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Download The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense Audiobook, by Michael Shermer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (267 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Shermer Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2003 ISBN: 9781415911532
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As author of the bestselling Why People Believe Weird Things and How We Believe, and Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer has emerged as the nation's number one scourge of superstition and bad science. Now, in The Borderlands of Science, he takes us to the place where real science (such as the big bang theory), borderland science (superstring theory), and just plain nonsense (Big Foot) collide with one another.

Shermer argues that science is the best lens through which to view the world, but he recognizes that it's often difficult for most of us to tell where valid science leaves off and borderland science begins. To help us, Shermer looks at a range of topics that put the boundary line in high relief. For instance, he discusses the many theories of everything that try to reduce the complexity of the world to a single principle, and shows how most fall into the category of pseudoscience. 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. He also shows how Carl Sagan's life exemplified the struggle we all face to find a balance between being open-minded enough to recognize radical new ideas but not so open-minded that our brains fall out. And finally, he reveals how scientists themselves can be led astray, as seen in the infamous Piltdown Hoax.

Michael Shermer's enlightening volume will be a valuable aid to anyone bewildered by the many scientific theories swirling about. It will help us stay grounded in common sense as we try to evaluate everything from SETI and acupuncture to hypnosis and cloning. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The book provides grist for the mill of thought and debate.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The author demonstrates in human-interest fashion how scientists’ personal traits influence their scientific research. The recreational rationalist will have fun with Shermer’s potpourri.”

    Booklist

  • “Quick-witted, shrewd, open-minded—these barely describe Michael Shermer’s latest confection of intriguing stories, arguments, and insightful observations. His cruise through the shadowlands of science makes a fascinating expedition of the mind.”

    Gregory Benford, author of Deep Time

  • “Whether the issue is alternative medicine or environmental threats, cloning or race, cosmology or hypnosis, Shermer keeps his focus on the central question: Where do we draw the line between solid science, pseudoscience, and the untamed territory in between? This is a detailed, multi-faceted exploration of these ever-shifting borderlands, as well as the fascinating people who populate them.”

    K. C. Cole, author of The Hole in the Universe: How Scientists Peered over the Edge of Emptiness and Found Everything

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 12/26/2013

    " There is much of interest in this book, but it does not form a coherent whole. It appears to be more a collection of essays than an exposition on one theme. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Warren Benton | 12/10/2013

    " This book discusses how some realms of science aren't really scientific. Somethings they have fully figured out yet and are still running on theory with little to no evidence. He finished off the book discussing Darwin and how lots of research still needs to be done in the theory of evolution. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 8/21/2013

    " Good ideas but needed substantial editing "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 5/27/2013

    " so and so, nothing great "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 4/24/2013

    " It was okay, but perhaps not quite what you'd expect from reading the blurbs on the cover. The author frequently indulged in long explorations of topics that seemed tangential to the central theme, occasionally adopting an unfortunate know-it-all tone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Myers | 4/21/2013

    " An even and thoughtful exploration of science that reaches to the fridge, and nonsense that skitters out into the darkness of absurdity. With so much confusion about what really is science, this book helps clarify this distinction while honestly pointing out some of science's missteps. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul Vilarino | 3/14/2013

    " repetitive and didn't seem to make the point "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Colin Bendell | 1/9/2013

    " The first chapter was kind interesting. The rest was just a long winded history lesson on Wallace and Darwin that had nothing to do with the borderlands of science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal | 12/9/2012

    " Ever wonder how things become science..... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christopher Carbone | 7/11/2012

    " Disappointing follow-up to Why people Believe Weird Things that, regrettably, never gets off the ground. At no point did the book push any of my intellectual buttons. Eminently skippable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 5/17/2011

    " This was OK, but not all that great. Some parts were quite interesting and others not so. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam | 4/24/2011

    " At time engrossing but badly structured and repetitive. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 3/28/2011

    " so and so, nothing great "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 10/10/2010

    " An even and thoughtful exploration of science that reaches to the fridge, and nonsense that skitters out into the darkness of absurdity. With so much confusion about what really is science, this book helps clarify this distinction while honestly pointing out some of science's missteps. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Colin | 9/15/2010

    " The first chapter was kind interesting. The rest was just a long winded history lesson on Wallace and Darwin that had nothing to do with the borderlands of science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal | 10/16/2009

    " Ever wonder how things become science..... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christopher | 4/15/2009

    " Disappointing follow-up to Why people Believe Weird Things that, regrettably, never gets off the ground. At no point did the book push any of my intellectual buttons. Eminently skippable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elf | 7/29/2008

    " This book read like the ocean; when the tide was in, the material rocked, but it always slipped back out of fascination.

    Two things make it worth reading however: the other books it references, and the fact that the author biked 2600 miles coast to coast in 8 days. Good God!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 10/26/2007

    " Good ideas but needed substantial editing

    "

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About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.