Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Science - 230 pages
3 Reviews
Science fascinates us by its power to surprise. Occasionally, unexpected results that appear to violate accepted laws of nature can herald revolutionary advances in human knowledge. Many revolutionary discoveries, turn out to be wrong, however, and even eminent scientists have had their careers tarnished, mistakenly thinking that they have made a great discovery. This is pathological science, in which scientists are subject to self-delusion. And if scientists can sometimes fool themselves, how much easier it is to craft arguments deliberately intended to befuddle jurists with little or no scientific background. This is junk science, typically consisting of theories of what could be so, with little supporting evidence to prove that it is so. Sometimes there is no evidence at all.
 

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While this book rightly raises awareness of needing to be objective when being offered a new product or scientific theory. he ends up chanting the same kind of logic that wouldn't give those who would find new things out that challenge the status quota of science. its almost like the book was about himself. humanity doesn't need more idea police. faux theories will collapse on themselves when they cannot deliver results when tested over time. so he really isn't saying anything new. it would have been nice to talk about former scientists who have suddenly become discredited by the larger community after they broke from the norms of their trade to stick with what they believed they had found to be new ways to solve problems the scientific community was facing. 

Selected pages

Contents

Its Not News Its Entertainment In which the media covers Voodoo Science
3
The Belief Gene In which science offers a strategy for sorting out the truth
28
Placebos Have Side Effects In which people turn to natural medicine
46
The Virtual Astronaut In which people dream of artificial worlds
68
There Ought to Be a Law In which Congress seeks to repeal the laws of thermodynamics
92
Perpetuum Mobile In which people dream of infinite free energy
111
Currents of Fear In which power lines are suspected of causing cancer
140
Judgment Day In which the courts confront Junk Science
162
Only Mushrooms Grow in the Dark In which Voodoo Science is protected by official secrecy
172
How Strange Is the Universe? In which ancient superstitions reappear as pseudoscience
192
Index
215
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About the author (2002)

Robert L. Park is Professor of Physics and former chairman of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland. He also directs the Washington office of the American Physical Society. Author of more than a hundred scientific papers on the structure of crystal surfaces, he writes regularly for the New York Times and other newspapers and is a regular contributor of science features for the Washington Post. Professor Park lives in Adelphi,Maryland.

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