No science writer wrote about pseudoscience with greater accuracy and humor than Bob Schadewald. It is high time that his great contributions to the growing literature of respect for genuine science over bogus science were finally recognized.
Martin Gardner, Science Writer, Mathemagician
Learn about Bob Schadewald's collection on pseudoscience at the University of Wisconsin.
More of Bob's writing? See Bob Schadewald's Corner.
Robert J. (Bob) Schadewald (19432000) was a native Minnesotan who grew up near Rogers, about 20 miles from Minneapolis. He was a Naval flight officer in the 1960s, serving mainly in the Pacific. Later, he became a freelance science writer and contributed dozens of articles to major magazines, including Science 80, Technology Illustrated, Smithsonian,
and Science Digest.
He wrote one book, a computer guide titled The dBASE (II) Guide for Small Business
, and contributed chapters to six others, including the reference text The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia
, edited by Gary B. Ferngren. Much of his published work deals with unorthodoxies of science and scholarship.
Studying Unorthodox Ideas and People
Bob studied and wrote about unorthodox ideas and the people who promote them. He attended at least a dozen national creationism conferences, interviewed Immanuel Velikovsky, investigated perpetual motion machines, and got thrown out to the International Flat Earth Research Society for his "spherical" tendencies.
His search for works advocating unorthodox science or scholarship took him to dozens of major research libraries in America and England. Along the way, he also accumulated an extensive personal library. It consisted of about a thousand volumes advocating various unorthodox ideas hollow-earth, geocentricity, creationism, Velikovskyism, perpetual motion, racism, anti-semitism, anti-Catholicism, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, flying saucers, bizarre religions, and so forth, as well as the worlds most extensive collection of 19th and 20th century flat-Earth literature. Much of this collection is now housed at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the Special Collections library as the Robert Schadewald Collection on Pseudo-Science
Recognized Expert on Creationism, Perpetual Motion, Flat Earth
Bob was a nationally recognized expert on creationism, perpetual motion, and flat Earthism. As an authority on pseudoscience, he appeared on radio talk shows in Minneapolis, Des Moines, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia and on the "Pittsburgh Today" television talk show. He also gave guest lectures on writing and various aspects of pseudoscience at numerous colleges and universities.
In the real world, Bob was a technical writer. He worked at Medtronic, where he earned his living writing manuals describing, among other things, how pacemakers worked and providing algorithms for doctors to use in evaluating the pacemaker's performance after implantation.
A Leader in the Fight against Creation 'Science' (Intelligent Design)
In the surreal world, Bob had been active for almost 20 years in the effort to keep "creation science," a thinly disguised religious doctrine, out of public school science classrooms. From 1986 to 1992, he served on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), including two years as president. NCSE, a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation headquartered in Berkeley, California, was founded in 1982 to counter the creationist menace to science education. It continues in that role, and it also runs several programs to improve education in evolution and the nature of science.
After his death, the opening Web page of "talkorigins" (www.talkorigins.org
) was dedicated to Bob. Also, the books Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Web of Intelligent Design, Barbara Forrest (Oxford Press, 2003) and Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea, Christine Garwood (Macmillan, 2006) are dedicated to Bob.
Buy the book.
Worlds of Their Own is available from a wide number of sources.
and it's contents are copyright 2009 Lois Schadewald.
Background and planet images courtesy of NASA