From Abracadabra to Zombies
About Mysteries and Science
Mysteries and Science is about weird things and what science has to say about them. From abracadabra to zombies, we find out what scientists have to say about such things as aliens, Bigfoot, ghosts, monsters, the end of the world prophecies, and much more.
One of the most important qualities of a good scientist is skepticism. You probably know what a scientist is, but you may not know what a skeptic is. Skeptics are people who ask questions. They inquire. They don’t believe something just because everybody else does. They investigate.
Some people think that skeptics don’t believe anything. That’s not true. Maybe we can’t be absolutely certain about the world around us, but we can show that some things are more likely true than others. Skeptics believe many things. We study the evidence and we use the methods of science to help us find what is most likely true about things. (If you want to know more about skepticism, you might begin your reading of this book with the entry on scientific skepticism.)
Some people think that skeptics are party poopers because some of our studies show that a popular belief is wrong or very doubtful. Anyone who studies science will tell you that the real world is magical enough. We don’t need to have beliefs that are probably not true just to make life interesting.
Scientists and skeptics don’t always agree. I will tell you what most scientists think, but I will also tell you about scientists who don’t agree with them. I hope you do not take my word for it when I say that most scientists think this or that about ghosts, psychics, or predictions that the world will end on such and such a day. I hope that someday you will study these things and decide for yourself what is probably true or not true.
I talk a lot about magic and trickery in this book. Humans love to play tricks on one another. We also trick ourselves sometimes without even knowing it. Scientists have studied our brains and the way we trick ourselves. These studies tell us a lot about how we got the beliefs we have.
I wrote this book for kids 9 and up. I hope whoever reads these pages will leave wanting to study more about aliens, ghosts, magic powers, and other weird things. If I use some words you don't know the meaning of, look them up in a dictionary (Merriam-Webster or Dictionary.com). No book is worth more than a good dictionary.
The left-hand column on each page has links to science websites and the right-hand column has links to science books that you might find fun while you learn new things about the world we live in.
When you see this picture after a word click on it to hear how the word sounds when spoken.
Questions or comments? Click here.
July 22, 2011
updated January 24, 2013