Voodoo Science

Voodoo Science

The Road From Foolishness to Fraud

Book - 2000
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In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how are we to separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? Touching on everything from Deepak Chopra's "quantum alternative to growing old," and "free energy" machines, to unwarranted hype surrounding the International SpaceStation, Robert L. Park leads us through the dim back alleys of fringe science, down the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, Park offers some simple and engaging science lessons, showing us that youdon't have to be a scientist to spot the foolish and fraudulent science that swirls around us. While incorporating elements of high humor, from Joe Newman and his Energy Machine to the French "sniffer plane," this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent by the public on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on huge government projects that are doomed tofail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greater cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a sort of upside-down view of how the world works. To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park closely examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists, he observes, insist that the cure for voodoo science is to raise the general scientific literacy. But whatis it that a scientifically literate society should know? It is not specific knowledge of science the public needs, Park argues, so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented by magic or miracles.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2000
ISBN: 9780195135152
Branch Call Number: 509.73/PAR 4565 1


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Mar 15, 2015

This is a terrific work, going beyond similar debunking books, offering real insights and clear analyses of what science is and what quasi-science is. A must read for those on the fence regarding, for example, homeopathy.

Dec 06, 2013

Not all the reported results of science can be trusted. This book examines why not and how not. And does so by looking at examples we all might recognize. Some scientists are led by over eagerness to false results. (cold fusion) Some by money. (Tabacco industry studies of health) And some con men use the prestige of science to sell shoddy goods. The author details such stories to show the effort and care it takes the get results that hold up to time and review - and makes science seem a very human endeavor.

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