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Nonsense on Stilts

Nonsense on Stilts Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 9780226667874
Release 2010-05-15
Pages 336
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Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, despite it being one of science’s best-established findings. More and more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children for fear it causes autism, though this link can been consistently disproved. And about 40 percent of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated, despite near consensus in the scientific community that manmade climate change is real. Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and—borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham—the nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society. The result is in many ways a “taxonomy of bunk” that explores the intersection of science and culture at large. No one—not the public intellectuals in the culture wars between defenders and detractors of science nor the believers of pseudoscience themselves—is spared Pigliucci’s incisive analysis. In the end, Nonsense on Stilts is a timely reminder of the need to maintain a line between expertise and assumption. Broad in scope and implication, it is also ultimately a captivating guide for the intelligent citizen who wishes to make up her own mind while navigating the perilous debates that will affect the future of our planet.



Nonsense on Stilts

Nonsense on Stilts Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 022649599X
Release 2018-07-16
Pages 336
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"Why do people believe in bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices and ignore data? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, disseminated, and interpreted, and what it means to our society"--Publisher description.



Nonsense on Stilts

Nonsense on Stilts Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 NWU:35556039999420
Release 2010-05-15
Pages 336
Download Link Click Here

"Creationists who dismiss Darwin's theory of evolution. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Climate change deniers who dismiss the warming planet as a hoax. These are just some of the groups that, despite robust scientific evidence, embrace pseudoscientific beliefs and practices. Why do they believe bunk? And how does their ignorance threaten us all? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and--borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham--the nonsense on stilts. Covering a range of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society. The result is in many ways a "taxonomy of bunk" that explores the intersection of science and culture at large"--Publisher description.



Answers for Aristotle

Answers for Aristotle Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 9780465021383
Release 2012
Pages 312
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A philosophy professor and blogger explains how science and philosophy can combine to help make daily decisions, how to determine right from wrong, how to figure out one's personal identity and also build a just society. 20,000 first printing.



Philosophy of Pseudoscience

Philosophy of Pseudoscience Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 9780226051826
Release 2013-08-16
Pages 464
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What sets the practice of rigorously tested, sound science apart from pseudoscience? In this volume, the contributors seek to answer this question, known to philosophers of science as “the demarcation problem.” This issue has a long history in philosophy, stretching as far back as the early twentieth century and the work of Karl Popper. But by the late 1980s, scholars in the field began to treat the demarcation problem as impossible to solve and futile to ponder. However, the essays that Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry have assembled in this volume make a rousing case for the unequivocal importance of reflecting on the separation between pseudoscience and sound science. Moreover, the demarcation problem is not a purely theoretical dilemma of mere academic interest: it affects parents’ decisions to vaccinate children and governments’ willingness to adopt policies that prevent climate change. Pseudoscience often mimics science, using the superficial language and trappings of actual scientific research to seem more respectable. Even a well-informed public can be taken in by such questionable theories dressed up as science. Pseudoscientific beliefs compete with sound science on the health pages of newspapers for media coverage and in laboratories for research funding. Now more than ever the ability to separate genuine scientific findings from spurious ones is vital, and The Philosophy of Pseudoscience provides ground for philosophers, sociologists, historians, and laypeople to make decisions about what science is or isn’t.



Science Unlimited

Science Unlimited Author Maarten Boudry
ISBN-10 9780226498287
Release 2018-01-12
Pages 320
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All too often in contemporary discourse, we hear about science overstepping its proper limits—about its brazenness, arrogance, and intellectual imperialism. The problem, critics say, is scientism: the privileging of science over all other ways of knowing. Science, they warn, cannot do or explain everything, no matter what some enthusiasts believe. In Science Unlimited?, noted philosophers of science Maarten Boudry and Massimo Pigliucci gather a diverse group of scientists, science communicators, and philosophers of science to explore the limits of science and this alleged threat of scientism. In this wide-ranging collection, contributors ask whether the term scientism in fact (or in belief) captures an interesting and important intellectual stance, and whether it is something that should alarm us. Is scientism a well-developed position about the superiority of science over all other modes of human inquiry? Or is it more a form of excessive confidence, an uncritical attitude of glowing admiration? What, if any, are its dangers? Are fears that science will marginalize the humanities and eradicate the human subject—that it will explain away emotion, free will, consciousness, and the mystery of existence—justified? Does science need to be reined in before it drives out all other disciplines and ways of knowing? Both rigorous and balanced, Science Unlimited? interrogates our use of a term that is now all but ubiquitous in a wide variety of contexts and debates. Bringing together scientists and philosophers, both friends and foes of scientism, it is a conversation long overdue.



