Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics

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9780393325720: Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics
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"Something about Gardner's prose―straight-ahead, factual, free of literary pretension―is deliciously addictive."―Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

Martin Gardner―"one of the most brilliant men and gracious writers I have ever known," wrote Stephen Jay Gould―is the wittiest, most devastating debunker of scientific fraud and chicanery of our time. In this new book Gardner explores startling scientific concepts, such as the possibility of multiple universes and the theory that time can go backwards. Armed with his expert, skeptical eye, he examines the bizarre tangents produced by Freudians and deconstructionists in their critiques of "Little Red Riding Hood," and reveals the fallacies of pseudoscientific cures, from Dr. Bruno Bettelheim's erroneous theory of autism to the cruel farces of Facilitated Communication and Primal Scream Therapy. Ever prolific, and still engaging at the spry age of eighty-eight, Gardner has become an American institution unto himself, a writer to be celebrated.

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About the Author:

Martin Gardner (1914-2010) is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on Lewis Carroll and his work. The author of more than a hundred books, he wrote the "Mathematical Games" column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and has been hailed by Douglas Hofstadter as "one of the great intellects produced in this country in this century."

From Publishers Weekly:

Gardner is a revered figure among science buffs for his long tenure at Scientific American, The Annotated Alice and his many other publications. This latest collection brings together recent columns and introductions to new editions of neglected gems like Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. The first two sections cover familiar Gardner topics: science and games. In the third section, Gardner (who bills himself a philosophical theist) muses on religion and religious figures and ties in with the last section on Freudians and psychics. This is not one of Gardner's stronger collections. Too often he seems petulant in an Andy Rooney sort of way, but without Rooney's underlying sense of fairness. He brands Gary Wills a near-heretic for Wills's criticisms of the Catholic Church; Gardner concludes his critique with a six-point catechism demanding to know what Wills himself believes. Wills's Why I Am a Catholic has been in print for almost a year, ample time for Gardner to have added an afterword, as he has for a few of his other essays. Gardner's distaste for Freudian and feminist interpretations of the Little Red Riding Hood story seems to stem mainly from their sexual content. His own interpretation is a simplistic, albeit plausible, tale of good and evil. Gardner's best essays cover old stomping grounds: literature like the Oz stories or Edgar Wallace's The Green Archer, and the tricks used by psychics and various New Age tricksters. Still, die-hard Gardner fans may find worthwhile reading here. 30 illus.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780393057423: Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Godel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics

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