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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.
©2001 Michael Shermer; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"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
5 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 07-19-05

reasonable

its hard to get a honest review of a book about reason in a world where d chopra's book is listed in the (audible.com 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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23 of 26 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Sean on 03-31-13

Misleading description

I was expecting an objective tour of current controversial experiments. Something about Intelligent Design, Cold Fusion and/or dark matter. Instead we get a lengthy discussion of Alfred Russel Wallace's (co-discoverer of Natural Selection with Darwin) life and personality. The author did his PhD thesis on Wallace and apparently wanted to get some extra mileage out of it.

Rather than an exploration of the actual borderlands of science, we get an attempt to describe an archetypal inhabitant of the borderlands. What sort of education, relationships, birth order etc create the "heretic personality" that will wind up in research projects that run contrary to mainstream thinking?

I don't think he is wrong in his conclusions, but I was very disappointed to find a dry psychology book disguised as a popular science text.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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