Nine Crazy Ideas in Science: A Few of Them Might Even be True

One of the goals of a course I teach in our Honors College is to provide non-science majors with the tools they need to differentiate authentic science from material that has merely been provided a "scientific" dressing. Physicist Robert Ehrlich has provided nine case studies that are ideal for this purpose. Do more guns in the hands of citizens decrease crime? Is AIDS really caused by HIV? Is sun exposure harmful or beneficial? Are low doses of (nuclear) radiation beneficial? Does our solar system have two suns? Do "fossil" fuels really come from abiogenic origins? Is time travel possible? Is the Big Bang a myth? Are there faster-than-light particles? Ehrlich takes a serious and analytical look at each of these questions, and (unfortunately, I think) states his answer at the end of each chapter. The important thing is, of course, not the conclusion but the quest for it.

Pick Attribution: 

Robert Ehrlich

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2002