Science Under Siege

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-05-26
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books

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For over thirty years, The Skeptical Inquirer has steadfastly championed science and reason and been the leading voice for reliable scientific examination of the paranormal and other questionable claims popularised by the media and mass culture. In this new collection of outstanding recent articles, editor Kendrick Frazier has selected some of the best writing on topics of current interest. Among the highlights are: "A Skeptical Look at September 11th", which prompted a drove of responses (many angry) and was selected by Richard Dawkins for the Best Science and Nature Writing of 2003; Carl Sagan's final question-and-answer piece on the topic of science and skeptical inquiry; Ann Druyan's beautifully expressed "Science, Religion, Wonder, and Awe"; NASA scientist Stuartiordan's excellent appraisal of the scientific evidence for global warming, which prompted much critical response and led to another follow-up article; Five articles on the evolution vs. intelligent design controversy; Two physicians' articles that strongly defend the value of vaccinations and critique the anti-vaccination movement. Other distinguished contributors include Mario Bunge, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, Chris Mooney, Stephen Pinker, Ray Hyman, Joe Nickell, and many others. A total of thirty-seven stimulating articles explore science and sceptical inquiry, public controversies, and investigating pseudoscientific claims. This excellent collection is a must for scientists, educators, sceptics, and everyone concerned about scientific literacy.

Author Biography

Kendrick Frazier is editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, former editor of Science News, and the editor of four previous collections, including Encounters with the Paranormal and Science Confronts the Paranormal. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
Science and Skeptical Inquiry
Science and the Public: Summing Up Thirty Years of the Skeptical Inquirerp. 19
In Defense of the Higher Valuesp. 34
Ann Druyan Talks about Science, Religion, Wonder, Awe ... and Carl Saganp. 38
Carl Sagan's Last Q&A on Science and Skeptical Inquiry Supplemented with Ann Druyan's "The Great Turning Away"p. 48
Can the Sciences Help Us to Make Wise Ethical Judgments?p. 65
Science Wars: Science and the Bush Administrationp. 78
Do Extraordinary Claims Really Require Extraordinary Evidence?p. 81
The Fallacy of Misplaced Rationalismp. 84
Critical Inquiry and Public Controversies
"We Find That Intelligent Design Is Not Science": Excerpts from the Dover Federal Court Ruling on Intelligent Design Introduction by Kendrick Frazierp. 91
The "Vise Strategy" Undone: Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Districtp. 99
Four Common Myths About Evolutionp. 113
Only a Theory?: Framing the Evolution/Creation Issuep. 124
Is Intelligent Design Creationism?p. 130
The Memory Warsp. 133
AIDS Denialism vs. Sciencep. 139
Global Climate Change Triggered by Global Warmingp. 150
The Global Warming Debate: Science and Scientists in a Democracyp. 170
A Skeptical Look at September 11th: How We Can Defeat Terrorism by Reacting to It More Rationallyp. 173
Strong Response to Terrorism Not Necessarily a Symptom of Fallacious Statistical Reasoning or Human Cognitive Limitationsp. 182
The Anti-Vaccination Movementp. 185
Vaccine Safety: Vaccines Are One of Public Health's Great Accomplishmentsp. 195
Warning: Animal Extremists Are Dangerous to Your Healthp. 198
Predator Panic: A Closer Lookp. 206
The Case for Decentralized Generation of Electricityp. 213
Understanding Pseudoscience, Investigating Claims
The Philosophy behind Pseudosciencep. 235
The Columbia University "Miracle" Study: Flawed and Fraud Supplemented with: Third Strike for Columbia University Prayer Study: Author Plagiarismp. 252
Anomalous Cognition: A Meeting of the Mindsp. 268
Anomalous Cognition? A Second Perspectivep. 275
The PEAR Proposition: Fact or Fallacy? Supplemented with: PEAR Lab Closes, Ending Decades of Psychic Researchp. 281
Gary Schwartz's Energy Healing Experiments: The Emperor's New Clothes?p. 290
Testing Natashap. 298
"Dr." Bearden's Vacuum Energyp. 311
Lessons of the "Fake Moon Flight" Mythp. 315
Magnet Therapy: A Billion-dollar Boondogglep. 318
Oxygen Is Good-Even When It's Not Therep. 323
Undercover among the Spirits: Investigating Camp Chesterfieldp. 329
How to "Haunt" a Housep. 338
The Devious Art of Improvising, Lessons One and Twop. 348
A Patently False Patent Myth-Still!p. 357
Contributorsp. 362
Referencesp. 368
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