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Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

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Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science,[1] Martin Gardner's second book, is an early classic and foundational text of the movement for scientific skepticism. It contains a fairly comprehensive survey of crank beliefs as they existed in the 1950s. The book was first published in 1952 as In the Name of Science: An Entertaining Survey of the High Priests and Cultists of Science, Past and Present.

In the preface to the second edition, published in 1957, Gardner wrote:

The first edition of this book prompted many curious letters from irate readers. The most violent letters came from Reichians, furious because the book considered Orgonomy alongside such (to them) outlandish cults as dianetics. Dianeticians, of course, felt the same about orgonomy. I heard from homeopaths who were insulted to find themselves in company with such frauds as osteopathy and chiropractic, and one chiropractor in Kentucky "pitied" me because I had turned my spine on God's greatest gift to suffering humanity. Several admirers of Dr. Bates favored me with letters so badly typed that I suspect the writers were in urgent need of strong spectacles. Oddly enough, most of these correspondents objected to one chapter only, thinking all the others excellent.

This must have been before the rise of crank magnetism.


As per the subtitle of the book, "The curious theories of modern pseudoscientist and the strange, amusing and alarming cults that surround them" are discussed in the chapters as listed.

  1. In the Name of Science, an introductory chapter
  2. Flat and Hollow
  3. Monsters of Doom
  4. The Forteans
  5. Flying Saucers
  6. Zig-Zag-and-Swirl
  7. Down with Einstein!
    • Joseph Battell, Thomas H. Graydon, George Francis Gillette, Jeremiah J. Callahan and others.
  8. Sir Isaac Babson
  9. Dowsing Rods and Doodlebugs
    • Solcol W. Tromp and radiesthesia
    • Kenneth Roberts, Henry Gross and their dowsing
  10. Under the Microscope
  11. Geology versus Genesis
    • Philip Henry Gosse and his Omphalos
    • George McCready Price and The New Geology
    • Mortimer Adler’s writings on evolution
    • Hilaire Belloc’s debate with H. G. Wells
  12. Lysenkoism
  13. Apologists for Hate
  14. Atlantis and Lemuria
  15. The Great Pyramid
    • John Taylor, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Charles Taze Russell and others with their theories about the Great Pyramid of Giza
  16. Medical Cults
  17. Medical Quacks
  18. Food Faddists
  19. Throw Away Your Glasses!
  20. Eccentric Sexual Theories
  21. Orgonomy
  22. Dianetics
  23. General Semantics, Etc.
    • Alfred Korzybski, Samuel I. Hayakawa and “general semantics”
    • Jacob L. Moreno and “psychodrama”
  24. From Bumps to Handwriting
  25. ESP and PK
  26. Bridey Murphy and Other Matters
    • Morey Bernstein and Bridey Murphy
    • a final plea for orthodoxy and responsibility in publishing.

External links[edit]


  1. Martin Gardner, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Dover Publications, 1957 (2nd edition). ISBN 978-0-486-20394-2