On militant atheism
The thrust of Harris's best-sellers is that with the world so crazed by religion, it's high time Americans stopped tolerating faith in the Rapture, the Resurrection and anything else not grounded in evidence. Only trouble is, our country's foremost promoter of "reason" is also supportive of ESP, reincarnation and other unscientific concepts.
Later Gorenfeld continues:
Another book he lists is The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. "These are people who have spent a fair amount of time looking at the data," Harris explains. The author, professor Dean Radin of North California's Institute of Noetic Sciences, which is not accredited for scientific peer review, proclaims: "Psi [mind power] has been shown to exist in thousands of experiments."
Gorenfeld's statement that IONS "is not accredited for scientific peer review" is not merely wrong, it is meaningless. The mistake suggests a bit of motivated inattention.
Gorenfeld presumably added his meaningless clause in an attempt to reduce the credibility of IONS, and by association the credibility of my book. While it is true that institutions providing academic degrees can be recognized by various educational accreditation organizations, IONS does not provide degrees and so accreditation is irrelevant. In addition, "scientific peer review" is not something that institutes do, rather it's what journals and granting institutions do. The IONS research staff has published numerous articles in scientific journals and have been awarded many research grants, including from the National Institutes of Health, so on that score our work is certainly vetted through scientific peer review.
But all this aside, what I find amazing is that some militant atheists, including Gorenfeld but not Harris, equate belief in religion to belief in psi. The fallacy of this belief is that the former is based on an unquestioned acceptance of dogma, whereas the latter is based on a rational, scientific evaluation of empirical evidence. One would think that atheists would support all efforts to understand the world through scientific means, regardless of controversial status. But apparently this is not the case.