Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation

The late Gordon Stein said of this book: “A very thoughtful and instructive book. Humphrey has marshalled his arguments carefully and illustrated them well. It is the kind of book that both skeptics and believers would do well to read, and it holds a unique place in the literature for that reason.”

Telepathy. Ghosts. The power of prayer. Life after death. Why do so many of us believe in such things beyond belief? In this provocative and thoughtful book, Nicholas Humphrey revisits the battle between materialist and spiritual versions of the cosmos and shows why magical and religious ideas continue to have such a hold on human minds. Humphrey explains the psychology of what he calls paranormal fundamentalism: the unshakable belief that, even though logic and science tell so strongly against the existence of the paranormal, there must be something there. He mounts a devastating critique of the existing evidence for paranormal phenomena, ranging from miracles to the laboratory experiments for extrasensory perception. And with no holds barred, Humphrey analyzes particular case histories of those, including Jesus, who have apparently believed that they themselves possess supernatural powers. Scholarly, witty, sometimes shocking, always absorbing, Leaps of Faith throws light – welcome or unwelcome – on many of our most precious ideas about our relationships with God, with each other, and with nature.