Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics, by Chris Carter. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. 258 pp. + xiii + index. 2012.

Mini-review by Paul H. Smith, Ph.D.

Science and Psychic Phenomena, by Chris CarterThose of you who strive to defend remote viewing from people who use skeptical arguments against extrasensory perception (ESP) have new reason to celebrate. In an earlier issue of Aperture I reviewed the book Parapsychology and the Skeptics, by a gentleman named Chris Carter (not he of “X-files” fame). I told you that there the book was a valuable resource in the debate. Alas, Carter’s book went out of print, and used copies were becoming increasingly expensive. But now there is Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics, also by Chris Carter.

It turns out that this is substantively the same as Carter’s earlier book, but with a new title and cover, and some updating. The new material includes a short section in the chapter on “Extraordinary Claims,” discussing an engagement on British television between Rupert Sheldrake and arch-skeptic Richard Dawkins, and some additional material about skeptic Richard Wiseman’s faulty analysis of the Ganzfeld research. (Wiseman, you may recall, conducted an innovative, but problematic remote viewing experiment involving the social medium Twitter back in 2009. You can see IRVA’s pre-response here.)

I do have a mea culpa – this time through the book I also caught a couple of paragraphs on the Star Gate program. In my earlier review I had said that edition made no mention of remote viewing. I was mistaken, for which I apologize. Still the book could do with more on the subject (though to handle the saga of skeptical attacks on remote viewing would probably fill a book of its own).

Overall, Science and Psychic Phenomena is an excellent source of insight – not to mention ammunition – in the ongoing debate between skeptics and those who know that ESP, and especially remote viewing, are real. As an added bonus, the book serves as a useful introduction to other successful modes of ESP research in addition to remote viewing.

(Click here for a longer review of Carter’s earlier version of this book, titled Parapsychology and the Skeptics.