Heavenly Errors

Heavenly Errors

by Neil F. Comins
     
 

ISBN-10: 0231116446

ISBN-13: 9780231116442

Pub. Date: 06/01/2001

Publisher: Columbia University Press

One of the great paradoxes of modern times is that the more scientists understand the natural world, the more we discover that our everyday beliefs about it are wrong. Astronomy, in particular, is one of the most misunderstood scientific disciplines.

With the participation of thousands of undergraduate students, Neil F. Comins has identified and classified, by

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Overview

One of the great paradoxes of modern times is that the more scientists understand the natural world, the more we discover that our everyday beliefs about it are wrong. Astronomy, in particular, is one of the most misunderstood scientific disciplines.

With the participation of thousands of undergraduate students, Neil F. Comins has identified and classified, by origin and topic, over 1,700 commonly held misconceptions. Heavenly Errors provides access to all of them and explores many, including:

• Black holes suck in everything around them.

• The Sun shines by burning gas.

• Comets have tails trailing behind them.

• The Moon alone causes tides.

• Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is the hottest planet.

In the course of correcting these errors, he explains that some occur through the prevalence of pseudosciences such as astrology and UFO-logy and some enter the public conscience through the "bad astronomy" of Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science-fiction movies.. Perhaps most important, Professor Comins presents the reader with the methods for identifying and replacing incorrect ideas—tools with which to probe erroneous notions so that we can begin to question for ourselves... and to think more like scientists.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231116442
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2001
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
0.75(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction1. Fun in the Sun: Some Misconceptions Close to Home3. Creating Your Own Private Cosmos: Internal and Mixed Origins of Incorrect Beliefs2. Blame It on Someone Else: External Origins of Incorrect Beliefs4. Survival in a Misperceived World: How Well Did Our Ancestors Do Without Understanding Nature? 6. The Sage on the Stage or the Guide by Your Side: A Peek Behind the Effort to Help You Unlearn Misconceptions5. Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Misconceptions are Hard to Replace7. Let the Buyer Beware: How to Avoid Future Misconceptions8. Conflicts and Dangers: The Problems That Misconceptions CreateEpilogue: False Personal CosmologiesSelected BibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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