The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense

The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense

The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense

The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense

Synopsis

An eye-opening exploration of the fuzzy terrain where science leaves off and nonsense begins In The Borderlands of Science, Michael Shermer takes us to the place where real science, borderline science-and just plain nonsense-collide. Shermer argues that while science is the best lens through which to view the world, it is often difficult to decipher where valid science leaves off and borderland, or "fuzzy" science begins. To solve this dilemma, he looks at a range of topics that put this boundary line in high relief. For instance, he debunks the many "theories of everything" that try to reduce the complexity of the world to a single principle. He examines the work of Darwin and Freud, explaining why one is among the great scientists in history, while the other has become nothing more than a historical curiosity. And he reveals how scientists themselves can be led astray, as seen in the infamous Piltdown hoax-the set of ancient hominid bones discovered in England that after decades turned out to be nothing more than an elaborate forgery. From SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and acupuncture to hypnosis and human cloning, this enlightening book will help readers stay grounded in common sense amid the flurry of supposedly scientific theories that inundate us every day.

Excerpt

In late September of 1999 I went to Stonehenge, the magnificent Druidical stones laid out in the countryside of southern England. Well, sort of. I traveled to Stonehenge…inmy mind…as part of an experiment on a phenomenon called “remote viewing,” the belief that one can, in the words of my remote-viewing instructor—Dr. Wayne Carr of the Western Institute of Remote Viewing in Reno, Nevada—“experience, feel, see, and describe, detailed and accurate information on any event, person, being, place, process or object that has ever existed, does exist, or will exist.” According to Carr:

Historically, remote viewing was developed at Stanford Research Institute for the army and the Defense Intelligence Agency. It was used in a secret espionage program for twenty years. This is why few people had heard of remote viewing untilabout three years ago when the government went public on “Nightline.” Protocols have now been refined to allow trained remote viewers consistent detailed accuracy. Remote viewing could be considered a distant cousin to some other psychic disciplines, with the main difference being the extremely high and consistent accuracy. A single remote viewing usually takes about an hour or more. During this time, one can become “bilocated” and have strong “target” contact with all of one's senses. A target can be in the past, present or future. This is not some kind of “psychic network”; rather it is a serious scientific technique for exploration.

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