Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin

Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin

by Cornelia Dean


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Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin by Cornelia Dean

Cornelia Dean draws on her 30 years as a science journalist with the New York Times to expose the flawed reasoning and knowledge gaps that handicap readers when they try to make sense of science. She calls attention to conflicts of interest in research and the price society pays when science journalism declines and funding dries up.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674059696
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/13/2017
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 553,798
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Cornelia Dean is a science writer for the New York Times and Writer-in-Residence at Brown University.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 We the People 7

What We Know, and What We Don't Know 7

The Belief Engine 13

Thinking about Risk 29

2 The Research Enterprise 57

What Is Science? 57

How Science Knows What It Knows 65

Models 76

A Jerry of Peers 88

3 Things Go Wrong 95

Misconduct 95

Science in Court 103

Researchers and Journalists 112

4 The Universal Solvent 128

A Matter of Money 128

Selling Health 141

What's for Supper? 162

5 Political Science 182

Constituency of Ignorance 182

The Political Environment 193

Taking Things on Faith 206

Conclusion 215

Appendix: Trustworthy, Untrustworthy, or Irrelevant? 225

Notes 247

Further Reading 265

Acknowledgments 269

Index 271

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