Nonsense on Stilts How to Tell Science from Bunk

Nonsense on Stilts  How to Tell Science from Bunk Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 1282584995
Release 2010
Pages 332
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Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe in Darwin s theory of evolution, despite it being one of science s best-established findings. More and more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children for fear it causes autism, though this link can been consistently disproved. And about 40 percent of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated, despite near consensus in the scientific community that manmade climate change is real. Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, and borrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Bentham the nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society. The result is in many ways a taxonomy of bunk that explores the intersection of science and culture at large. No one not the public intellectuals in the culture wars between defenders and detractors of science nor the believers of pseudoscience themselves is spared Pigliucci s incisive analysis. In the end, Nonsense on Stilts is a timely reminder of the need to maintain a line between expertise and assumption. Broad in scope and implication, it is also ultimately a captivating guide for the intelligent citizen who wishes to make up her own mind while navigating the perilous debates that will affect the future of our planet."



Making Sense of Evolution

Making Sense of Evolution Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 9780226668352
Release 2010-02-15
Pages 236
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Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition. Spotlighting these conceptual difficulties and presenting alternate theoretical interpretations that alleviate this incompatibility, Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Kaplan intertwine scientific and philosophical analysis to produce a coherent picture of evolutionary biology. Innovative and controversial, Making Sense of Evolution encourages further development of the Modern Synthesis and outlines what might be necessary for the continued refinement of this evolving field.



Denying Evolution

Denying Evolution Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 0878936599
Release 2002-01-01
Pages 338
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Denying Evolution aims at taking a fresh look at the evolution-creation controversy. It presents a truly "balanced" treatment, not in the sense of treating creationism as a legitimate scientific theory (it demonstrably is not), but in the sense of dividing the blame for the controversy equally between creationists and scientists-the former for subscribing to various forms of anti-intellectualism, the latter for discounting science education and presenting science as scientism to the public and the media. The central part of the book focuses on a series of creationist fallacies (aimed at showing errors of thought, not at deriding) and of mistakes by scientists and science educators. The last part of the book discusses long-term solutions to the problem, from better science teaching at all levels to the necessity of widespread understanding of how the brain works and why people have difficulties with critical thinking.



Good Science Bad Science Pseudoscience and Just Plain Bunk

Good Science  Bad Science  Pseudoscience  and Just Plain Bunk Author Peter Daempfle
ISBN-10 9781442217263
Release 2013
Pages 264
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We are constantly bombarded with breaking scientific news in the media, but we are almost never provided with enough information to assess the truth of these claims. This book teaches readers how to think like a scientist to question claims like these more critically.



Sacred Bovines

Sacred Bovines Author Douglas Allchin
ISBN-10 9780190490362
Release 2017
Pages 256
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This book is a collection of short essays, each challenging a commonplace assumption about biology - playfully dubbed "Sacred Bovines." The essays aim to be both provocative and entertaining. They highlight amusing ironies and fascinating details, such as organisms that blur the distinction ofmale and female, tool use and language among non-humans, errors made by Charles Darwin or Nobel Prize winners, and how research on cells was enriched by a Marxist perspective. As an ensemble, the essays aim to deepen an understanding of how science works, including its cultural contexts. The 28pieces are arranged in 7 thematic sections, focusing on such topics as error in science, "myth-conceptions" of scientists, cultural bias in scientific concepts, the challenge of expertise and "what counts as science" in society, and science and values. While all the essays focus on cases in biology, most of the lessons are more general, and valuable for any citizen who reflects on science in society. A final Epilogue profiles the value of the style of thinking exemplified throughout the book - namely, the light-hearted challenging of assumptionsas a source of creative insight. An additional "Afterword for Teachers" highlights how the essays can foster learning about the nature of science and describes some practical classroom strategies.



Critical Thinking Science and Pseudoscience

Critical Thinking  Science  and Pseudoscience Author Caleb W. Lack, PhD
ISBN-10 9780826194268
Release 2016-03-08
Pages 304
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This unique text for undergraduate courses teaches students to apply critical thinking skills across all academic disciplines by examining popular pseudoscientific claims through a multidisciplinary lens. Rather than merely focusing on critical thinking grounded in philosophy and psychology, the text incorporates the perspectives of biology, physics, medicine, and other disciplines to reinforce different categories of rational explanation. The book is also distinguished by its respectful approach to individuals whose ideas are, according to the authors, deeply flawed. Accessible and engaging, it describes what critical thinking is, why it is important, and how to learn and apply skillsóusing scientific methods--that promote it. The text also examines why critical thinking can be difficult to engage in and explores the psychological and social reasons why people are drawn to and find credence in extraordinary claims. From alien abductions and psychic phenomena to strange creatures and unsupported alternative medical treatments, the text uses examples from a wide range of pseudoscience fields and brings evidence from diverse disciplines to critically examine these erroneous claims. Particularly timely is the text's examination of how, using the narrative of today's "culture wars," religion and culture impact science. The authors focus on how the human brain, rife with natural biases, does not process information in a rational fashion, and the social factors that prevent individuals from gaining an unbiased, critical perspective on information. Authored by a psychologist and a philosopher who have extensive experience teaching and writing on critical thinking and skeptical inquiry, this work will help students to strengthen their skills in reasoning and debate, become intelligent consumers of research, and make well-informed choices as citizens. Key Features: Addresses the foundations of critical thinking and how to apply it through the popular activity of examining pseudoscience Explains why humans are vulnerable to pseudoscientific claims and how critical thinking can overcome fallacies and biases Reinforces critical thinking through multidisciplinary analyses of pseudoscience Examines how religion and culture impact science Enlightens using an engaging, entertaining approach Written by experienced and innovative scholar/educators well known in the skeptic community Features teaching resources including an Instructor's Guide and Powepoint slides



