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Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus Paperback – June 1, 1989
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The book reviews are acid and make interesting reading, but the articles are the meat of the book, because here is where Gardner assembles fully coherent arguments not just to demolish a foolish book, but to show in detail how someone like Uri Geller fools people. It becomes abundantly clear as you read this book that any competent magician (Gardner is one) can duplicate any of the feats of ESP or spoon-bending cited. It's sad, but not surprising, that this never makes the headlines the way Geller's original claims did back in the seventies.
In addition to pieces on modern figures, some less well-known than Geller, Gardner also writes about figures such as Conan Doyle, who was a passionate believer in spiritualism; and Freud, who had a long and very close friendship with a numerologist. There is a short piece on Einstein, who is often cited by parapsychologists as an establishment figure who nevertheless believed in ESP. Gardner comprehensively demolishes the basis for this citation, quoting letters from Einstein showing that he had no such belief, and was in fact very sceptical.
The only reason I haven't given the book five stars is that its very nature as an anthology prevents it from really achieving coherence. It's an excellent addition to the sceptic's armoury, though, and I strongly recommend it, along with another of Gardner's along similar lines: "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science".
This book is a little different than what one normally thinks of when one thinks of Martin Gardner and his puzzles.
During ,and after,the turn of the century,huge advancements had been made in building and sailing of massive steamships,capable of carrying thousands of passengers and crew,across great oceans.It was a whole new experience,filled with glamor and luxury;but still in its infancy ,as far as methods to identify ocean hazards,coping with accidents,and where the safety of the shiips seemed to be compromised by a belief in invincibility.Read more ›
Oh, wait, that didn't happen, did it? Hm. Well, you ought to read this then.
Published in 1981 as "human potential" gave way to "New Age", this is one of Martin Gardner's classic essay collections, a four-fifths-century update on the high weirdness that infected pop culture over the previous twenty years. It's a sequel of sorts to Fads and Fallacies, Gardner's seminal 1952 work that laid the grounds for future skeptical writing, and includes the original 1951 essay "Hermit Scientists" that led to the creation of the latter book. From there, SGBB covers widely varied grounds, not only the aforementioned psychic phenomena (in which a great many of the leading lights of paranormal research such as Rhine, Puthoff, Targ, Sarfatti, and others, are revealed as disturbingly credulous for experienced scientists), but magic, Sherlock Holmes, televangelists of the 1970s, Steven Spielberg (Gardner's review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was incredibly negative and foresaw many future reviewers' complaints about Spielberg's perceived superficiality), and abuses of astrophysics and quantum mechanics that were directly ancestral to the handwaves of Deepak Chopra and others who invoke "quantum" as a thought-stopping cliche.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Review of The sacred beetle and other great essays in science chosen and introduced by Martin Gardner published by Oxford University Press, Oxford in 1985
Reviewer: Dr... Read more
As with nearly all of Gardner's books, this one is a classic. Informative and fun(ny); what more could you want?Published on March 20, 2011 by ShenaniTims
What I liked about Martin Gardner's "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science", first published in 1952, was that it transported me back to the early 50s, when Scientology and the... Read morePublished on October 21, 2010 by Shaun Hervey
Science: Good, Bad, & Bogus
(Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1981) 408 pages
A collection of essays, many of which originally appeared... Read more
There is little I can add to the excellent comments already presented here. The only thing that could have improved this volume would have been a bibliography.Published on August 28, 2005 by Thomas P. Connolly
Gardner, in his usual fine style, tackles biorhythms, ESP, quantum theory, black holes, faith healing, and much more. Read morePublished on July 10, 2005 by Frank Laker
Great book. Kept me fascinated throughout. Prefer Michael Shermer, but I loved this one nonetheless.Published on February 19, 2002 by Amazon Customer