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Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner is a well-known science writer who for years authored the ''Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American.  His Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, first published in 1952, is the classic of skeptical literature.  In this volume, Gardner displays some of the best qualities of a skeptical author: good writing, good research in an area fraught with obscurity, and genuine fascination for pseudoscience and crankery of ail kinds. His book is a parade of eccentric people and eccentric theories: hollow and flat Earth, bizarre physics, Lysenkoism, the Bates vision-correction system, Reich's orgonomy, general semantics, parapsychology, and medical quackery (always a fertile field).   You'd have to spend years haunting libraries and writing away for pamphlets to assemble half of the histories and biographies that Gardner presents here in a thoroughly sane, good-humored style.
-- T.S.

Since Albert Abrams' day, hundreds of similar electrical devices have reaped fortunes for their inventors.  In Los Angeles, for example, Dr. Ruth B. Drown is currently operating an Abrams-type machine which diagnoses ailments from the "vibrations" of blood samples. She keeps a huge file of blotting papers on which are preserved samples of the blood of all her patients.  By placing a sample in another machine, she can tune the device to the patient, then broadcast healing rays to him while he remains at home!

Some idea of the worth of homeopathic medicines may be gathered from the fact that one of them (no longer used) was called lachryma filia, and consisted of tears from a weeping young girl. Other curious remedies are made from such substances as powdered starfish (asterias rubens), skunk secretion (mephitis), crushed live bedbugs (cimex lectularius), powdered anthracite coal, powdered oyster shells, and uric acid (acidum uricum) obtained from human urine or snake excrement.

ISBN: 0486203948

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