Creating Scientific Controversies: Uncertainty and Bias in Science and Society

Creating Scientific Controversies: Uncertainty and Bias in Science and Society

by David Harker

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For decades, cigarette companies helped to promote the impression that there was no scientific consensus concerning the safety of their product. The appearance of controversy, however, was misleading, designed to confuse the public and to protect industry interests. Created scientific controversies emerge when expert communities are in broad agreement but the public perception is one of profound scientific uncertainty and doubt. In the first book-length analysis of the concept of a created scientific controversy, David Harker explores issues including climate change, Creation science, the anti-vaccine movement and genetically modified crops. Drawing on work in cognitive psychology, social epistemology, critical thinking and philosophy of science, he shows readers how to better understand, evaluate, and respond to the appearance of scientific controversy. His book will be a valuable resource for students of philosophy of science, environmental and health sciences, and social and natural sciences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781316408735
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

David Harker is Associate Professor of Philosophy at East Tennessee State University. He has published articles in journals including British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Studies and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.

Table of Contents

Introduction: scientific authority and the created controversy; Part I. Lessons from the Philosophy of Science: 1. Defining science and the empiricist approach; 2. Two challenges for the naïve empiricist; 3. A revolution in how we think about sciences; 4. Sciences as historically and socially situated; Points to remember: Part I; Part II. Biases, Arguments and Created Controversies: 5. Inherent irrationality: cognitive biases and heuristics; 6. Thinking more clearly: arguments, reasoning and informal fallacies; 7. Created controversies and how to detect them; Points to remember: Part II; Part III. Exposing Created Controversies: 8. Environmental scare: the case of anthropogenic climate change; 9. Sciences, religion and an intelligently design controversy?; 10. Issues of public health: aids, autism and GMOs; Points to remember: Part III; Concluding remarks; References; Index.

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