Species, Serpents, Spirits, and Skulls

Species, Serpents, Spirits, and Skulls

Science at the Margins of the Victorian Age

eBook - 2009
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Univ of New York Press
Explores the distinctions between science and pseudoscience.



Book News
Lyons (Center for Distance Learning, Empire State College, SUNY) is aware that there is a fine line between an accepted theory of science and a discredited one. Here she reviews four "sciences" of the nineteenth century: mesmerism, spiritualism, the hunt for sea serpents, and the theory of evolution. She looks at rational reasons why many people believed in all of these. The finding of prehistoric bones of enormous sea creatures gave support to the sightings of animals such as the Loch Ness monster. Attempts to prove that mediums were using trickery were not always successful. Lyons also feels that the Victorian era was one in which the certainty of religion had faded for many. Mesmerism and Spiritualism encouraged direct contact with the supernatural without intermediaries. Evolution, still not universally accepted, appealed to spiritualists, who saw it as proof that the soul could continue to evolve after death. Woven through the story is the theme of the growth of scientific methods and the misuse and misunderstanding of what might be solidly-based theories. Written in a lively style, a paperback edition could find a wide audience of general readers. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Albany : SUNY Press, ©2009
ISBN: 9781441629722
1441629726
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiv, 245 pages) : illustrations

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