Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Science - 230 pages
9 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dresdnhope - LibraryThing

A very good book about the junk science and the media's willing role in promoting it. Short synopsis: Cold fusion and perpetual motion bad, peer review good. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - raindiva1 - LibraryThing

Good book. Gets pretty detailed in the descriptions of physics and science (which I liked). I think he may have gone slightly over his intended audience's heads with the details though. Read full review

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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