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Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

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Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"If a tree falls on a scientist in a forest with no one else around does it mean he wont make a sound? Not if that scientist is the indomitable Bob Park, the skeptics skeptic, the Ralph Nader of nonsense, the man who rose from the (nearly) dead to pen this uncompromising critique of superstition and the beliefs that follow once you abandon science and reason. Read this book. Now."--Michael Shermer, publisher of the Skeptic and author of Why Darwin Matters

"Bob Park has done it again. His lucid, humorous, style--the envy of those of us who fancy themselves writers--gets through the pervasive nonsense that he finds everywhere, from the afterlife delusion to intelligent design. He rightly and joyously celebrates how science has led us from the Dark Ages to the brink of understanding a myriad of mysteries that we should contemplate with a reverence that was once reserved for priests and witchdoctors. No one knows better than Bob--personally--the real miracles of medical science surpass anything offered by religion. As he says in this provocative book: Science is the only way of knowing--everything else is just religion."--James Randi, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation

"Superstition is yet more evidence that Bob Park is always worth reading. At times funny, at times acerbic, always thoughtful, Bob Park is not one to go with the flow. There is a lot to think about in this book, as usual."--Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education

"You may have the impression that mythology expired with the ancient Greeks and Romans. Far from it, mythology has only evolved into another perhaps more pervasive form. It is an insidious force in the modern scene. Park slays the modern dragons with authority and acerbic wit, whether it is ESP or intercessory prayer. The book is a delight."--Val Fitch, Princeton University, 1980 Nobel laureate in physics

"Opinionated and well-informed, this is a lucid promotion of rationality in a world of rising superstition. We can disagree with the author but he forces us to think harder."--Yves Gingras, University of Quebec, Montreal

Review:

"'Science is the only way of knowing — everything else is just superstition,' says physicist Park (Voodoo Science) in this thinly argued rehash of the debate between science and religion. Among other questions, Park revisits experiments regarding the healing power of intercessory prayer (prayer for the healing of others), citing several studies that he claims are meaningless because it is impossible to measure prayer. Further, he says, only science, not prayer, con protect us from so-called 'acts of God,' like a tsunami. Park argues against the existence of the soul by debunking a tale of reincarnation and even interprets the Bible to his own purposes. But this chapter also shows how disjointed his arguments can be, as he jumps from the Plan B contraceptive to genes and memes to stem cells and ghosts. Such issues have been covered more eloquently and in greater depth by thinkers like Daniel Dennett in Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? Robert Park, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science is the only way we have of understanding the world.

Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and, he fears, increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people's blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves.

Compelling and precise, Superstition takes no hostages in its quest to provoke. In shedding light on some very sensitive--and Park would say scientifically dubious--issues, the book is sure to spark discussion and controversy.

About the Author

Robert L. Park is professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He is the author of "Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud".

Table of Contents

Introduction: Lessons from a tree vii

CHAPTER ONE: A BIGGER PRIZE 1

In which we discover scientists of faith

CHAPTER TWO: THE SECRET OF LIFE 23

In which Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection survives

CHAPTER THREE: MIRACLE AT COLUMBIA 56

In which both sides pray for victory

CHAPTER FOUR: GIVING UP THE GHOST 79

In which we search for the soul

CHAPTER FIVE: THE SILENT ARMY 93

In which we search for an afterlife

CHAPTER SIX: THE TSUNAMI GOD 104

In which the innocent suffer

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE NEW AGE 116

In which anything goes

CHAPTER EIGHT: SCHRDINGER'S GRAVE 129

In which quantum mysticism is found to be superstition

CHAPTER NINE: THE BARBARY DUCK 142

In which the body heals itself

CHAPTER TEN: THE DEER 161

In which the placebo effect is explained

CHAPTER ELEVEN: THE MORAL LAW 188

In which we instinctively know right from wrong

CHAPTER TWELVE: THE LAST BUTTERFLY 202

In which there is no place else to go

Bibliography 217

Index 221

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691133553
Subtitle:
Belief in the Age of Science
Author:
Park, Robert L
Author:
Park, Robert L.
Author:
Parker, Robert L.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Religion and sociology
Subject:
Belief and doubt
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religion & Science
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Religion and science
Subject:
Religion Miscellaneous-Religion and Science
Subject:
Popular science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
October 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Metaphysics » Skeptics and Debunkers
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Religion » World Religions » Religion and Science

Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691133553 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Science is the only way of knowing — everything else is just superstition,' says physicist Park (Voodoo Science) in this thinly argued rehash of the debate between science and religion. Among other questions, Park revisits experiments regarding the healing power of intercessory prayer (prayer for the healing of others), citing several studies that he claims are meaningless because it is impossible to measure prayer. Further, he says, only science, not prayer, con protect us from so-called 'acts of God,' like a tsunami. Park argues against the existence of the soul by debunking a tale of reincarnation and even interprets the Bible to his own purposes. But this chapter also shows how disjointed his arguments can be, as he jumps from the Plan B contraceptive to genes and memes to stem cells and ghosts. Such issues have been covered more eloquently and in greater depth by thinkers like Daniel Dennett in Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? Robert Park, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science is the only way we have of understanding the world.

Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and, he fears, increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people's blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves.

Compelling and precise, Superstition takes no hostages in its quest to provoke. In shedding light on some very sensitive--and Park would say scientifically dubious--issues, the book is sure to spark discussion and controversy.

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