"I have always been intrigued by fringe science," writes Martin Gardner in the preface to this book, "perhaps for the same reason that I enjoy freak shows and circuses. Pseudoscientists, especially the extreme cranks, are fascinating creatures for psychological study. Moreover, I have found that one of the best ways to learn something about any branch of science is to find out where its crackpots go wrong."
A unique combination of horse sense and drollery has made Martin Gardner the undisputed dean of the critics of pseudoscience. This bountiful collection of recently published essays and articles will be wholeheartedly greeted by Gardner's fans, as well as by new readers.
This collection of articles - many of which first appeared in The Skeptical Inquirer, The New York Review of Books and Free Inquiry - explores pseudoscience and strange religious beliefs with the author's trademark wit and verve. Destined to be a classic of skeptical literature, this book roves over a wide range of topics - including UFOs, rainmaking, ghosts, the Big Bang, ESP, Oral Roberts, as well as the early history of spiritualism and today's bizarre "trance-channeling" cults.
In an autobiographical essay written especially for this collection, Gardner recounts for the first time how he evolved from being a religious fundamentalist to an ace debunker.
Martin Gardner (Henderson, NC) is the author of many books including Science: Good, Bad and Bogus; The Magic Numbers of Dr.Matrix; The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher; and numerous books for children including The Snark Puzzle Book.