Sunday, December 07, 2008

Books that emphatically debunk pseudohistory: 5 best

Damian Thompson, author of the recently released Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History, named a five best list of books for the Wall Street Journal. His subject: books that "emphatically debunk pseudohistory and spurious 'knowledge.'"

One title from the list:
Tower of Babel
by Robert T. Pennock
MIT Press, 1999

No form of counter-factual "knowledge" is more insidious than modern creationism, which exploits public ignorance of science to present religious myth as heavily footnoted research. In "Tower of Babel," Robert T. Pennock provides a magisterial guide to the different schools of creationism, from the nutty to the plausible. He is particularly effective at exposing the sleight of hand employed by the "intelligent design" school, which uses the twisted methodology of all pseudoscientists: Start with what you want to prove -- in this case, that nature could not have evolved without divine intervention -- and then work backward.
Read about another title on Thompson's list.

Damian Thompson is the editor in chief of The Catholic Herald. He also writes for The Daily Telegraph.

--Marshal Zeringue