Presents a collection of essays on various topics in science and personalities in science, including Carl Sagan, Sigmund Freud, and Alfred Russel Wallace.
Headlines and television news reports feature accounts of reincarnation, the predictions of astrologers, and psychic "miracles." Citizens report UFO sightings. Police departments call on psychics to provide clues in baffling crimes. From every available information source, the public is bombarded with unsubstantiated claims of paranormal phenomena. How much of the evidence is reliable? What is the truth behind these claims? Paranormal Borderlands of Science is an exciting, well-informed examination of the most publicized and exotic claims of astrology, ESP, psychokinesis, precognition, UFOs, biorhythms, and other phenomena. Written by respected psychologists, astronomers and other scientists, philosophers, investigative journalists, and magicians, the 47 articles in this superb collection present a skeptical treatment of pseudoscientific claims - an aspect often sorely neglected in sensationalized media reports. This book is an effort to help readers sort fact from fiction and sense from nonsense among the astonishing variety of assertions labeled "paranormal." Never before published in book form, the essays in this anthology originally appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer, a leading magazine devoted to the critical investigation of pseudoscience from a scientific viewpoint. Among the contributors are: Isaac Asimov (distinguished science fiction author), Martin Gardner (Scientific American columnist), James Randi (The Amazing Randi), Philip Klass (noted UFO skeptic), Scot Morris (Omni), and James Oberg (NASA). An essential contribution to skeptical literature, this book will be of lasting value to all those wishing to balance the case for paranormal claims by reading the dissenting critics.
The science fiction writer explores the territories that science is just beginning to penetrate, in a prescient book about the future of scientific inquiry
Cameron Strang takes American scientific thought and discoveries away from the learned societies, museums, and teaching halls of the Northeast and puts the production of knowledge about the natural world in the context of competing empires and an expanding republic in the Gulf South. People often dismissed by starched northeasterners as nonintellectuals--Indian sages, African slaves, Spanish officials, Irishmen on the make, clearers of land and drivers of men--were also scientific observers, gatherers, organizers, and reporters. Skulls and stems, birds and bugs, rocks and maps, tall tales and fertile hypotheses came from them. They collected, described, and sent the objects that scientists gazed on and interpreted in polite Philadelphia. They made knowledge. Frontiers of Science offers a new framework for approaching American intellectual history, one that transcends political and cultural boundaries and reveals persistence across the colonial and national eras. The pursuit of knowledge in the United States did not cohere around democratic politics or the influence of liberty. It was, as in other empires, divided by multiple loyalties and identities, organized through contested hierarchies of ethnicity and place, and reliant on violence. By discovering the lost intellectual history of one region, Strang shows us how to recover a continent for science.
This innovative work critically studies the contemporary problems of one segment of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The lack of a diverse U.S.-based pool of talent entering the field of engineering education has been termed a crisis by academic and political leaders. Engineering remains one of the most sex segregated academic arenas; the intersection of gendered and racialized exclusion results in very few Latina engineers. Drawing on cutting-edge scholarship in gender and Latino/a studies, the book provides an analytically incisive view of the experiences of Latina engineers. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation through a Gender in Science and Engineering grant, the authors bridge interdisciplinary perspectives to illuminate the nuanced and multiple exclusionary forces that shape the culture of engineering. A large, multi-institution, longitudinal dataset permits disaggregation by race and gender. The authors rely on primary and secondary sources and incorporate an integrated mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative data. Together, this analysis of the voices of Latina engineering majors breaks new ground in the literature on STEM education and provides an exemplar for future research on subpopulations in these fields. This book is aimed at researchers who study underrepresented groups in engineering and are interested in broadening participation and ameliorating problems of exclusion. It will be attractive to scholars in the fields of multicultural and higher education, sociology, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, and feminist technology studies, and all researchers interested in the intersections of STEM, race, and gender. This resource will be useful for policy-makers and educational leaders looking to revitalize and re-envision the culture within engineering.
"Why do people believe in bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices and ignore data? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, disseminated, and interpreted, and what it means to our society"--Publisher description.
Revised and Expanded Edition. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science. Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.
Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself. In each of the fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.
Everyone already knows that. But the General of an army of Psycho Soldiers takes on this planetary hell headfirst, planning to enslave all of the Borderlands. And that General . . . is a Goddess. The General Goddess, Gynella, is a cunning maniac who uses the dark science of the vile Dr. Vialle to control a growing army of bandits and malcontents. Only four people stand in Gynella’s way. Roland. Mordecai. Brick. And . . . Daphne. Daphne?! Better known as Kuller the Killer, she was once the galaxy’s most effective assassin for organized crime—until her forced retirement on this abandoned wasteland of a world. Roland is one of the toughest fighters in the Borderlands, and Mordecai is the best shot in four solar systems—all the two really want is to get to the Crystalisks, harvest some Eridium, get rich, and leave the planet for the nearest intergalactic party. But there are nightmarish creatures to deal with: Varkids and Skags and Threshers. Worse, Gynella is still in their way. Brick—a pile of walking muscle who lives to smash his enemies, could be their ally or their enemy . . . but you’d definitely rather have him on your side. As for Daphne Kuller? Don't make her mad. Just . . . don’t. If you want to hear about the whole thing, take a ride on the bus to Fyrestone with Marcus. Because Marcus has a tale to tell you . . . an untold story of the Borderlands.
