Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 per cent 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 has been consistently disproved. And about 40 per cent 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.
©2010 The University of Chicago (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"How can we decide what counts as science? That is the central question of this brilliant book, which ought to be required reading for, well, everyone." (New Scientist)
"Jay Russell's excellent narration guides listeners through the skeptic's arguments, even when Pigliucci bogs down in scientific language. Russell delivers the author's passion for his subject with some sarcasm or anger but, overall, maintains his role as a reasoned guide." (AudioFile)
This is a book that I like, as the subject matter is right up my alley, but I must say I have stopped listening to it as the style of narration gets bothersome after a while. The narrator speaks with a 'staccato' voice that cannot possibly reflect his normal mode of speaking. A few minutes is fine, but after a while becomes tiring. It's a bit like listening to a robot and a bit as if the narrator thinks we won't be able to understand what he says if he speak normally instead of in this artificial and disjointed fashion he has invented. That nonwithstanding, if you don't mind this, then do definitely consider buying it as Pigliucci talks a lot of sense and deserves to be heard.
"nonsense on stilts"
excellent,read,if you want to listen to common sense ; The talker is excellent overall quality
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