Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynne McTaggart

Rating: 5/5

I don't know if I had the skill and knowledge to read this book in a critical fashion, but from my limited perspective, it was convincing. There are several reasons for this: a) McTaggart's research seems - aside from her brief stereotyped characterization of the theory of natural selection - impeccable, as is her own critical analysis of the scientific method of the numerous studies she's cited. She doesn't make wild, unevidenced claims, and makes it clear what is speculation, what is theory, and does point out certain flaws in the experimental method where they crop up. Her skeptical critical approach and background stories of the scientists involved in this research give a lot of credibility.

On their own, these features are convincing. But then there's b) - I WANT to believe. As someone with chronic illnesses that standard medicine has utterly failed in every way, this book and its ideas gives me hope. In the past I've brushed off "energy medicine" and "alternative therapies" as mostly placebo effects, but this book makes a very strong case that there's more to it than that. Most important to me, it makes SENSE to me scientifically and therefore doesn't require flaky, New-Agey faith in mumbo-jumbo. I can deal with the concepts of electro-magnetic waves at certain frequencies a lot more peacefully than a vague mystical energy like "chi". Specifics make me a lot more comfortable exploring alternative ways of regaining my health. I will be seeking out additional scientific-minded books on the subject.

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