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Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science
     

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

by Robert L. Park
 

ISBN-10: 0691145970

ISBN-13: 9780691145976

Pub. Date: 07/21/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? Robert Park, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded.

Overview

From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? Robert Park, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science is the only way we have of understanding the world.

Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and, he fears, increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people's blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves.

Compelling and precise, Superstition takes no hostages in its quest to provoke. In shedding light on some very sensitive—and Park would say scientifically dubious—issues, the book is sure to spark discussion and controversy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691145976
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/21/2010
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Introduction: Lessons from a tree vii

Chapter 1 A Bigger Prize: In which we discover scientists of faith 1

Chapter 2 The Secret of Life: In which Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection survives 23

Chapter 3 Miracle at Columbia: In which both sides pray for victory 56

Chapter 4 Giving up the Ghost: In which we search for the soul 79

Chapter 5 The Silent Army: In which we search for an afterlife 93

Chapter 6 The Tsunami God: In which the innocent suffer 104

Chapter 7 The New Age: In which anything goes 116

Chapter 8 Schrödinger's Grave: In which quantum mysticism is found to be superstition 129

Chapter 9 The Barbary Duck: In which the body heals itself 142

Chapter 10 The Deer: In which the placebo effect is explained 161

Chapter 11 The Moral Law: In which we instinctively know right from wrong 188

Chapter 12 The Last Butterfly: In which there is no place else to go 202

Bibliography 217

Index 221

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