Science Friction

Where the Known Meets the Unknown

Michael Shermer

Times Books

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Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time

A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities 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 fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael 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? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.

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Book Excerpts

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Introduction
 
Why Not Knowing
 
Science and the Search for Meaning
 
That old Persian tentmaker (and occasional poet) Omar Khayyám well captured the human dilemma of the search for meaning in an apparently meaningless cosmos:
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.
It is in the vacuum of such willy-nilly whencing and whithering that we humans are so prone to grasp for transcendent interconnectedness.

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About the Author

Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Science Friction
Where the Known Meets the Unknown
Michael Shermer

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429900881
ISBN10: 1429900881
336 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
December 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805079142
ISBN10: 0805079149
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages, Includes forty-seven black-and-white illustrations, with charts throughout
$19.99
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