What Fake Science and the Paranormal Tell Us about the Nature of Science
In a world where science faces challenges from creationists and climate change deniers, and where social media is awash with wild conspiracy theories, it is no longer enough for scientists, pundits, and activists to simply ask the public to trust science. Rather, all must better understand how science works, and why science is essential. By exploring many of the odd beliefs embraced by large sections of the public that are rejected by the scientific mainstream, Weirdness! makes a case for science that goes beyond popular slogans. It takes seriously claims that paranormal phenomena, such as psychic abilities and magical creatures, might be real, but demonstrates how such phenomena would extend beyond the laws of nature. It rejects a sharp boundary between science and religion, while explaining how to negotiate their real differences. Denials of science cause no end of trouble, but so too does placing blind trust in science. As Weirdness! reminds readers, science should not be seen as a mechanism that takes in data and spits out truth—indeed, what we get wrong about how the world works is often as interesting as what we get right.