Lies, Damned Lies, and Science: How to Sort Through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims, and Other Scientific Controversies / Edition 1

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Overview

What's healthy? What's unhealthy? What's safe? What's dangerous? Watch the news, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by snippets of badly presented science: information that's incomplete, confusing, contradictory, out-of-context, wrong, or flat-out dishonest. In this book, Dr. Sherry Seethaler provides a "bag of tricks" for making sense of science in the news. You'll learn how to think more sensibly about everything from mad cow disease to global warming and make better science-related decisions in both your personal life and as a citizen. You'll begin by understanding how science really works and progresses, and why scientists sometimes disagree. Seethaler helps you assess the possible biases of those who make scientific claims in the media, and place scientific issues in appropriate context, so you can intelligently assess tradeoffs. You'll learn how to determine whether a new study is really meaningful; uncover the difference between cause and mere coincidence; figure out which statistics mean something, and which don't. Finally, drawing on her extensive experience as a science journalist, she reveals the tricks self-interested players use to mislead and confuse you, and points you to sources of information you can actually rely upon. Seethaler's many examples range from genetic engineering of crops to drug treatments for depression, but the techniques she teaches you will be invaluable in understanding any scientific controversy, in any area of science or health.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132849449
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 7/7/2011
  • Series: FT Press Science Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 516,366
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherry Seethaler, a science writer and educator at the University of California, San Diego, works with scientists to explain their discoveries to the public. She also writes a column for the San Diego Union-Tribune answering readers’ questions about science. Seethaler holds an M.S. and Master of Philosophy in biology from Yale, and a Ph.D. in science and math education from UC Berkeley.
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Table of Contents

Preface xvii

Introduction xix

Chapter 1: Potions, Plot, Personalities: Understand How Science Progresses and Why Scientists Sometimes Disagree 1

Chapter 2: Who’s Who?: Identify Those Who Hold Stake in an Issue and What Their Positions Are 29

Chapter 3: Decisions, Decisions: Elucidate All the Pros and Cons of a Decision 43

Chapter 4: Compare and Contrast: Place Alternatives in an Appropriate Context to Evaluate Tradeoffs 59

Chapter 5: What Happens If…?: Distinguish Between Cause and Coincidence 73

Chapter 6: Specific or General: Recognize How Broadly the Conclusions from a Study May Be Applied 89

Chapter 7: Fun Figures: See Through the Number Jumble 99

Chapter 8: Society’s Say: Discern the Relationships Between Science and Policy 113

Chapter 9: All the Tricks in the Book: Get Past the Ploys Designed to Simply Bypass Logic 139

Chapter 10: Fitting The Pieces Together: Know How to Seek Information to Gain a Balanced Perspective 161

Conclusions: Twenty Essential Applications of the Tools 177

Acknowledgments 183

About the Author 184

Index 185

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Well written and easily understood

    I found this book to be fairly well written and easily understood. It's basically the same stuff we learned about critical thinking in my high school physics class. But, it was nice as a refresher.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Currently FREE as NOOK book - worth paying for to me

    Excellent and meaningful help for all of us who want to find out what's real and what's hype, especially in health and other scientific news and claims. Also, the author helped me to assess when I've done enough checking into claims - since nobody has unlimited time. I already had skills in this area but found new methods and ideas in this book. A keeper for me.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Dry, very dry reading

    Although reviews said that this would be humorous, I didn't think so. Although the writer was knowledgable about the subject, she often went into lengthly explanations of the same material given in tables. Rather than using different examples of each area, she repeats the same material over and over again. 200 pgs, but I just couldn't finish it. I picked up all I needed to know in the introduction.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    I decreased my carbon foot print by not giving this book the burning it deserved!!!

    Much like the journey men who service Al Gore's fictious solar grid that heats his home, this author should be unemployed. Save a tree, don't buy the paperback. Cut down on low level radiation in your home by NOT down loading this to your NOOK or other internet device. Stay home, lock the doors and watch SIMPSONS re-runs until the pizza delivery guy will no longer except your maxed out credit cards. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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