SCIENCE FRICTION: Where the Known Meets the Unknown

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

A wide-ranging if tepid collection of 14 essays by the publisher of Skeptic magazine.In his introduction, Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil, 2004, etc.) cites various biases that prevent us from understanding the world around us. He agrees with Francis Bacon—who first identified these "personal barriers"—that only the scientific method can insure a true picture of reality. In that spirit ... Read full review

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Parts of this book were so good that my roommate read vicariously through me and then insisted that I get another Michael Shermer book. Those parts which did not capture my short attention span were easily skipped to the next chapter (minus .5 stars for making me flip pages.) With a median rating of 2.3 stars I think some readers were expecting a feel good book with a happy ending, but in fact, his hero dies in the last chapter (plus 1 star for keeping it real.)
By applying the scientific method in his writings Shermer brought relevance to my life, helping me to understand that critical thinking does not make me critical, it is the nagging that makes me critical. Along with self-discovery, Shermer has also shown me a glimpse of an entire demographic of people like me who spend time thinking and talking about the increased levels of oxytocin in the brain of monogamous mammals during sex.
The book offers an enticing buffet of topics, however at least two of them were blatantly self-indulgent (minus 1 star for not having enough game to hide his motives.) With a sum of minus .5 stars I am obviously not a scientist but his mentor and hero, Stephen Jay Gould, would be proud that Shermer has brought scientific thought from academia to the mainstream which Gould himself endeavored to do.

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