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You Can Judge This Book by its Cover

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A review of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

Anyone who does a lot of public speaking knows there are certain questions that inevitably arise from the audience in a Q&A session. In my case, lecturing on pseudoscience and the paranormal, I am almost always asked: (continue reading…)

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I Knew You Would Say That

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A review of David G. Myers’ Intuition: It’s Powers and Perils.

Imagine yourself a contestant on the classic television game show Let’s Make a Deal. You must choose one of three doors, behind one of which is a brand new automobile (while the other two harbor goats). You choose door number one. Host Monty Hall, who knows what is behind all the doors, shows you what’s behind door number two, a goat, then inquires: would you like keep the door you chose or switch? It’s 50/50 so it doesn’t matter, right? (continue reading…)

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The Captain Kirk Principle

Intuition is the key to knowing
without knowing how you know
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Stardate: 1672.1. Earthdate: October 6, 1966. Star Trek, Episode 5, “The Enemy Within.”

Captain James T. Kirk has just beamed up from planet Alpha 177, where magnetic anomalies have caused the transporter to malfunction, splitting Kirk into two beings. One is cool and rational. The other is impulsive and irrational. Rational Kirk must make a command decision to save the crew, but he is paralyzed with indecision, bemoaning to Dr. McCoy: “I can’t survive without him. I don’t want to take him back. He’s like an animal — a thoughtless, brutal animal. And yet it’s me!”

This psychological battle between intellect and intuition was played out in almost every episode of Star Trek in the characters of the ultrarational Mr. Spock and the hyperemotional Dr. McCoy, with Captain Kirk as the near perfect synthesis of both. Thus, I call this balance the Captain Kirk Principle: intellect is driven by intuition, intuition is directed by intellect. (continue reading…)

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