From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore) A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity. In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.
In the summer and fall of 1991, Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain, took a three month road trip through the freshly independent borderlands of Eastern Europe. She deftly weaves the harrowing history of the region and captures the effects of political upheaval on a personal level. An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia—an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of competing cultures, religions, and national aspirations. In reasserting their heritage, the inhabitants of the borderlands attempt to build a future grounded in their fractured ancestral legacies. In the process, neighbors unearth old conflicts, devote themselves to recovering lost culture, and piece together competing legends to create a new tradition. Rich in surprising encounters and vivid characters, Between East and West brilliantly illuminates the soul of the borderlands and the shaping power of the past.
Recent polls show that 96% of Americans believe in God. Why are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? In How We Believe, Michael Shermer presents the results of an exhaustive empirical study in which he asked 10,000 Americans how and why they believe and about details of their faith. The result offers fresh and startling insights into age-old questions.
Stem cell research has sparked controversy and heated debate since the first human stem cell line was derived in 1998. Too frequently these debates devolve to simple judgments—good or bad, life-saving medicine or bioethical nightmare, symbol of human ingenuity or our fall from grace—ignoring the people affected. With this book, Ruha Benjamin moves the terms of debate to focus on the shifting relationship between science and society, on the people who benefit—or don't—from regenerative medicine and what this says about our democratic commitments to an equitable society. People's Science uncovers the tension between scientific innovation and social equality, taking the reader inside California's 2004 stem cell initiative, the first of many state referenda on scientific research, to consider the lives it has affected. Benjamin reveals the promise and peril of public participation in science, illuminating issues of race, disability, gender, and socio-economic class that serve to define certain groups as more or less deserving in their political aims and biomedical hopes. Under the shadow of the free market and in a nation still at odds with universal healthcare, the socially marginalized are often eagerly embraced as test-subjects, yet often are unable to afford new medicines and treatment regimes as patients. Ultimately, Ruha Benjamin argues that without more deliberate consideration about how scientific initiatives can and should reflect a wider array of social concerns, stem cell research— from African Americans' struggle with sickle cell treatment to the recruitment of women as tissue donors—still risks excluding many. Even as regenerative medicine is described as a participatory science for the people, Benjamin asks us to consider if "the people" ultimately reflects our democratic ideals.
Now a classic, this is the fundamental text for those seeking a "Spiritual Understanding of Nature on the Basis of Goethe's Method of Training Observation and Thought." Working out of a detailed history of science, Lehrs reveals to the reader not only how science has been inescapably led to the illusions it holds today, but more importantly, how the reader may correct in himself these misconceptions brought into his world view through modern education.
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.
In France today, philosophy--phenomenology in particular--finds itself in a paradoxical relation to theology. Some debate a "theological turn." Others disavow theological arguments as if such arguments would tarnish their philosophical integrity, while nevertheless carrying out theology in other venues. In Crossing the Rubicon, Emmanuel Falque seeks to end this face-off. Convinced that "the more one theologizes, the better one philosophizes," he proposes a counterblow by theology against phenomenology. Instead of another philosophy of "the threshold" or "the leap"--and through a retrospective and forward-looking examination of his own method--he argues that an encounter between the two disciplines will reveal their mutual fruitfulness and their true distinctive borders. Falque shows that he has made the crossing between philosophy and theology and back again with audacity and perhaps a little recklessness, knowing full well that no one thinks without exposing himself to risk.
A person may be legally blind, yet not ¿blind enough¿ to qualify for social services. Beth Omansky explores the lives of people with legal blindness to show how society responds to those who don¿t fit neatly into the disabled/nondisabled binary. Probing the experience of education, rehabilitation, and work, as well as the more intimate spheres of religion, family, and romantic relationships, her frank and theoretically sophisticated portrait of the legally blind experience offers an original insight into our understanding of the social construction of disability.
This book makes a significant contribution to advancing post-geographic understandings of physical and virtual boundaries. It brings together the emergent theory of ‘border thinking’ with innovative thinking on design, and explores the recent discourse on decoloniality and globalism. From a variety of viewpoints, the topics engaged show how design was historically embedded in the structures of colonial imposition, and how it is implicated in more contemporary settings in the extension of ‘epistemological colonialism’. The essays draw on perspectives from diverse geo-cultural and theoretical positions including architecture, design theory and history, sociology, critical theory and cultural studies. The authors are leading and emergent figures in their fields of study and practice, and the geographic scope of the chapters ranges across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Pacific. In recognition of the complexity of challenges that are now determining the future security of humanity, Design in the Borderlands aims to contribute to ‘thinking futures’ by adding to the increasingly significant debate between design, in the context of the history of Western modernity, and decolonial thought.