In this enlightening and entertaining book, author and Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier takes readers on a journey to the contentious boundary zone between science and its antagonists: pseudoscience (pretend science) and anti-science (open hostility to science). Pseudoscience romps in the shadows of science but takes on the guise of science to excite, sell, mislead, and deceive the public. Anti-science denigrates, even denies, findings of science for ideological ends.
In this dangerous age of misinformation (and dis-information), we need science’s remarkable truth-seeking tools more than ever to help counter society’s crazier impulses in which opinion, beliefs, and lies trump facts, evidence, and truth.
In one sense, Shadows of Science is Frazier’s love letter to science, one of humanity’s greatest inventions, one we should exalt for its unique ability to find provisional truths about nature. In congenial prose he reports on recent discoveries and describes how science works and how its error-correcting mechanisms lead eventually to new knowledge. He tells the stories of some of our champions of science and reason. He describes the little-appreciated values of science, how it embraces uncertainty and humility, and its emphasis on fact-based observation and experiment. Pseudoscience adopts some of science’s language and has a beguiling appeal, but there the similarities end.
Frazier has professionally reported on frontier scientific discoveries and observed and exposed the pretensions and dangers of pseudoscience and anti-science his entire career. Here he shares his experiences, his knowledge and insights, and his love and passion for our ability to learn what’s real about the natural world—and to identify and expose fake science, pretend science, and anti-science in all their multifarious forms.
Kendrick Frazier was the longtime editor of Skeptical Inquirer: The Magazine for Science and Reason, and a leading voice in the modern skeptical movement to uphold the values of scientific inquiry and critical thinking. He is the author or editor of then books. Formerly, Frazier was editor of Science News, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Geophysical Union. He is a recipient of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s “In Praise of Reason” Award.