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When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish:…

When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish: And Other Speculations About…

by Martin Gardner

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I grew up reading Martin Gardner's math books. Loved 'em. So I was excited to give his new collection a shot. And it has a few good essays. I enjoyed learning about "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum and the poem "Evolution" (from where the title of the book comes). And I'm always game for a good thrashing of Ann Coulter. Sadly, though, the math chapters were way too elementary and have been covered by Gardner himself on many occasions. And the chapters dealing with faith and skepticism are so basic and so much like shooting fish in barrels that I started skipping them altogether. So. I think this book might be wonderful for a high school student, but there's just not really enough there for an adult reader. I still have great respect for Martin Gardner, but either I've outgrown him or this isn't his greatest effort. Possibly a combination. ( )
  chasing | Jan 18, 2016 |
Picked this up because it was recommended in my PBK newsletter, but I should have done more research before I decided to read this one. A collection of short articles by the author, from various magazines and publications (this is not the type of thing I like to read). From the very first, (in debunking Ann Coulter, who I agree is pretty offensive) he reads as anti-conservative but with no real info to support himself, and later, anti-Christian. The other articles just really didn't hold my interest, although the writing style was good and easy to read. ( )
  effulgent7 | Jul 25, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809087375, Hardcover)

Best known as the longtime writer of the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American—which introduced generations of readers to the joys of recreational mathematics—Martin Gardner has for decades pursued a parallel career as a devastatingly effective debunker of what he once famously dubbed “fads and fallacies in the name of science.” It is mainly in this latter role that he is onstage in this collection of choice essays.
When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish takes aim at a gallery of amusing targets, ranging from Ann Coulter’s qualifications as an evolutionary biologist to the logical fallacies of precognition and extrasensory perception, from Santa Claus to The Wizard of Oz, from mutilated chessboards to the little-known “one-poem poet” Langdon Smith (the original author of this volume’s title line). The writings assembled here fall naturally into seven broad categories: Science, Bogus Science, Mathematics, Logic, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, and Politics. Under each heading, Gardner displays an awesome level of erudition combined with a wicked sense of humor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:34 -0400)

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