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Offline Reading Recomendations > Wednesday, June-23-2010

Book Recommendation: Scientific Paranormal Investigation

Keywords: book

So I decided to send an email to Ben Radford, skeptical investigator and co-host of the Monster Talk podcast.  I had a question about his investigation of the KiMo Ghost, and I mentioned that I was looking forward to his new book, "Scientific Paranormal Investigation" coming out.  He told me that his book was already available, I just couldn't buy it from Amazon.com yet.

Then he offered to personally sign a copy of the book for me.  I readily agreed, and about a week later I received the book in the mail:

Benjamin Radford's Scientific Paranormal 

Investigation

As promised, the title page is signed by Radford himself:

Benjamin Radford's Signature

I've never had a book actually signed by the author before, so that's kind of cool.

Of course, I take this to mean that we're now best buds.  I know he still hasn't responded to the last email I sent him, but we're in tune so I understand that he's just busy and he knows that I'll forgive him for not answering my question right away.

When you're on the same wavelength like that, you don't need to put this kind of thing into words.  I know that he values and respects me, after all he did show it by sending me a personally signed copy of his latest book.  How many people would he do that for?

Form On Radfordbooks.com
Order form on Radfordbooks.com

....... Shut up!!!

Okay fine, so he does it for everybody.  Big deal!  You can tell by the way he wrote "Keep It Real!" for me he really meant it.  After all, he used an exclamation point and a smiley face!

In any case, even though we're best buds I'm not about to sacrifice my integrity and give him a glowing review in spite of what I might think of his book.  So fortunately for him, I found the book to be very engrossing.

A couple of quotes from the book really appealed to me:
Full Story

Offline Reading Recomendations > Tuesday, June-15-2010

Book Recommendation: Lies, Damned Lies, And Science

Keywords: book

I just finished the book "Lies, Damned Lies, And Science" by Sherry Seethaler. 

Lies, Damned Lies, And Science

I enjoy books like this that help instill a greater understanding about how science and statistics work.  What is taught in this book is the kind of information that we should be teaching to our children at school so that we can have a more scientifically literate population.

The book helps provide people with the tools necessary in order to understand a greater perspective on issues than that which is typically filtered through the media.  Decisions on public policy relating to issues of science need to be made by weighing the pros and cons of all options, even that of keeping the status quo.

Uncertainties need to be acknowledged, and when there are trade-offs we need to recognize what kind of choices they entail and not paint issues in black and white terms.  How we frame the question is also very important.

I would recommend this book to anybody who's confused by all the media claims, studies, and statistics.  If you want to develop the ability to sort through it for yourself, this book will help you get there.

Offline Reading Recomendations > Wednesday, June-02-2010

Book Recommendation: Fads And Fallacies In The Name Of Science

Keywords: book

I read this book, "Fads And Fallacies In The Name Of Science", by Martin Gardner, last year.  I'd heard that it was a classic book on science and skepticism, and decided to buy the book and read it for myself.

Fads And Fallacies In The Name Of Science
You just don't see cover art like that anymore, do you?

It's a fascinating exploration of many of the figures and ideas that contribute to the pseudo sciences.  It's an excellent reference book to have on your shelf, and the pseudosciences it examines are absolutely engrossing.

I remember seeing that the original copyright date was 1952, and I sort of assumed that Mr. Gardner must already be deceased by now.  I remember thinking that I wonder what contemporary issues he might be writing about if he were still alive.

But then a few months ago I found out that he actually was still alive, and has continued writing.  Which means, of course, that I can explore that question that I thought was purely hypothetical.

Sadly, he just passed away at the remarkable age of 95.  It kind of feels like I've come to terms with his death for the second time.  But, of course, I now realize that I have the option of catching up with his more contemporary writings.

If you've never read anything by Martin Gardner, look up Fads & Fallacies, or find other examples of his work.  The world needs more people who are willing to explore these issues critically and with a scientific mindset.


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