"Although we are amused, we may also be embarrassed to find our friends or even ourselves among the gullible advocates of plausible-sounding doubletalk." — Saturday Review
"A very able and even-tempered presentation." — New Yorker
This witty and engaging book examines the various fads, fallacies, strange cults, and curious panaceas which at one time or another have masqueraded as science. Not just a collection of anecdotes but a fair, reasoned appraisal of eccentric theory, it is unique in recognizing the scientific, philosophic, and sociological-psychological implications of the wave of pseudoscientific theories which periodically besets the world.
To this second revised edition of a work formerly titled In the Name of Science, Martin Gardner has added new, up-to-date material to an already impressive account of hundreds of systematized vagaries. Here you will find discussions of hollow-earth fanatics like Symmes; Velikovsky and wandering planets; Hörbiger, Bellamy, and the theory of multiple moons; Charles Fort and the Fortean Society; dowsing and the other strange methods for finding water, ores, and oil. Also covered are such topics as naturopathy, iridiagnosis, zone therapy, food fads; Wilhelm Reich and orgone sex energy; L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics; A. Korzybski and General Semantics. A new examination of Bridey Murphy is included in this edition, along with a new section on bibliographic reference material.
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About the Author
Martin Gardner was a renowned author who published over 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. He also had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles. Well known for his mathematical games column in Scientific American and his "Trick of the Month" in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner attracted a loyal following with his intelligence, wit, and imagination.
Martin Gardner: A Remembrance
The worldwide mathematical community was saddened by the death of Martin Gardner on May 22, 2010. Martin was 95 years old when he died, and had written 70 or 80 books during his long lifetime as an author. Martin's first Dover books were published in 1956 and 1957: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, one of the first popular books on the intellectual excitement of mathematics to reach a wide audience, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, certainly one of the first popular books to cast a devastatingly skeptical eye on the claims of pseudoscience and the many guises in which the modern world has given rise to it. Both of these pioneering books are still in print with Dover today along with more than a dozen other titles of Martin's books. They run the gamut from his elementary Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing, which has been enjoyed by generations of younger readers since the 1980s, to the more demanding The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings, which Dover published in its final revised form in 2005.
To those of us who have been associated with Dover for a long time, however, Martin was more than an author, albeit a remarkably popular and successful one. As a member of the small group of long-time advisors and consultants, which included NYU's Morris Kline in mathematics, Harvard's I. Bernard Cohen in the history of science, and MIT's J. P. Den Hartog in engineering, Martin's advice and editorial suggestions in the formative 1950s helped to define the Dover publishing program and give it the point of view which — despite many changes, new directions, and the consequences of evolution — continues to be operative today.
In the Author's Own Words:
"Politicians, real-estate agents, used-car salesmen, and advertising copy-writers are expected to stretch facts in self-serving directions, but scientists who falsify their results are regarded by their peers as committing an inexcusable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science swarms with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who unconsciously distorted their work by seeing it through lenses of passionately held beliefs."
"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" — Martin Gardner
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner back in my teens. It gave me a basis to judge some new claim or study in science. It is THE classic on scientific skepticism. I say again READ THIS BEFORE YOU ACCEPT ANYTHING FROM SOME EXPERT... Mr. Gardner's list five common characteristics of pseudo-scientists. 1. The pseudo-scientist considers himself a genius. 2. He regards other researchers as stupid, dishonest or both. By choice or necessity he operates outside the peer review system (hence the title of the original Antioch Review article, "The Hermit Scientist"). 3. He believes there is a campaign against his ideas, a campaign compared with the persecution of Galileo or Pasteur. 4. Instead of side-stepping the mainstream, the pseudo-scientist attacks it head-on: The most revered scientist is Einstein so Gardner writes that Einstein is the most likely establishment figure to be attacked. 5. He coins neologisms. MARTIN GARDNER... 1914 - 2010 A REAL POLYMATH RIP My thoughts are with you and yours. Thank you... I found Mr Gardner's Scientific American column back in high school. It was tough waiting for the next month, so I was going back in old issues and getting his books on so many topics... from magic... to Lewis Carroll & Alice in wonderland plus advanced math topics I thank you for feeding my multiple interests... I strive to be a fraction of the renaissance man that you are I found about his formal education much later. "His mathematical writings intrigued a generation of mathematicians, but he never took a college math course. " My respect increased even more. I recently found out he edited Humpty Dumpty pushing his influence far further back than I ever realized. RESOURCES: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Gardner http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/us/24gardner.html