When You Were a Tadpole & I Was a Fish & Other Speculations About This & That
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When You Were a Tadpole & I Was a Fish & Other Speculations About This & That

3.09 of 5 stars 3.09  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Best known as the longtime writer of the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American—which introduced generations of readers to the joys of recreational mathematics—Martin Gardner has for decades pursued a parallel career as a devastatingly effective debunker of what he once famously dubbed “fads and fallacies in the name of science.” It is mainly in this latter role...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Hill and Wang
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Molly
I was browsing through the Regulator bookshop and got this book on a lark. I only gave this two stars because I think the description on the cover was pretty misleading. I happen to really like science writing, so when I read the book cover and the keywords had to do with math puzzles, evolution, and the like I was really excited. Unfortunately, when reading it, it felt like more of the sections were on philosophy, history, and religion than on science topics. The writing was well done and the a...more
Orin
He's always good company and I admit that I skimmed the mathematical bits. He includes the "Why I am not an atheist" essay and I'm not sure why. It is a consummate argument for the value of delusional thought and its value for getting through life, but he really doesn't score any points for theism, god or any of that other stuff.
Dave
When I was a kid I used to go visit my Granny's place and she always had a massive stack of Scientific American magazines. Granny, who was a brilliant mathematician, and I would spend time together playing cards (to learn about probability) and reading Martin Gardner's columns on maths, games and logic.

Since having grown up I still retain a love for Mr gardner's mind. Now he's 94, and still publishing from his assisted care facility, and now he writes like a cranky old man, which is just perfect...more
Levi
I believe this book was published less than a year before Martin Gardner's death. I had never read him before but was familiar through an obituary, or other such tribute. When I saw this book lying around at my parents' house, I figured I might as well give it a go (the M.C. Escher cover art was persuasive enough). This collection is quite varied and features the strays of Gardner's eclectic writing; it includes magazine articles, book introductions, letters to the editor, and miscellaneous obse...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Martin Gardner, AB’36
Author

From our pages (Jan–Feb/10): "Gardner, a nonagenarian and former writer of Scientific American’s Mathematical Games column, collects his essays on Fibonacci sequences, The Wizard of Oz, the sinking of the Titanic, religious fundamentalism, and those debunking what he calls 'fads and fallacies in the name of science.'"
Ed
The final collection of articles by the late Martin Gardner. This fine collection is worth reading if only for the title poem.

500 "When you were a tadpole and I was a fish : and other speculations about this and that" - In this collection of essays, Gardner shows that he is much more than a skeptical debunker of bad science and pseudoscience. The book also contains a selection of essays on literature, logic, and mathematics (including a brain teaser involving vampire martinis).
Ayse
Martin Gardner is always an interesting and thought provoking read -- from solving logic puzzles to analyzing poetry to defending theism, this book is an example of the renaissance man at his best. Though some of the articles dragged on a little too long, most notably the discussion on the Titanic, and the debunking of unity thought activities, each was an enjoyable slice of Gardner's wit and enthusiasm. I was especially taken with the essay on the "Tales of the Long Bow" and the discussion of t...more
Maria
"Speculations About This and That" is an appropriate subtitle for this book. It contains essays on topics as seemingly diverse as Ann Coulter, The Wizard of Oz, Fibonacci numbers, Santa Claus, the Titanic, and socialism.

I found some of the essays interesting, some boring, some thought-provoking, and some over my head. Many of the essays were actually prefaces to other books. Most were on topics about which I would probably not read an entire book, but one essay did inspire me to seek out a copy...more
Steve
A collection of essays, mostly forwards from other books, but also some book reviews, by Gardner. I enjoyed the pieces on Chesterton, who I haven't read, and L. Frank Baum. Also fascinating is Gardner's defense of "fideism" (basically, Gardner's faith in a God and afterlife) based, at least in part, on Pascal's Wager. Worth reading.
Conor
Only made it half way through. Really unexceptional writing. The parts I read were mostly criticisms of religious and paranormal science. It was all sort of preaching to the choir, and not in an interesting sort of way.
Smellsofbikes
I love MG, and I like what he's writing, but this felt like a bunch of well-written preaching to the choir. It's fun if you're in his corner, but I found less enlightenment and insight than in some of his other books.
Gregory
Good, not great. Mostly this is a collection of things scraped up from random sources, for example prefaces that Martin Gardner wrote for other books.
Vida
A series of brilliant peeks into the mind of Martin Gardner. Now I need to get some more of his books; I remember fondly the Paradox one from my childhood.
Robin
I enjoyed getting to read what was going on in this great mathematician's head.
Hal
Some interesting essays. Could have done without the religious stuff.
Miriam
I just couldn't get into it. The author sounded like an angry old man.
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Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and published over 70 books.
More about Martin Gardner...
Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science Aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to Puzzle & Delight (Tools for Transformation) The Colossal Book of Mathematics My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?

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