Armed with Expertise

Armed with Expertise Author Joy Rohde
ISBN-10 9780801469602
Release 2013-08-09
Pages 224
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During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon launched a controversial counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System. The program embedded social scientists within military units to provide commanders with information about the cultures and grievances of local populations. Yet the controversy it inspired was not new. Decades earlier, similar national security concerns brought the Department of Defense and American social scientists together in the search for intellectual weapons that could combat the spread of communism during the Cold War. In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde traces the optimistic rise, anguished fall, and surprising rebirth of Cold War–era military-sponsored social research. Seeking expert knowledge that would enable the United States to contain communism, the Pentagon turned to social scientists. Beginning in the 1950s, political scientists, social psychologists, and anthropologists optimistically applied their expertise to military problems, convinced that their work would enhance democracy around the world. As Rohde shows, by the late 1960s, a growing number of scholars and activists condemned Pentagon-funded social scientists as handmaidens of a technocratic warfare state and sought to eliminate military-sponsored research from American intellectual life. But the Pentagon's social research projects had remarkable institutional momentum and intellectual flexibility. Instead of severing their ties to the military, the Pentagon’s experts relocated to a burgeoning network of private consulting agencies and for-profit research offices. Now shielded from public scrutiny, they continued to influence national security affairs. They also diversified their portfolios to include the study of domestic problems, including urban violence and racial conflict. In examining the controversies over Cold War social science, Rohde reveals the persistent militarization of American political and intellectual life, a phenomenon that continues to raise grave questions about the relationship between expert knowledge and American democracy.



What Darwin Got Wrong

What Darwin Got Wrong Author Jerry Fodor
ISBN-10 9781847651907
Release 2011-02-24
Pages 262
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Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, a distinguished philosopher and scientist working in tandem, reveal major flaws at the heart of Darwinian evolutionary theory. They do not deny Darwin's status as an outstanding scientist but question the inferences he drew from his observations. Combining the results of cutting-edge work in experimental biology with crystal-clear philosophical argument they mount a devastating critique of the central tenets of Darwin's account of the origin of species. The logic underlying natural selection is the survival of the fittest under changing environmental pressure. This logic, they argue, is mistaken. They back up the claim with evidence of what actually happens in nature. This is a rare achievement - the short book that is likely to make a great deal of difference to a very large subject. What Darwin Got Wrong will be controversial. The authors' arguments will reverberate through the scientific world. At the very least they will transform the debate about evolution.



Redesigning Humans

Redesigning Humans Author Gregory Stock
ISBN-10 1861975511
Release 2003
Pages 277
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Forget worries about cloning people. In the future, technological advances will bring far more meaningful and controversial changes to our offspring. As scientists rapidly improve their ability to identify, screen and manipulate genes, people will want to protect their future children from diseases, help them live longer and even influence their looks and their abilities. Stock, an expert on the implications of recent advances in reproductive biology, clearly shows that neither governments, nor religious groups will be able to stop the coming trend of choosing an embryo's genes, and that there is little point in even trying.



How to Be a Stoic

How to Be a Stoic Author Massimo Pigliucci
ISBN-10 9780465097968
Release 2017-05-09
Pages 288
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In the tradition of How to Live and How Proust Can Change Your Life, a philosopher asks how ancient Stoicism can help us flourish today Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a Stoic, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that inspired the great emperor Marcus Aurelius, as the best way to attain it. Stoicism is a pragmatic philosophy that focuses our attention on what is possible and gives us perspective on what is unimportant. By understanding Stoicism, we can learn to answer crucial questions: Should we get married or divorced? How should we handle our money in a world nearly destroyed by a financial crisis? How can we survive great personal tragedy? Whoever we are, Stoicism has something for us--and How to Be a Stoic is the essential guide.



Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science Author Martin Gardner
ISBN-10 9780486131627
Release 2012-05-04
Pages 384
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Fair, witty appraisal of cranks, quacks, and quackeries of science and pseudoscience: hollow earth, Velikovsky, orgone energy, Dianetics, flying saucers, Bridey Murphy, food and medical fads, and much more.