Fair, witty appraisal of cranks, quacks, and quackeries of science and pseudoscience: hollow earth, Velikovsky, orgone energy, Dianetics, flying saucers, Bridey Murphy, food and medical fads, and much more.
Reviews fads, hoaxes, and cults propagated under the guise of being scientifically founded and proven
Reviews fads, hoaxes, and cults propagated under the guise of being scientifically founded and proven
A noted author defends his personal attitudes toward the fundamental issues of classical philosophy, discussing the awesome mystery surrounding science and life and explaining why he considers himself a theist
Martin Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and published more than seventy books on topics as diverse as magic, religion, and Alice in Wonderland. Gardner's illuminating autobiography is a candid self-portrait by the man evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould called our "single brightest beacon" for the defense of rationality and good science against mysticism and anti-intellectualism. Gardner takes readers from his childhood in Oklahoma to his varied and wide-ranging professional pursuits. He shares colorful anecdotes about the many fascinating people he met and mentored, and voices strong opinions on the subjects that matter to him most, from his love of mathematics to his uncompromising stance against pseudoscience. For Gardner, our mathematically structured universe is undiluted hocus-pocus—a marvelous enigma, in other words. Undiluted Hocus-Pocus offers a rare, intimate look at Gardner’s life and work, and the experiences that shaped both.
Best known as the longtime writer of the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American—which introduced generations of readers to the joys of recreational mathematics—Martin Gardner has for decades pursued a parallel career as a devastatingly effective debunker of what he once famously dubbed "fads and fallacies in the name of science." It is mainly in this latter role that he is onstage in this collection of choice essays. When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish takes aim at a gallery of amusing targets, ranging from Ann Coulter's qualifications as an evolutionary biologist to the logical fallacies of precognition and extrasensory perception, from Santa Claus to The Wizard of Oz, from mutilated chessboards to the little-known "one-poem poet" Langdon Smith (the original author of this volume's title line). The writings assembled here fall naturally into seven broad categories: Science, Bogus Science, Mathematics, Logic, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, and Politics. Under each heading, Gardner displays an awesome level of erudition combined with a wicked sense of humor.
A prominent popular science writer presents simple instructions for 100 illustrated experiments. Memorable, easily understood experiments illuminate principles related to astronomy, chemistry, physiology, psychology, mathematics, topology, probability, acoustics, other areas.
Not since his Science: Good, Bad and Bogus has there been such a bountiful offering of the delightful combination of drollery and horse sense that has made Martin Gardner the undisputed dean of the critics of pseudoscience.In The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, Gardner confronts new trends in pseudoscience and the paranormal: from the much-publicized past-life exploits of Shirley MacLaine to the latest in perpetual-motion machines, from prime-time preachers to the channeling mania of the past few years.Many of these pieces were published in Gardner's column in the Skeptical Inquirer. Others appeared in the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Discover magazine, and other publications. Gardner has added forewords and/or afterwords to most of the chapters to give background, to bring recent developments to light, or to include responses from his critics.Destined to be a classic of skeptical literature, this book will be a welcome treat for Gardner fans and a rewarding adventure for his new readers.. . . invaluable insight into all kinds of pseudoscience, phony religious claims, new age nonsense, and many other irrational concepts. Independent Thinking ReviewMartin 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.
Discusses the widespread belief that the sinking of the Titanic was described before it happened, and presents the complete texts of Morgan Robinson's short novel, "Futility," about the sinking of a ship called the Titan, and similar works
Fun and fascinating, 89 simple magic tricks will teach both children and adults the scientific principles behind electricity, magnetism, sound, gravity, water, and more. Only basic everyday items are needed. Includes 89 black-and-white illustrations.
Professor Picanumba has dozens of surefire tricks up his sleeve — and he's willing to show junior mathemagicians how to predict the answers to 88 word and number challenges. Includes solutions and illustrations.
Playing with mathematical riddles can be an intriguing and fun-filled pastime — as popular science writer Martin Gardner proves in this entertaining collection. Puzzlists need only an elementary knowledge of math and a will to resist looking up the answer before trying to solve a problem. Written in a light and witty style, Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles is a mixture of old and new riddles, grouped into sections that cover a variety of mathematical topics: money, speed, plane and solid geometry, probability, topology, tricky puzzles, and more. The probability section, for example, points out that everything we do, everything that happens around us, obeys the laws of probability; geometry puzzles test our ability to think pictorially and often, in more than one dimension; while topology, among the "youngest and rowdiest branches of modern geometry," offers a glimpse into a strange dimension where properties remain unchanged, no matter how a figure is twisted, stretched, or compressed. Clear and concise comments at the beginning of each section explain the nature and importance of the math needed to solve each puzzle. A carefully explained solution follows each problem. In many cases, all that is needed to solve a puzzle is the ability to think logically and clearly, to be "on the alert for surprising, off-beat angles...that strange hidden factor that everyone else had overlooked." Fully illustrated, this engaging collection will appeal to parents and children, amateur mathematicians, scientists, and students alike, and may, as the author writes, make the reader "want to study the subject in earnest" and explains "some of the inviting paths that wind away from the problems into lusher areas of the mathematical jungle." 65 black-and-white illustrations.
I have always been intrigued by fringe science, writes Martin Gardner in the preface to this book, perhaps for the same reason that I enjoy freak shows and circuses. Pseudoscientists, especially the extreme cranks, are fascinating creatures for psychological study. Moreover, I have found that one of the best ways to learn something about any branch of science is to find out where its crackpots go wrong.A unique combination of horse sense and drollery has made Martin Gardner the undisputed dean of the critics of pseudoscience. This bountiful collection of essays and articles will be wholeheartedly greeted by Gardner's fans, as well as by new readers.This collection of articles - many of which first appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer, The New York Review of Books, and Free Inquiry - explores pseudoscience and strange religious beliefs with the author's trademark wit and verve. Destined to be a classic of skeptical literature, this book covers a wide range of topics - including UFOs, rainmaking, ghosts, the Big Bang, ESP, Oral Roberts, as well as the early history of spiritualism and today's bizarre trance channeling cults.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.
Cipher and decipher codes: transposition and polyalphabetical ciphers, famous codes, typewriter and telephone codes, codes that use playing cards, knots, and swizzle sticks . . . even invisible writing and sending messages through space. 45 diagrams.
One of the subject's clearest, most entertaining introductions offers lucid explanations of special and general theories of relativity, gravity, and spacetime, models of the universe, and more. 100 illustrations.
Step-by-step instructions and nearly 200 simple diagrams show beginners how to make cards vanish and reappear, get coins to pass through solid objects, make articles mysteriously travel from one location to another, and more.
In 1952, Martin Gardner wrote the book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, which has become a modern classic of the skeptical movement. He is best known as the Father of Recreational Mathematics, but was also a frank critic of pseudoscientists and a contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. Marcello Truzzi was one of the founders of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal in 1976. He left that and founded the Center for Scientific Anomalies Research, which was more aligned with his views. Dana Richards presents the unedited, colorful correspondence between these two well-known figures within the skeptical movement as they probed and wrestled with fundamental questions such as: The demarcation problem — how to distinguish good from bad science?How should scholars on the fringe (paranormalists) be treated?