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A Very Good XMas Gift PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
frontcoverA book by the late Bob Schadewald, "Worlds of Their Own," deals with - as the jacket says:

A brief history of misguided ideas: creationism, flat-Earthism, energy scams, and the Velikovsky affair.

To that, I'll add: perpetual motion, general pseudoscience, and end-of-the-world nonsense, all handled in depth and with great perception. Bob was a prolific technical writer, and the best of these are very knowledgeable about real science. He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Science Education, including two years as its president.

Bob's sister Lois has published this fine book and it can be purchased at www.xlibris.com/WorldsofTheirOwn.html or you can purchase it directly from the JREF here.

Martin Gardner, in his review of the book, wrote:

No science fiction writer wrote about pseudoscience with greater accuracy and humor than Bob Schadewald.  It is high time that his great contributions to the growing literature of respect for genuine science over bogus science were finally recognized.

Okay? Now I know that you have to have this book...!

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written by Kuroyume, December 15, 2008
Alchemy (in its purest, 24K form)? ;P

We must give a modicum of credit (as little as possible anyway) to pseudosciences like astrology and alchemy for it was their participants' drive for knowledge seeking power and foresight that then led to astronomy and chemistry. Not that the participants were attempting to achieve the bland, practical, and scientific ends - but they fueled the curiousity and 'research' which eventually culminated in those ends. And of course, this is strictly limited to those of the past that led to the science of today and not the charlatans who continued in the pseudo part of the science despite.

Beyond that, we must show how these archaic notions fail to deliver and how the scientific ones deliver and deliver.
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written by razmatazspaz, December 16, 2008
The quote by Gardner above should read "science writer", not science fiction writer. I purchased this fine book at the American Atheist conference this past March from Lois Schadewald, who it was my pleasure to meet. Most impressive to me was Mr. Schadewalds ability to befriend the people whose ideas he was exposing as pseudoscience. He gathered information from the inside, attending many of the meetings of the International Flat Earth Research Society. He was able to have honest relationships with those whose ideas he found to be delusional, all for the sake of his unbridled curiosity. His sense of humor is evident in many of his writings, especially the piece he wrote for Science Digest describing his invention of a perpetual motion machine, The Schadewald Gravity Engine, published on April 1,1978. He was surprised at the acceptance that it generated, despite the many clues it was a spoof. Like Randi, he collected some 885 rare books and pamphlets and seventy boxes of research files on pseudoscience. I wonder if Mr. Randi knew Bob? I would highly recommend this book.
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written by cwniles, December 16, 2008
Ok, I am intrigued.

By the way, using the link provided in the article, you can access several pages excerpted the book.
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written by hamradioguy, December 16, 2008
This should be well worth a buy. Bob Schadewald once wrote a spoof article describing a perpetual motion machine he invented. He generously offered to GIVE it to the world on April 1st provided only that anyone building it put Bob's initials on the finished machine. Apparently a lot of folks never caught on- he received a good number of letters asking for plans or thanking him for his gift to the world.
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