Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong by Andrew Shtulman

Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong

"A fascinating, empathetic book"-Wall Street Journal Humans are born to create theories about the world--unfortunately, they're usually wrong, and keep us from understanding the world as it really is.Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost...

Title:Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0465053947
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages

Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong Reviews

  • Stephen Douglas Rowland
    May 28, 2017

    Boring, incredibly dry, with its thesis proven in the first two chapters then mercilessly repeated for 200 more pages.

  • Jill
    Jun 07, 2017

    Anyone who relies on intuitive deduction (and there’s a lot about intuitive theories in this book), will instantly surmise that I am related to the author, Andrew Shtulman. That much is true: Andrew and I are cousins (although Andrew might argue that all humankind is composed of cousins, even if it’s thirty times removed). What is also true is that even if we weren’t, I would still 5-star this book because it’s thought-provoking, intelligently written, fascinating in parts, and also carries an i

    Anyone who relies on intuitive deduction (and there’s a lot about intuitive theories in this book), will instantly surmise that I am related to the author, Andrew Shtulman. That much is true: Andrew and I are cousins (although Andrew might argue that all humankind is composed of cousins, even if it’s thirty times removed). What is also true is that even if we weren’t, I would still 5-star this book because it’s thought-provoking, intelligently written, fascinating in parts, and also carries an important message: we are squandering our future by turning our collective backs on the knowledge of science.

    Andrew’s premise is this: intuitive theories impede not just how much we think but how we live—the choices we make, the advice we take, the goals we pursue. The problem with relying on intuition, instead of research-based evidence, is two-fold: first, intuitive theories are usually wrong. And second, they can actually cause harm, as is evidenced by a distrust of pasteurization or vaccination because they’re not “pure” or not taking action on climate change because “it doesn’t feel warmer.”

    The book is divided into two parts: intuitive theories of the physical world and intuitive theories of the biological world. Here is where I need to interject that I have an atrophied left brain, and have never had a firm understanding of “all things logical”, including the sciences and math. Fortunately, the exposition is very accessible without feeling dumbed down. Take matter, for example. The subhead is: What is the world made of? How do those component interact? Or take gravity: What makes something heavy? What makes something move?

    While the first half of the book was more of an expository nature, the second half really ignited my imagination because it touches on questions like: what makes us alive? Why do we grow older? Why are there so many life forms and how do they change over time? I had to question my assumptions of why one thing (say, a plant) is alive and another (say, the sun) is not and how we evolve and grow. Most importantly, in this era of religion-led anti-evolution fervor, I recognized what’s really at stake: nothing less than understanding and accepting the trajectory of life/death and recognizing why living things are so exquisitely adapted to their environments.

    By recognizing the nuances, we can accept that aging, for example, is one continuous change rather than a series of discrete changes rather than one continuous change and that inheritance is the reproductive transmission of genetic information, not just a consequence of nurture.

    Yes, scientific knowledge complicates our understanding of the world rather than dumb it down or force us to believe a magical force will keep us safe in times of trouble. But with so much at stake – from stem cell research to life-saving antibiotics, form nuclear energy to climate change—how can we afford to continue to live blindly? Reevaluating our intuitive theories is a major step in helping guide us not only to how we live, but why we live.

  • Ed
    Jun 09, 2017

    Interesting, informative, eloquent. A must-read for anyone who values science.

  • Evan
    Jun 09, 2017

    This book skillfully accomplishes two goals: it shows us how we misunderstand several scientific topics and it shows us the right way to think about those topics. Highly recommended for anyone interested in psychology in particular or science in general.

  • Katie
    Jun 13, 2017

    On Chapter 5, Motion

  • Άννα Ζερβού
    Jun 16, 2017

    Very nice book!

  • Danny Strickland
    Jun 20, 2017

    I loved this book. It was clear and cogent, entertaining and enlightening. The content is deep, and the writing is lucid. It's a guiding light in our troubled times of science denial.

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