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Monday, December 1, 2014
The more I learn about these con-artist quacks the more I hate them!
Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science – Martin Gardner (1957)
Martin Gardner is a name I recognized referenced in many of the books I read about pseudo-science, quackery, and delusions. This book, Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science, was the first work of the past 100 years that sought to include all the major nonsensical, seemingly scientific claims that many people at the time believed in. Sadly, there are still many slightly-educated fools that believe these things up to today.
The book is divided into chapters, each dealing with a specific subset of quackery. One of the first topics explored are the claims that the Earth is not a spheroid, but flat. Another of these pseudo-scientific fads which still has followers, and which had many more in the past, is the claim that the Earth is hollow, and that mysterious creatures and entities reside there. Mr. Gardner does a great job describing the claims put forth and explaining just what the many logical and intellectual fallacies the proponents of this nonsense fall into, fooling themselves into certitude.
There are chapters on the “flying saucer” nonsense, and chapters on the many medical quackeries that fleeced so much money from so many sick and suffering people between 1880-1950. One of the ways in which these beliefs and ideas are kept alive is by removing some of the older verbiage and replacing it with seemingly well-researched scientific-esque language. This is what allowed the full on lie that is chiropractic “medicine” to be practiced in the USA to this day. Originally, the quack that invented the chiropractic claimed that all the body’s diseases and ailments were caused by “sublimations” of the spinal vertebrae, and that by manipulating them and applying heat or massage treatments, all manner of disease could be cured. Of course, the wacko that created this flim-flam denied the existence of germs, and never accepted the germ-theory of disease. These days the chiropractors in the USA hide their quackery under the words of physical therapy, and rehabilitation. It is all bullshit, and chiropractic “care” is as effective as a sit in a hot tub. Temporary “relief,” followed by renewed pain and symptoms. The crooks in chiropractic care have survived to this day, milking the American health insurance cartels for millions of dollars in worthless care.
Other parts of the book discuss the lies of homeopathy, acupuncture, phrenology, and more. It may seem sad that people fall for this stuff, but the real sadness lies in the hearts and minds of the assholes who sell the sick, infirm, and suffering quackery as medicine. Those bastards are just as bad as the asshole that created Scientology once his science fiction books did not sell (because they sucked). It seems if you couch any crazy idea in seemingly scientific wording, unsuspecting people will eat it up. That is why it is important for everyone everywhere to have at least a working knowledge of science and the scientific method, and of logic and reasoning. A desperate person will turn to anyone offering answers. The assholes that prey on these desperate people deserve to suffer every possible pain imaginable. This book, or this one by James Randi (http://rxttbooks.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-masterful-reference-for-those-of-us.html ), or this one by Harry Houdini (http://rxttbooks.blogspot.com/2014/09/houdini-was-trying-to-school-us-about.html ) , should be required reading in all public schools. It would create a better educated citizenry, but then again, our political leaders may not want that!
(This book is available in .pdf format here: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Martin-Gardner-Fads-and-Fallacies-in-the-Name-of-Science.pdf )