Science Fair [1]

[ Fri. Jun. 23. 2006 ]

It's fairly safe to say that most Canadians couldn't tell a wormhole from a doughnut hole, nor explain the basic mechanics of global warming, nor distinguish between Fermat and Fibonacci.

It's all too easy to put this down to simple fear of science, but that doesn't exculpate us from attempting to understand at least some of what is the best existing explanation -- pace various fundamentalisms -- for the workings of the universe and its contents. Of course, science has its enemies -- not just among the hyper-religious, but also many postmodernists, who see it as simply one among a competing array of equally valid master narratives. But at least ever since Aristotle, mankind has been consumed by a desire to understand the universe and our place in it. So why should Globe Books be any different? Our commitment to reviewing science books is part curiosity, part missionary. But we don't get to nearly as many as we'd like, so I offer a breathless roster of new titles well worth your consideration.

What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Uncertainty. More than 100 minds, some doubtless great (including Ian McEwan, Robert Sapolsky, Stephen Pinker, Jared Diamond and Rebecca Goldstein), ponder the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? For me, the answer is Sherlock Holmes, case proved in . . .

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