Comprehensive and engaging, this extensively revised edition of a student and instructor favorite introduces the basics of critical thinking using the claims of pseudoscience and the paranormal.
- Guides readers through the critical thinking process by considering different types of support (sources, logic, and scientific observation) and ruling out alternative explanations
- Allows students to practice and apply their new critical thinking skills on claims of extraordinary cures including energy treatments, complementary/alternative medicine and faith healing as well as four paranormal claims of consequence: astrology, spiritualism and the afterlife, parapsychology, and creationism.
- Couples a conversational, nontechnical narrative with student-friendly pedagogical tools, including critical thinking questions, a study guide for each chapter, and a companion website
- Provides clear and open-minded discussions of the paranormal spectrum, belief justification surveys, the placebo effect, and the relationship between religion and critical thinking
Table of Contents
PART 1: INTRODUCTION
1 Critical Thinking: Your Survival Kit
2 The Paranormal Spectrum
3 What’s the Harm? Why Study These Things?
PART 2: THE CRITICAL THINKER’S TOOLKIT
5 Logic (Bonus: The Top Four Informal Logical Fallacies)
6 Logic and language: Fallacies of Ambiguity
PART 3: ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS
8 Oddities of Nature and the World of Numbers
9 Perceptual Error and Trickery
10 Memory Errors
11 Placebo Effect
12 Sensory Phenomena, Hallucinations, and Psychiatric Conditions
PART 4: PARANORMAL CHALLENGES
13 Claims of Extraordinary Cures
14 From the Paranormal Sampler: Four Claims of Consequence
APPENDIX A Why Do You Believe?
APPENDIX B: The Belief Justification Survey
Jonathan C. Smith is a Professor of Psychology at Roosevelt University, Founding Director of the Roosevelt University Stress Institute, and Head of the Pseudoscience and Paranormal Laboratory. He has published 23 books and has written numerousarticles on critical thinking, advanced relaxation and mindfulness theory and practice, stress management, and spirituality and skepticism. In 1984 he founded the Roosevelt University Stress Institute primarily to combat pseudoscience in the field. He has created classroom and online classes specifically designed to teach critical thinking skills and evaluate extraordinary claims of the paranormal.