Worlds of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams, and the Velikovsky Affair - Robert J. Schadewald
Written by Robert J. Schadewald
Publication Date: August 27, 2008
History is written by the winners; including the histories of science and scholarship. Unorthodoxies that flourish at the grassroots are often beneath the contempt of historians. Zetetic astronomy (flat-Earth science) was a household term in Victorian England, but not a single reference to it is found in conventional histories. We ignore such histories at our peril; the modern "intelligent design" movement is almost a carbon copy of the 19th century flat-Earth movement in its argumentative techniques.
When orthodox science finds itself stumped, or a certain segment finds it unpalatable, the unorthodox may rush in to fill the void. The past two decades have brought a surge of interest in the history and philosophy of science. But how do we discern between pseudo and actual science? To fully understand what science is, we must understand what science is not. Written with penetrating insight into the minds of alternative thinkers, this book throws light on the differences between pseudo and actual science. The droll humor that permeates Worlds of Their Own makes it as enjoyable a read as it is enlightening.
Despite its focus on unorthodox ideas, Worlds of Their Own is about human nature. Whether they drew their ideas from the Bible or nature, all the pseudoscientists discussed in this book were driven to communicate their "truth" to the misinformed world. None was afflicted with self-doubt. All defended their "truth" with similar standards of evidence, modes of reasoning, and methods of scholarship. Their counterparts are legion - the blue-collar philosopher who refutes Einstein from his barstool, the preacher who refutes (but cannot define) evolution from his pulpit, the narcissist who promotes quackery courtesy of modern talk shows and infomercials. Each topic discussed in Worlds of Their Own covers a once-popular concept that persists to this day.
Numerous works examine or debunk pseudoscientific ideas. Wor
From the Inside Flap
History is written by the winners, including that of science. Unorthodoxies that flourish at the grassroots are often beneath the contempt of historians. Zetetic astronomy (flat-Earth science) was a household term in Victorian England, but not a single reference to it is found in conventional histories. We ignore such histories at our peril.
Since the beginning of time, romancers have promoted pseudosciences -- their intellectual love children. Conceived on the wrong side of the blanket and born on the wrong side of the tracks, they usually die in obscurity. Before they do, they may cause genuine harm. So, how do we discern between pseudo and actual science? To fully understand what science is, we must understand what science is not. This book throws light on the difference, with a few laughs along the way.
Worlds of Their Own was compiled by Lois Schadewald, Bob\'s sister, an Iowa State University alum and science educator, who teaches chemistry at Normandale Community College in Minnesota. She spent her 2003-2004 sabbatical preparing Worlds of Their Own as a fitting tribute to her late brother. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
"What fun to have Bob Schadewald\'s major essays finally available! These thoughtful/insightful essays (perpetual motion, flat-earthism, creationism, Velikovskyism) are required reading for anyone seeking to understand why these ideas persist, regardless of their lack of scientific merit."
-Eugenie C. Scott, PhD,
Author, Evolution vs Creationism: An Introduction,
and Executive Director, National Center for Science Education
"Bob Schadewald was a good man with a good mind. His criticisms against `creation science\' apply equally to today\'s creationism, `intelligent design.\' Lois\' posthumous publication of this book is one more gift from Bob to the world of science and literature."
- Barbara Forrest,
co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism\'s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design
"The best way of understanding science is to understand pseudoscience, a valuable lesson in this time of `Intelligent Design\' swindles. Once you realize that `Scientific Creationism\' works exactly like Velikovskyism and Flat Earth `Science,\' the jig is up. Schadewald\'s good-natured but unsparing scrutiny is both hilarious and infuriating."
- Robert M. Price,
Journal of Higher Criticism
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
See all Editorial Reviews
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Xlibris (August 27, 2008)