Galileo in Pittsburgh

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2010 - Education - 150 pages
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What did the trial of Galileo share with the trial for fraud of the foremost investigator of the effects of lead exposure on children's intelligence? In the title essay of this rollicking collection on science and education, Clark Glymour argues that fundamentally both were disputes over what methods are legitimate and authoritative. From testing the expertise of NASA scientists to discovering where software goes to die to turning educational research upside down, Glymour's reports from the front lines of science and education read like a blend of Rachel Carson and Hunter S. Thompson. Contrarian and original, he criticizes the statistical arguments against Teach for America, argues for teaching the fallacies of Intelligent Design in high school science, places contemporary psychological research in a Platonic cave dug by Freud, and gives (and rejects) a fair argument for a self-interested, nationalist response to climate change.

One of the creators of influential new statistical methods, Glymour has been involved in scientific investigations on such diverse topics as wildfire prediction, planetary science, genomics, climate studies, psychology, and educational research. Now he provides personal reports of the funny, the absurd, and the appalling in contemporary science and education. More bemused than indignant, Galileo in Pittsburgh is an ever-engaging call to rethink how we do science and how we teach it.


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Mr. Glymour, your audience is here. I met Dr. Scarr in the early 90s. I believe this was in the air, still. I wish I had kept in better touch. I did mail her a small volume I had bought in a second hand store in Victoria, BC, where she'd given a talk. It was a volume that listed American last names, attempted to guess the ethnicity--the "race" of each common name, and then correlate that with various public data. I felt it would be good for her own library; I didn't like handling it, however. It was certainly lay social science. Now i wish I knew who wrote it. It was cheaply printed and bound, and not published by any house I knew at the time.
So, I will now be able to catch up with Dr. Scarr. It was her entry on that led me here, by the way.
C. Collins


Socialism in One Indian Nation
The Computer in the Classroom
Cosmic Censorship
Galileo in Pittsburgh
A Conversation on Climate Change
Sacrifice of the Lawn
John Henry at NASA
Total Information Awareness
In and Out of Freuds Shadow
What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate
Where Software Goes to Die
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