A bestseller in its hardback incarnation, this is an erudite but delightfully readable journey through the history of scientific ideas that once seemed plausible, at least to some, but which turned out to be wrong. From the flat earth to the hollow earth to the lost lands of Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu, from phlogiston to the luminiferous aether to cold fusion and homeopathy, from bizarre ideas about fossils to earnest descriptions of homunculi or the canals of Mars… here’s a feast of curiosities that will endlessly fascinate.
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About the Author
We pride ourselves on the scientific culture in which we live, but is it really so scientific? Is it not the truth that large parts of our society are awash with ideas and preconceptions that could not be further divorced from science, even though often they're wrongly or fraudulently described as "scientific"?John Grant, author of the highly successful books Discarded Science and Corrupted Science, now turns his attention to the bogus that too often dons the mantle of science from pyramidology to The Secret’s putative "Law of Attraction", from the widespread but misplaced certainty that the paranormal has been proven to the search for Bigfoot, Atlantis, perpetual-motion machines and human features on the surface of Mars. In a text full of witty observations, delightful asides and deft skewerings, he is unafraid to speak truth to some of our most powerful false beliefs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Discarded Science: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time... based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
A funny look at the history of bad scientific reasoning.
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.