Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraudby Robert L. Park
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
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 viewan understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented.
Table of Contents
|1||It's Not News, It's Entertainment: In Which the Media Covers Voodoo Science||3|
|2||The Belief Gene: In Which Science Offers a Strategy for Sorting Out the Truth||28|
|3||Placebos Have Side Effects: In Which People Tum to "Natural" Medicine||46|
|4||The Virtual Astronaut: In Which People Dream of Artificial Worlds||68|
|5||There Ought To Be a Law: In Which Congress Seeks to Repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics||92|
|6||Perpetuum Mobile: In Which People Dream of Infinite Free Energy||111|
|7||Currents of Fear: In Which Power Lines Are Suspected of Causing Cancer||140|
|8||Judgment Day: In Which the Courts Confront "Junk Science"||162|
|9||Only Mushrooms Grow in the Dark: In Which Voodoo Science Is Protected by Official Secrecy||172|
|10||How Strange Is the Universe? In Which Ancient Superstitions Reappear as Pseudoscience||192|
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