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In Science Friction, best-selling author and Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer pretends to be a psychic for a day … and fools everyone; as a psychologist and bicycle racer Shermer reveals the science behind sports psychology; as a historian and evolutionary theorist Shermer considers what was truly responsible for the mutiny on the Bounty; and as a son, Shermer explores the possibilities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself. In each of the essays in Science Friction, Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know, and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact?
You may disagree with Michael Shermer, but you’d better have a good reason and you’ll have your work cut out finding it. He describes skepticism as a virtue, but I think that understates his own unique contribution to contemporary intellectual discourse. Worldly-wise sounds wearily cynical so I’d call Shermer universe-wise. I’d call him shrewd, but it doesn’t do justice to the breadth and depth of his inspired scientific vision. I’d call him a spirited controversialist, but that doesn’t do justice to his urbane good humor. Oh just read the book. Once you start, you won’t stop.
—Richard Dawkins, author of The Ancestor’s Tale, A Devil’s Chaplain, Climbing Mount Improbable, The Blind Watchmaker, and The Selfish Gene
From breast implants to Captain Bligh, Michael Shermer examines the way we humans perceive news and history. He’s given a lot of things a lot of thought. If your perceptions have ever rubbed you the wrong way, you’ll find Science Friction fascinating.
—Bill Nye, The Science Guy
Abridged audio presentation read by Michael Shermer.
Produced by John Wagner of John Wagner Studios.
Copyright © 2009 Michael Shermer. All rights reserved.
Five disk set. Total time: 5 hrs. 30 min.
In a collection of essays, Dr. Michael Shermer explores the difference between the known and the unknown, and between science and pseudoscience, covering a wide range of topics with the common theme of how we know anything is true. In this free audio download from Chapter 1, Dr. Shermer recounts his experiences as a psychic for a day, in which he pretended to be a psychic, astrologer, palm reader, and tarot card reader for a television show. He convinced a number of people that he could actually talk to their dead loved ones, read their astrological chart or palms, and divine their future through tarot cards. In recounting his experiences, Dr. Shermer explains the process of cold reading, in which through tried-and-true techniques you can convince almost anyone that you have genuine psychic powers.
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