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As for the book itself, I concur with what others have said: a very detailed, compelling, and for the most part well-written account of the boundaries of science (as opposed to pseudoscience and emerging knowledge) with excellent accounts of specific topics like evolution vs intelligent design, various pseudo-scientific claims, etc. The author can be a bit dry or overly-lengthy in places, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Pigliucci does not pull his punches in defence of the scientific consensus on evolution, climate change, etc., which may come off as closed-minded for those who disagree with his stances.
As for the narrator... I'm afraid that you'll find a lot better ones on Audible, but for me it wasn't a consistent distraction. Notable mistakes include once saying "physics" rather than "psychics" in Ch. 2, which was actually funny in the context, and mispronouncing the name of well-known figure Noam Chomsky as "Noah Chumsky". It seems like someone should have caught those, but then I don't know much about the editing process that goes into these audiobooks.
With that qualification, highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The most interesting book I have read in a long time. Beginning as a standard de-bunking book, where Pigliucci uses clear-sighted logic to dissect pseudo-scientific ideas, like UFO's, Psi studies, and the Dover, PA Intelligent Design case, he thankfully moves into new territory, saving it from being another Michael Shermer book.
Instead, the author uses these cases studies as a spring-board to illustrate the power of science. Slowly, and with increasing resonance, he begins to unveil the unique contribution that philosophy could bring to the understanding and advancement of science. In the process, he takes solid aim at "Scientism," the near religious belief in Atheistic Science as the only thing that produces value--think Richard Dawkins.
What I really enjoyed was how Pigliucci moves beyond Popper-ian "experiemntal falsifiabilty" into a more nuanced, updated view of what contemporary philosophers of science tell us what it really means to be "scientific." Science means close observation, and adherence to the peer review process to even out our biases. It also means using and careful reasoning, both inductive and deductive. Ultimately, being truly scientific means realizing that our current theory is just a temporary understanding that further study will, likely, sweep away.
The book finishes with a wonderful meditation:"How can you tell an expert from a charlatan?" Healthy food for the grey cells. Of course, Pigliucci, or any relatively competent thinker can, with relative ease, debunk things coming from the Cato Institute. But what about us? Regular people. You know; "John Q. Public?" He looks at 1) The quality of the evidence provided. 2) The reputation of an "expert" among their peers. 3) The expert's biases.
Overall, a great book on skeptical thinking. Instead of an easy debunking of straw-men like Depak Chopra and ESP experts, his focus is on the philosophy of how science works in the real world. Indeed, it looks at science's role as perhaps the only surefire way to overcome our frail human biases when uncovering the truth about things the way they are--and not, for good or ill, the way we want them to be.
16 of 19 people found this review helpful
This is a book that I like, as the subject matter is right up my alley, but I must say I have stopped listening to it as the style of narration gets bothersome after a while. The narrator speaks with a 'staccato' voice that cannot possibly reflect his normal mode of speaking. A few minutes is fine, but after a while becomes tiring. It's a bit like listening to a robot and a bit as if the narrator thinks we won't be able to understand what he says if he speak normally instead of in this artificial and disjointed fashion he has invented. That nonwithstanding, if you don't mind this, then do definitely consider buying it as Pigliucci talks a lot of sense and deserves to be heard.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
excellent,read,if you want to listen to common sense ; The talker is excellent overall quality
2 of 2 people found this review helpful