File Size: 1862 KB
Print Length: 302 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (January 12, 2016)
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
The particular third, and one of the better parts in the book, is entitled " I was wrong. " Humility is a rare and admirable quality in human creatures in general, and especially among scientists. I credit this book with changing my opinions on a few important subjects, covered later in this review.
Shermer is especially obsessed with fraud, quackery, junk technology and religion. His articles on epistemology – how we really know what we realize – and scientific method are worth memorizing. All of us come across people who simply do not believe in vaccines, or swear by their bottled water, or homeopathic medicines, or magnets and similar quackery. In the (unfortunately rare) case that you are dealing with somebody who will listen closely to reason, and may even be somewhat numerate, Shermer's treatises are succinct and powerful.
Reflecting modern modern society itself, many of the themes he touches on are poilticially charged. A new man who dwells in the snake pit of academia cannot afford to stomp every serpent, but Shermer does pretty well. Let's take a look at a few.
On climatic change, Shermer turned from becoming a skeptic to something of the believer. He or she cites the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even climate-change skeptics agree that it has risen from 280 to 350 parts per billion, and is also headed higher. The particular thesis of the nineties was that these greenhouse fumes would trap heat and suffocate us by today. It has not happened. I will go with Shermer that, in my father's words, we " shouldn't muck with something we don't understand. " A conservative should conserve the planet since it is, not knowingly make such dramatic changes and hope for the best. On the other hand, as a libertarian Shermer should also recognize that politicians are using climatic change as a stalking horse to advance many other agendas. I read him with interest and an open mind.
Shermer strongly supports Napoleon Chagnon' s anthropology among the Yanomamo against politically-charged assaults. His writing predates " Noble Savages: My Lifestyle Among Two Dangerous Tribes -- the Yanomamo and the Anthropologists, " but I am sure that Shermer relishes Chagnon's environment the record straight. Simple men were and are often violent. Civilization has enhanced us.
On the other hand, Shermer's mentor Stephen Jay Gould is bad odor among others whom he admires for his tenacious resistance to research on human evolution, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology and thus human biodiversity. Although this individual writes favorably of Richard Dawkins and E. U Wilson, Shermer generally eliminates these topics, dismissing them with a single-line throw-away. He simply does not write about the work of Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Philippe Rushton, Kevin MacDonald, Barbara Oakley and many others in the sociobiology movement. A cynic has to keep his horns pulled in upon occasion.
Shermer's brief remark on the controversy elevated by the (unnamed) publication " Inventing the SUPPORTS Virus" led me to amend my review of that book. As with the climate change advocates, the AIDS lobby's being highly political does not imply it is not right in many particulars. Much as I may sympathize for the abuse that the author of this publication suffered, ad hominem assaults and slurs rather than refutations of his technology, it appears that the refutations of the technology do exist and are substantial. If I have a criticism to offer it might be that Shermer should be more candid about the national politics of the issues. A new model in my mind is Steven Pinker's working together in " The particular Blank Slate. "
Shermer goes at religion with the passion of the former evangelical he is. He or she is especially tough on Intelligent Design. Yet, this individual has a compelling, reasonably cast article entitled " Darwin on the Correct – Why Christians and conservatives should accept development. " His thesis is that evolution fits with theology and it explains human being nature. Shermer's online resource shows him marrying past due in life and will not credit him with any children. I would add that religion supplies a rationale for having children. Bearing children does not offer a great deal of reward in the modern world. These people are a great expenditure to raise, society is structured such that one's employer and the government are recorded the hook for our care in old age, and modern American society almost goes out of its way to train children to be ungrateful. But for the religious injunction to " be productive and multiply" we would die out – even faster than we are doing!
" Dogged" is the theme of Shermer's piece on retracing Darwin's investigation of the Galapagos Islands and of Darwin's unrelenting quest to determine things out. It is the perfect word to explain Shermer himself. This is another excellent work. He or she strives to know, and relishes sharing what this individual has discovered., You have all the Skeptic's Corner content from Scientific American publication from the 2001 inception to around 2007. Eileen Shermer explains in his first chapter about the timespan of his continuing writing for the publication. It is implied he is continuing with a second book. By my estimate, there would still also need to be a third volume. The essays are organized by topic rather than chronological distribution date, that i find helpful. To sum up, this book is wonderful for Shermer fans who want a nice hardcopy of the articles in book form; it is also perfect for science readers and skeptics in general to get quick overviews of all the important aspects in technology and pseudoscience (included for discernment purposes). If you have never seen the Scientific American magazine, by seeing and browsing and reading this book, one will also wish to read the current monthly column, " Skeptic's Corner. ", addressed a lot of my questions and introduced new concepts for me. Required lots of notes for reflection. Very enjoyable and enlightening., good book, Shermer excels at skepticism. Fantastic book., I was really looking forward to this book, a collection of earlier essays. Unfortunately the author's smugness and narcissism were a real turn-off. Skimmed the majority of the book; do not finish it., Outstanding book! Dr. Shermers sound logic and reasoning is easy to understand, apply, and slowly move the critical mind. I recommend this book to everyone especially to school teaching introduction to university courses., Shermer does a nice job making the articles approachable, interesting and informative. Fantastic overview of many of the main areas of Skeptical thought
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