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How Do You Know It's True? Paperback – August 1, 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
My 8 year old was very curious about this book. I could let her read some of it, but since she has not yet learned division and multiplication, the section on probability would be completely lost on her, which is a shame, since the probability theory so well explains unusual events. This is important, since so many superstitious people would attribute the unusual events to something superstitious; using probability to explain these events defuses their so-called "proofs".
My daughter will have to wait for a while, but she will definitely read it when she is older (and so will my other - younger - daughters). This is a must for every schoolkid 10 or older (actually, it's a must for just about anybody with any superstitious tendencies, including those who believe in horoscopes).
Highlights include an explanation of science as a way of thinking critically, with examples of how facts are discovered. Vital to an understanding of why there is so much superstition and other forms of magical thinking is to know the history of religious repression of free thought, with stories about the struggles of such heroes of science as Nicolas Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei and the framers of our own Bill of Rights in 1789. By the way, the photos and illustrations are also terrific. But, it's words like the following that lead me to urge that you check this one out if you want to incorporate CT into wellness:
"All of us stand on the shoulders of giants. Every bit of food we eat, the clothes
we wear, the houses we live in and anything else we know how to make or do today would not be possible without the knowledge given to us by people who lived in the past. We must be ever grateful to the many thousands of people, past and present, who made it all possible.Read more ›
The first section of the book is quite ranty in tone, which I didn't really care for. Astrology will fall down all by itself when subjected to scrutiny; there's no need to yell about it. I felt that the tone detracted from the objective stance I hoped for, and even made the author seem a bit insecure about his position.
My real complaint, however, is about the second section, when Ruchlis tries to describe how Renaissance science got rid of older, incorrect ideas about a flat Earth and geocentric universe. He must not have checked his facts too well, because this science teacher believes the long-discredited Myth of the Flat Earth. (You can look it up on Wikipedia for a good summary.) Aristotle accepted the idea of a spherical earth, and Eratosthenes measured its circumference in 240 BC. Throughout the classical and medieval eras, educated people knew that the Earth is a sphere, and they had a good idea of how large it is. Ruchlis also, in my opinion, does not do a good job of describing the debate over the geocentric vs. heliocentric models of the solar system (for one thing, geocentrists did not believe that God had created the universe solely for us, nor that Earth was the most important thing in it--and Ruchlis fails to note that the Pope was quite sympathetic to Galileo until Galileo publicly insulted him in his written debate).
I did quite appreciate the last section, where Ruchlis reminds us that we stand on the shoulders of giants. I will still have my daughter read this book--but we'll be discussing the errors it contains! I suppose it does serve as a great lesson on how we always have to be careful about making mistakes and examining our thinking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my daughter who was about 11 at the time. I wanted her to understand the importance of using reasoning and critical thinking. Read morePublished on May 5, 2013 by liverleef
Stunningly presented title, cover that does not fail to catch people's eyes, attention & interest. They find it hard to ignore, especially children & teens, & the contents are... Read morePublished on April 8, 2013 by Tony Zahra-Newman
***************************This book is GARBAGE!
Because this (so-called) Professor of Science is the author of some 27 prior books
supposedly dealing with the... Read more
The latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Scooby Doo.
Traveling with Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy, Scooby entertained me... Read more