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Politics and biography make strange bedfellows
[SA2 Edition]
Toronto Star - Toronto, Ont.
Author: Stuewe, Paul
Date: Mar 17, 1990
Start Page: M.14
Abstract (Document Summary)

Gardner's 1957 Fads & Fallacies In The Name Of Science was a hugely enjoyable demolition of pseudo-scientific nonsense, and he keeps up the good work in this similarly enlightening sequel. If you've had it with the wild claims of those who believe in such parapsychological phenomena as Uri Geller's supposed ability to bend spoons and keys to his will, [Martin Gardner] will explain exactly why we can file this under skulduggery rather than science. The book's basic concern is that standard investigative procedures be applied to all claims of supernatural happenings. Thus when English researchers secretly videotaped children who claimed to be able to emulate Geller's feats, they obtained incontrovertible photographic evidence of the obvious cheating involved. Several of Gardner's essays make brilliant use of the insights of professional magicians, whose ability to discern fakery that mystifies many scientists is humorously documented. Science: Good, Bad And Bogus belongs in the library of everyone determined to defend rationality against the rising tide of occultist claptrap.

As [Sandra Djwa] presents it, [F. R. Scott]'s subsequent development was basically a process of intellectual discovery, a story of books read and influential thinkers encountered. We see him as a callow undergraduate at Oxford, reading socialist writers and deciding that it was a Christian's responsibility to improve the world. He matured into the cultural sophisticate who encountered "the latest in art and poetry" in the influential journal Dial and moved in the same literary circles as Canadians A.J.M. Smith, Leo Kennedy and A.M. Klein. Details of Scott's life are sometimes presented in an overly schematic form that can seem trite - a description of Scott and his wife Marian visiting Athens, where they "felt themselves most strongly in touch with the democratizing ideals of Western culture," is typical - but Djwa is undoubtedly right to stress the intellectual side of Scott's character.

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