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Quantum Leaps In The Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends, And Pseudoscience Begins

by Charles M. Wynn And Arthur W. Wiggins, Illust. By Sidney Harris

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From Publishers Weekly
In this lightweight little book, Wynn, a professor of chemistry, and Wiggins, a professor of physics, follow up their Five Biggest Ideas in Science with what might be called The Five Biggest Ideas in Pseudoscience: UFOs and aliens, out-of-body experiences, astrology, creationism, and ESP. Into this mix they throw every suspect (usually money-making) pseudoscience they can think of. Their inclusion of graphology might be questioned, since it has long held a higher reputation in Europe than in the U.S., and the matter of Holocaust deniers is better dealt with elsewhere. The chapter on creationism is unlikely to change the opinions of many believers, and an ill-considered section on life after death may cause some readers to set the book aside. Angels fear to tread into discussions of the immortality of the soul, and these authors should have too. Wynn and Wiggins apparently were aiming for a serious discussion leavened with humor, but their approach seems incoherent. Sidney Harris, well known for his work in the New Yorker, has contributed cartoons, but they are rather hit-and-miss and just add to the uneven tone of the book. The authors make some interesting points (Noah's ark, if built to the dimensions given in the Bible, wouldn't have been seaworthy), but it's doubtful that readers who believe in astrology, ESP or UFOs will pick this book up to begin with, let alone be convinced by the authors' arguments. (June 5)Forecast: It won't be long before this title takes a quantum leap into the remainder bins.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Journal of the American Medical Association, April 3, 2002
"...succinct and jargon-free style... The strength of this book resides in such sparkling prose."

James Randi, aka The Amazing Randi
Here we have, in their book, a clearer look at the misconceptions and outright deceptions that plague us. Lots of sunlight, and a dash of disinfectant!

Lawrence M. Krauss, author of Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond
This book is an enjoyable and informative primer...with wonderful cartoons by Sidney Harris that complement the text.

Leon M. Lederman, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics
Quantum Leaps is one of a far too small cluster of rational books that responds to 'voodoo science' issues such as UFO's, astrology, and other such nonsense.

Dr. Arthur Eisenkraft, National Science Teachers Association President 2000-2001
...the public has much to gain from the authors' contrast between the nature of scientific evidence and the stories of pseudoscience that fill the media.

New England Skeptical Society, July 2001
"an excellent primer on Science and Pseudoscience, complete with a set of straightforward techniques for telling the difference between them."

Alberta Skeptics
"Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction is a very approachable book on pseudoscientific subjects."

"...worthy and well-meaning...readable and likeable..."

"This is non-technical but very good. Unfortunately most Americans will be off reading pseudoscience trash rather than this."

Stacey's Booksellers, Staff Review, November 2001
"Peppered with humorous cartoons of Sidney Harris...offers valuable tips for anyone pondering the shaky claims of bogus science."



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