Weird Water and Fuzzy Logic: More Notes of a Fringe Watcher / Edition 1

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At a time when popular knowledge of basic science has sunk to a new low and books promoting angels, parapsychology, and bizarre forms of medicine and healing outnumber skeptical books by more than a thousand to one, Americans need a voice of sanity.

Weird Water and Fuzzy Logic introduces readers to mind-wrenching probability paradoxes, recent attacks on the Big Bang Theory, and Marianne Williamson's success promoting The Course of Miracles, which is said to have been channeled by Jesus. Other columns address E-prime, a language that omits all forms of the verb "to be"; Norman Vincent Peale's beliefs in the paranormal; repressed memory therapy; science blunders by famous writers; the influence of Transcendental Meditation on the career of Doug Henning; a critique of "Klingon" and other artificial languages; and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an adventurous roundup of his Skeptical Inquirer columns as well as book reviews in various magazines and newspapers, Gardner takes a sharp hatchet to faith healers, theists, Norman Vincent Peale's "`feel good' Christianity," Deepak Chopra's claims for Ayurvedic medicine, beliefs in lost sunken continents and in the curative power of ordinary water and magician Doug Henning's immersion in Transcendental Meditation. In his opinionated, outspoken collection, Gardner maintains that an epidemic of "false memory syndrome" is scarring misdirected patients as well as the family members they mistakenly accuse of having sexually molested them in childhood. He charges Joseph Campbell, scholar of myth, with racism, anti-Semitism and narrow-mindedness. He dismisses the New Age bestseller A Course in Miracles (said to have been dictated by Jesus) as a crude rehash of 19th-century spiritualist ideas. Gardner applies his skeptical critical intelligence to Margaret Mead's portrayal of Samoa as a stress-free, sexually liberated Eden; and to E-Prime, a language invented by semanticist Alfred Korzybski that eliminated all forms of the verb "to be." (Oct.)
A collection of Gardner's columns for "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine and reviews of books that deal with science, philosophy, theology, and the paranormal by such authors as Stephen Jay Gould, Joseph Campbell, and Freeman Dyson. Included are mind-wrenching probability paradoxes; a discussion of the success of Marianne Williamson in promoting "A Course in Miracles", claimed to have been channeled by Jesus; and a column on E-Prime, a language that omits all forms of the verb "to be." No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573920964
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Gardner, the creator of Scientific American’s "Mathematical Games" column, which he wrote for more than twenty-five years, is the author of almost one hundred books, including The Annotated Ancient Mariner, Martin Gardner’s Favorite Poetic Parodies, From the Wandering Jew to William F. Buckley Jr., and Science: Good, Bad and Bogus. For many years he was also a contributing editor to the Skeptical Inquirer.

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Table of Contents

Skeptical Inquirer Columns
1 Probability Paradoxes 11
2 Big Bang Is Alive and Well 23
3 Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles 29
4 Margaret Mead's Great Samoan Hoax 38
5 E-Prime: Getting Rid of Isness 51
6 RMT: Repressed Memory Therapy 63
7 Weird Water, or H[subscript 2]Oh! 75
8 Pealeism and the Paranormal 83
9 The Cult of the Golden Ratio 90
10 Eyeless Vision and God 98
11 The Tragedies of False Memories 104
12 Literary Science Blunders 117
13 Science vs. Beauty? 131
14 Doug Henning and the Giggling Guru 140
15 Klingon and Other Artificial Languages 147
16 Fuzzy Logic 155
Book Reviews
17 From Here to Infinity 167
18 How Science Works and Fails 169
19 The Faith of Three Scientists 172
20 Speculations of Freeman Dyson 175
21 Sheldon Glashow on Science and Superstrings 178
22 Heinz Pagels on Minds and Computers 181
23 Symmetry from A to Zee 184
24 Mathematical Breakthroughs 186
25 Technology's Awesome March 193
26 To Pluto and Beyond 195
27 Astronomers and God 198
28 Reading the Mind of Nobody 201
29 Is Western Culture Vanishing? 203
30 Pencils 206
31 Allan Sandage's Cosmology 209
32 The Mystery of Consciousness 212
33 Is There a God? 216
34 The World of Stephen Jay Gould 219
35 Incredible Ramanujan 222
36 How to Make a PPO 225
37 Archeological Crankery 228
38 Joseph Campbell, "Racist" 231
39 Information Theory and the Universe 237
40 Mathematical Beauty and Certainty 240
41 More Speculations of Freeman Dyson 242
42 Richard Feynman, Magician 245
43 Is the Second Coming Coming? 248
44 Do Humans Spontaneously Combust? 252
45 Will Science Discover Everything? 255
46 Tunnels of the Mind 258
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2004


    The positive emphasis of this compilation - that any and all claims are best meticulously and exactingly examined in an organized manner - is disappointingly marred by Martin Gardner¿s shallow knowledge and research of the topics he seeks to debunk.

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