Discarded Science: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time...by John Grant
Alchemy, the flat earth theory, lost worlds, and aliens among us: these ideas once seemed plausible—but now we know they’re just plain wrong. Take a fun journey through the history of science as it transforms from a field of wild speculation into a powerful tool of understanding. Explore the world in upheaval as Earth changed from center of the universe to a smallish planet orbiting an average star. Find out about hidden races and unknown creatures (like Yetis); early and bizarre thoughts on evolution; ancient astronauts and UFO crazes; the music of the spheres; the acquisition of virtues through cannibalism, and much more!
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This book is delightfully and insightfully written. Demonstrates and elucidates thoughts and theories that used to be, based on the information available at the time, correct. But is also a testament to the scientific method: when a theory ceases to fit the facts, the theory is modified or discarded, rather than 'tweaking' or ignoring the facts in order to cling to our pet beliefs. Read it.
John Grant dissects pseudoscience, quackery, and the latest and greatest 'oh wow' scientific conclusions the world has ever known. He skillfully prepares each posit (like the earth is flat) then dissects it, slices, dices, and minces it to pieces. This is a great book if you want to catch up on the evolution of mans desire to know more and explain more about everything. Additionally, you will enjoy how Grant deflates the egos of the greatest thinkers ever recorded. No one is left untouched by a thrust from his fatal analytical scalpel: Pythagorus,Ptolemy, Bacon, Darwin, Boyle and more 'A' listers are presented as genius and fool. He is a little heavy on creationism and intelligent design theories. Clearly he is a scientist. Creationist or 'IDers' (intelligent designers) will gag when they read his presentation about evolution. A terrific addition to your library if you are a hard scientist and want a quick compendium of historical theories or a theologian who wants to read about the opposite sect.