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Posted October 3, 1999
An Antidote for Supernaturalism (fringe & mainstream)
If only Wendy Kaminer had Jesse Ventura's platform, and mouth. And if only Jesse had Wendy's way with words. This book is a supernova of reason against the dark background and expansive vacuum of the contemporary American mind. It deserves place in the pantheon of seminal arguments for skepticism and freedom of expression, along with Popper's 'The Open Society And Its Enemies,' John Stuart Mill's 'On Liberty,' David Hume's 'Of Miracles,' and the works of that much mis-maligned soothsayer who wrote in a letter to his sister at the precocious age of 21, 'Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, the inquire...' Kaminer is a devotee of truth, and a masterful inquirer, and she is bound to disturb the peace, comfort, and sweet mental slumber of those who hear her. But alas, 'Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials' will hardly be noticed; even though a supernova, most will choose not to look upon it. That is, unless Mayor Guliani or Pat Buchanan get wind of a few excerpts, and start mouthing-off like some mad pro-wrestlers (Oh Lord make it happen!): 'The deference paid to mainstream religion, compared to the derision with which we're encouraged to regard New Age and pop spirituality, is intellectually indefensible... Why should it be socially acceptable to make fun of psychics and not priests? What's the difference between crossing yourself or hanging a mezuzah outside your door and avoiding black cats? Believing that you've been abducted by aliens or that Elvis is alive is, on its face, no sillier than believing Christ rose from the dead or that God parted the Red Sea so that Moses and his followers might traverse it.' (If Wendy were really smart she would send Rudy & Pat, and select others, free copies, and request replies.) I thank her for this welcome and overdue defense of that MOST at-risk minority: the 'free'-thinker. Because admitting that you're a die-hard fan of a losing football team is still acceptable, but admitting that you're atheist is like being in a sportsbar on Sunday and announcing that you 'don't really believe in' football. It took unusual courage to write this book, and Kaminer will make many (more) enemies with it. But the volume of their complaints will only betray their lack of complete faith in their faiths, and eventually (maybe in the NEXT millennium) the truth shall set them free.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.