- Gebundene Ausgabe: 240 Seiten
- Verlag: Oxford University Press (6. September 2000)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0198507453
- ISBN-13: 978-0198507451
- Verpackungsabmessungen: 23,6 x 16,2 x 2,2 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 29 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.272.087 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (Englisch) Gebundenes Buch – 6. September 2000
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"Scientific error", says Robert Park, "has a way of evolving... from self-delusion to fraud. I use the term voodoo science to cover them all: pathological science, junk science, pseudoscience, and fraudulent science." In pathological science, scientists fool themselves. Junk science is when scientists use their expertise to befuddle and mislead others (usually juries or lawmakers). Pseudoscience has the trappings of science without any evidence. Fraud is, well, fraud--old-fashioned lying.
Park is well-acquainted with voodoo science in all its incarnations. Since 1982 he has headed the Washington, DC office of the American Physical Society, and he has carried the flag for scientific rationality through cold fusion, homeopathy, "Star Wars," quantum healing, and sundry attempts to repeal the laws of thermodynamics. Park shows why "a disproportionate share of the science seen by the public is flawed" (because shaky science is more likely to skip past peer review and head straight for the media), and gives a good tour of recent highlights in Voodoo. He has a rare ability to poke holes compassionately, without heaping vitriol on those taken in by their fondest wishes. He is less forgiving of scientists when he thinks they've fallen down on the job, which should include helping the public separate the scientific wheat from the voodoo chaff. --Mary Ellen Curtin
'I finished this brilliant book within a day, and then felt such withdrawal symptoms I went right back to the beginning and started again.' Richard DawkinsAlle Produktbeschreibungen
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Science is now evolving more rapidly than ever before. Some estimate that the total level of scientific knowledge doubles every few years. If you are like me, you cannot hope to keep up. And politicians, television, friends, and news stories are always touting new and intriguing ideas. What really is going on? What should we pay attention to?
Professor Park has a distinguished background in physics. He directs the Washington office of the American Physical Society, and is a former chairman of the Physics department at the University of Maryland. In his work with the society, he is often called upon by the press to comment about claims made by others. This experience allowed him to develop the information in this book.
If you are like me, you also have heard of or read about many of the claims discussed in the book. But, like me, you probably never heard how it all ended up. Whatever happened to cold fusion, for example?
The book looks at all kinds of badly done science, beginning with amateurs who don't know enough to understand what they are doing. Such amateurs often run the risk of becoming fraudulent if they fail to respond candidly to questions from scientists about their work.
The good news is that society seems to be getting better at challenging the ideas that are wrong. For example, the Supreme Court decided a case, Daubert, that now requires federal judges to get independent scientists to look at claims before allowing a jury to consider a point of view espoused by some "paid" experts. Congress seems to be getting better about asking relevant questions, rather than just supporting any crackpot who shows up with a wild story about perpetual motion machines.
In other cases of voodoo science, the people doing the work just haven't been cautious enough. For example, much of the ESP research done was flawed by a design that permitted those doing the research to throw out the results of any people they suspected of deliberately guessing wrong. As you can imagine, these probably included people who got mostly wrong answers! That certainly skewed the results.
The worst offenders in perpetuating incorrect beliefs about science seem to be television (especially CBS and ABC) and top secret status for information about the government. Apparently, some people in the networks believe that crackpot ideas should be covered as "entertainment" rather than as "knowledge" or "science." So even if they know the story is probably wrong, the reporter often leaves the impression that there may be something to the claim. Shame on them!
Government keeps things as top secret that would become top embarrassments if known. As a result, our confidence in the government is eroded.
Some of the other areas uncovered in the book include Joe Newman's Energy Machine, Star Wars (SDI) technology advanced by Edward Teller, the International Space Station, a manned mission to Mars, silicon gel breast implants, vitamin O, meditation as a solution for violent crime, Dr. Deepak Chopra's invocation of quantum effects from the mind on matter, power lines as a source of disease, healing auras, and James Patterson's metal beads to generate energy.
While I agreed with all of the comments the book made, there are places where other perspectives could change your mind on the issue. For example, manned space exploration is very expensive and dangerous. Essentially, everything can be done by robots faster, safer, and cheaper. Dr. Park concludes that it makes no sense to do such exploration. I disagree. I do agree that the objectives of the manned programs need to be much more intelligently formulated. I suspect that the main advantages from manned space flight will turn out to be in developing improved leadership, innovation, and management practices. If those rewards are great enough, and I think they could be, the expense may well be worth it. But our decision should be more informed and purposeful than it has been in the past about these areas.
I hope that this wonderful book will also become available as an on-going television program, newsletter, or Web site. We need more information like this in order to be thoughtful citizens, consumers, and family members.
After you have read this book, I suggest you think about some likely off-the-wall scientific claim you have heard. Then do some research to see whether that claim is likely to be valid or not, by reading what others already know about the subject. See if you can overcome some of these misconceptions on your own. I suspect that a good place to start would be with ideas for how to add to the energy supply of the United States.
Have fun eliminating false beliefs, wherever you find them!
Park takes issue with voodoo science via a list of examples long enough to probably offend just about anyone who thinks him/herself a forward thinker on the Cutting Edge. Among those that Park asserts are clearly debunked, or should be, by now: cold fusion, x-ray lasers (a.k.a. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative), perpetual motion machines, gravity shields, the Roswell Incident, cancers caused by power lines, and pathologic conditions caused by ruptured silicone breast implants. Then, there are those still considered acceptably mainstream, but equally dubious: touch therapy (i.e. aura manipulation), magnet therapy, the manned Mars mission, the International Space Station, and homeopathic medicines.
Park editorializes with a sense of humor and mild outrage against the natures of the government and the popular media that promote the acceptance of such foolishness in our collective psychology, rather than providing standards for critical analysis. After all, it's National Enquirer-like journalism that sells papers and generates high TV ratings for the media fat cats. And the government ... well, what could one expect from a group composed mostly of scientifically unsophisticated dunderheads. In any case, though the book rambled on somewhat, I did enjoy it.
Oh, and now I know what to do with those strap-on magnets my Mom gave me for alleviating minor aches and strains
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