Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

by Robert L. Park
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195147103

ISBN-13: 9780195147100

Pub. Date: 11/28/2001

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra's "quantum alternative to growing old" to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington

Overview

In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra's "quantum alternative to growing old" to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you don't have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us.
While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works.
To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know? Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view—an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195147100
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
819,674
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1190L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
1It's Not News, It's Entertainment: In Which the Media Covers Voodoo Science3
2The Belief Gene: In Which Science Offers a Strategy for Sorting Out the Truth28
3Placebos Have Side Effects: In Which People Tum to "Natural" Medicine46
4The Virtual Astronaut: In Which People Dream of Artificial Worlds68
5There Ought To Be a Law: In Which Congress Seeks to Repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics92
6Perpetuum Mobile: In Which People Dream of Infinite Free Energy111
7Currents of Fear: In Which Power Lines Are Suspected of Causing Cancer140
8Judgment Day: In Which the Courts Confront "Junk Science"162
9Only Mushrooms Grow in the Dark: In Which Voodoo Science Is Protected by Official Secrecy172
10How Strange Is the Universe? In Which Ancient Superstitions Reappear as Pseudoscience192
Index215

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