing with touchy topics, particularly which lies in the gray area.

    23. It was tough going at first as the material that was of particular interest is covered in the later half of the book. But I'm glad I stuck with it. The primary take-away: keep an open mind.

    24. I didn't read this book in chronological order, because it is ordered weird. I liked it a lot though.

    25. This book was hard to put down. The author, a journalist, was as objective as one can be about the paranormal and covers the following topics: near-death experiences; telepathy; poltergeists/ghosts; UFO sightings in Texas; lucid dreaming; after-death communication; meditation and prayer. If any of those topics intrigue you then you will enjoy this book.

    26. I like that this book proposes not an either/or answer to the query science vs. unknown, but that things happen all the time that we might not fully understand. And that is okay--that is generally the basis of scientific inquiry.

    27. I really liked this one; the author did a great job throughout, pointing out the refrain of how many things there are that we don't understand and as people, we seem to have the habit of telling ourselves that we do. Note to self: stay curious.

    28. “This is not a world of binary opposites. We just live that way. there is more to this world than we know. And then, it seems, the most rational response might be to explore it – to see if the events described could really be so.” – Steve Volk Public debate is uncompromising in many fields today, including that perennial area of controversy, the paranormal. As is the norm, media focus is on the extremes: true believers and die-hard skeptics. In Fringe•ology (2011) journalist Steve Volk [...]

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