Scientifically Thinking: How to Liberate Your Mind, Solve the World's Problems, and Embrace the Beauty of Science

Scientifically Thinking: How to Liberate Your Mind, Solve the World's Problems, and Embrace the Beauty of Science

by Stanley A. Rice


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Shows the many advantages of thinking like a scientist and argues that today's problems require a scientific approach.

You don't have to be a scientist to think like a scientist. Anyone can do it and everyone should. This book will show you how. The advantages are many: from detecting bias to avoiding error and appreciating the richness of the world. Author Stanley Rice, himself a scientist, explains that science is essentially organized common sense. While the brain is hardwired for common sense, unfortunately, it also relies on a number of misleading tendencies. Instead of reasoning objectively it tends to rationalize. Often it sees what it wants to see rather than what is really there. And it is adept at both self-deception and deceiving others. Rice notes that these tendencies were useful in the past as the human race evolved in an often-hostile environment. But today bias and delusions put us at risk of worldwide catastrophe.

The author invites readers to participate in the adventure of scientific discovery. He provides many interesting and humorous examples of how science works. He shows how hypothesis testing can be used to tackle everyday problems like car trouble or seeing through the specious appeal of a fad diet. Beyond practical applications, science meets the basic human need to satisfy curiosity: it tells verifiable stories about the universe, providing humans with fascinating narratives supported by testable facts. The author also explores some of science's biggest ideas, including natural selection (creating order out of randomness) and interconnectedness (Earth's systems are intricately intertwined).

Read this book and learn to think like a scientist. It will guard you against being manipulated by politicians, corporations, and religious leaders, and equip you to deal with the world's most pressing problems. And you will have a lot of fun doing it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633884700
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 12/18/2018
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 1,151,895
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Stanley A. Rice is the author of Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-Aged, Stressed-Out World; Green Planet: How Plants Keep the Earth Alive; The Encyclopedia of Evolution; and The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. He is a professor of biological science at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

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Excerpted from "Scientifically Thinking"
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Copyright © 2018 Stanley A. Rice.
Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 7

Author's Note 9

Acknowledgments 11

Introduction: We Need Science, and We Need It Now 13

Section I The adventure of science

Chapter 1 Science and How to Recognize It 25

Chapter 2 Science and Fiction: Organized Common Sense and Organized Creativity 37

Chapter 3 Experimenting with a Mountain 45

Chapter 4 Wright and Rong 59

Section II Legacy of An APE'S Brain

Chapter 5 A World of Illusion 65

Chapter 6 Just Measure It!? 69

Chapter 7 We See Lines while Nature Throws Us Curves 79

Chapter 8 It's Not All Black and White 91

Chapter 9 Cause and Effect 103

Chapter 10 Is Bartholo-Meow Intelligent? 111

Chapter 11 Measuring What You Think You're Measuring 121

Chapter 12 Oops, I Hadn't Thought of That 133

Chapter 13 Everybody's Biased but Me 139

Chapter 14 Trust Us, We're Scientists 157

Chapter 15 Trapped 173

Chapter 16 What Exactly Do You Mean? Why Scientists (Should) Carefully Define Their Terms 177

Section III Big Ideas

Chapter 17 Natural Selection: The Biggest Idea Ever 183

Chapter 18 The Rediscovery of Human Nature 193

Section IV The Role of Science in the World

Chapter 19 The Scientist in a Political World 203

Chapter 20 Who Is Your Favorite Scientist and Why? 211

Chapter 21 Amateurs and Specialists 215

Chapter 22 Science Is an Adventure 221

Epilogue: A Beautiful World 227

Notes 235

Index 259

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