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Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus Paperback – June 1, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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  • Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Martin Gardner is the author of more than seventy books, including Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, The Annotated Alice, The Annotated Hunting of the Snark, and The Colossal Book of Mathematics. He lives in Norman, Oklahoma.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879755733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879755737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,369,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gardner has never pulled his punches when it comes to claims of ESP, paranormal abilities, spoon-bending and the like. This book collects 38 pieces he wrote over thirty years, half book reviews and half articles. All of them attack, and in most cases dismember, pseudoscience and its claims.
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".
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Format: Paperback
A classic compendium from the skeptic of skeptics, Martin Gardner. Though the book is now a little dated, the articles and essays on the dubious psychic "research" conducted by Targ and Puthoff are classic examples of why people believe in bizarre things simply because they want them to be true. This should be required reading for high-school and college students.
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Format: Paperback
I have read several books about the Titanic, and what a surprise when I came across this book.It was the fact that it was about the Titanic that grabbed my attention.Then I noticed that the author was Martin Gardner,a name I was very familiar with;and thought it was another author by the same name.A further perusal showed that it was,in fact,the same author I have known about and had many of his books in my library.Martin Gardner seemed always to have been around,particularly if one was interested in Recreational Mathematics,Puzzles,etc.He was born in Tulsa,Oklahoma,on October 1914.It's interesting to note that he was born less than 3 years after the Titanic sank on April 15,1912. Now at the age of 95,he is still with us,while that fateful night ,now seems so far in the past.I first encountered Martin Gardner while I was in university in the mid 50's via his "Scientific American column,Mathematical Games";which he authored for 25 years.He has over his lifetime ,authored more than 65 books on a variety of subjects.However,he has been,by far,the prominent and best loved author in the world of Mathematical Recreations.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Remember how in the 1960s and 1970s "human potential" was such a big deal, and people were digging around in psychic phenomena and roll-your-own religion, and then Uri Geller got busted on the Tonight Show and it all went away overnight?

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.
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