Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (Popular Science) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1957/6/1
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"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.
"A very able and even-tempered presentation."商品の説明をすべて表示する
The first one is that pseudo-science is not always a trivial topic that provides entertainment for the rest of us. Sometimes, it can be downright dangerous as when pseudo-science in medicine can result in egregiously bad treatments resulting in the patient’s death when the latter could have easily been saved with conventional medicine.
At other times, pseudo-science can be downright catastrophic at the societal and global level. In the US, flawed views on races and anthropology supported a racism that violently exploited a large minority for over a century. In Russia, flawed theories of genetics emasculated the Russian community of geneticists that were relegated to camps in Siberia and elsewhere in the 1930s. Many of them died or disappeared without having been able to contribute to their field (Ch 12. Lysenkoism). Similar flawed anthropological theories lead Hitler to attempt to entirely eliminate the Jewish population in Germany. He nearly succeeded and took the entire World down with him into WWII (Ch 13. Apologists for Hate).
It is astonishing how gutsy or delusional many pseudo-scientists are. Many of them have waged numerous, prolific, and public attacks on the luminaries of their time including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein. And, these pseudo scientists did not have any of the necessary knowledge in science or mathematics to be worthy participants in scientific debates within the specialized relevant scientific communities at the time. When they are entirely ignored by the scientific bodies, they claim to be isolated and misunderstood geniuses way ahead of their time such as Copernicus and Galileo were. This is a most common pattern of megalomaniac pseudo-scientists.
However, what may be the most surprising is how many of the pseudo-science myths that Gardner investigates are still very much prevalent today. Just to mention a few: Dianetics-Scientology, homeopathy, naturopathy, Bates method (eye exercise to improve eyesight), creationism-Intelligent Design, and organic-farming.
In any case, this is a great read especially when you consider this book was first written in 1952.