Journal Gazette | 06/12/2005 | Skeptic's writings challenge 'baloney'

"Science," Michael Shermer writes, "is a great Baloney Detection Kit."

Founder of the Skeptics Society, publisher of Skeptic magazine, columnist for Scientific American, editor of "The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience" and author of "Why People Believe Weird Things," Shermer is a veteran baloney detector.

Fortunately, that is not all science is, or Shermer is. There is plenty of debunking in his new collection of essays, "Science Friction" -- of �€œcold (i.e., psychic) reading,' 'sports science,' recent scandals in anthropology and especially of 'intelligent design' theory as a competitor to evolutionary adaptationism. But there are also meaty accounts of such interesting problems as counterfactuality and complexity in history and of recent controversies in evolutionary theory, entertaining discussions of the most famous episode of "Star Trek" and the causes of the mutiny on the Bounty, along with the author's personal accounts of caring for his dying mother (very affecting) and of his life as a professional skeptic (less so).


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