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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

The Hidden Messages in Water - Masaru Emoto, David A. Thayne With its laughable science and huge leaps of logic, this could just as easily be marketed as a parody of new age tripe. Emoto's pseudoscience is alarmingly concrete and reductive, demonstrating his lack of understanding of physics (yes, including quantum physics) at every turn. To read this as a scientific study of the physical world leads only to incredulous laughter. It may be better to read it as a spiritual/philosophical text, though Emoto muddies these waters considerably (hah, water-related quip) by claiming scientific status. He has an an unfortunate tendency to make up or possibly cherry-pick data in support of his quasi-religious themes. Emoto doesn't present his data, but only his ideas and purported examples that support his assertions. I say "purported" because he has chosen the guise of science (though he describes himself as not a scientist), so he should be accountable to standards such as describing one's obtained data set and using controls. His "studies" meet no scientific standards. His spiritual assertions ramble and contradict themselves. Emoto frequently appeals to coincidence as significant, then jumps to puzzling conclusions unsupported by his chain of events. An example: If we consider that the human body is a universe within itself, it is only natural to conclude that we carry within us all the elements. According to Buddhism, the human being is born with 108 earthly desires (such as confusion, attachment, jealousy, and vanity), which torture us throughout our lives. I think it is logical to conclude that these 108 earthly desires have counterparts in the 108 elements. (p. 70) He thinks wrong, at least to the extent that just sticking two ideas together doesn't demonstrate a relationship between them. I've read many religious texts that rely on non-Western logic (the Talmud and the Dalai Lama's work among them) and the problem with Emoto is not that the work is spiritual rather than scientific, but that his logic and evidence for spiritual truth are as poorly executed as his science. His logic is more in line with the semantic leaps and condensations made by people who are psychotic. People have done stunning and brilliant work when driven by the idea, It must all mean something. Emoto has not done so.Oh, by the way, talking negatively to rice causes mold, so water isn't that special. And water has ESP. And stickers of images of ice can be stuck to your wallet to invoke "the God of Wealth." And humans have more "elements" than other animals. And our souls came to earth via extraterrestrial water. I could go on, but suffice it to say that Emoto throws every woo woo trope into the bucket and stirs them into a scrambled, incoherent mass. Okay, one more: The 'C' of E = MC² refer[s] not to the speed of light, but to consciousness.... There is no way of knowing if Einstein himself considered the possibility of C representing consciousness, but since everything in the universe is relative, you can't say that it is a mistake to see the formula in this new way. (p. 145) Well, yeah, you can.I agree that the experimenter's attitude may influence findings. We see it in Emoto's work, in fact. What I can't support is the idea that skepticism or critical examination will somehow destroy the data; that is, that faith is destroyed by raising any questions about faith. I don't know if Emoto believes what he says or is a charlatan, but he sells water at $35 for 8 ounces. I highly recommend this book for anyone teaching a research techniques class. It should be very easy for college students to pick this apart. However, based on the many credulous reviews of Emoto's work, you'll also need to have a critical discussion of the longing for a reductive, concrete, anthropocentric, and illogical universe as well.See also Harriet Hall's useful http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1144934/masaru_emotos_wonderful_world_of_water/