The Borderlands of Science

  • by Michael Shermer
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Many people have difficulty figuring out the difference between science, borderline science, and just plain nonsense. When is a theory a fact, and when is it just conjecture? Michael Shermer, a leading science author and skeptic, divides knowledge into three classes: science, based on factual evidence; borderline science, based on scientific conjecture; and nonsense, where anything goes (e.g., Bigfoot). He is especially zealous about separating science from borderline science; borderline science includes many modern grand explanatory hypotheses, such as superstring theory. Nonetheless, most attempts to create a Theory of Everything result in nonsense. Shermer explores the work of Darwin, Freud, and Carl Sagan, as well as the shameful episode of the Piltdown Man.


What the Critics Say

"His treatment of Carl Sagan, fearless navigator of scientific borderlands, is stellar, as is his chapter on racial differences....The book provides grist for the mill of thought and debate." (Publishers Weekly)
"Shermer writes accessibly about common scientific misperceptions." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


its hard to get a honest review of a book about reason in a world where d chopra's book is listed in the ( b and nobles and amazons) nonfiction section.... shermer is a clear thinker and an important writer. an ejoyabe book for every level. cleverly and repectfully helps all of us to understand the crutial differences between hard facts and soft feelings.
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- Richard

Unabridged Indeed

This audiobook is a mess. I am a fan of Shermer's work, in general, though he is not always a particularly great writer, he is usually interesting. In retrospect, I guess his books work because you can read the good parts and skip his rambling transitions and rather incoherent connections between topics. Not so in the audiobook, where you have to listen to sentence after tedious sentence as he uses repeated examples to attempt to differentiate good borderland science from nonsense, without having a strong central thesis. There are better listens, read this if you are interested, but don't bother slogging through the audio.
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- Ethan M. "On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-29-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape