Three-fourths of scientific research in the United States is funded by special interests. Many of these groups have specific practical goals, such as developing pharmaceuticals or establishing that a pollutant causes only minimal harm. For groups with financial conflicts of interest, their scientific findings often can be deeply flawed.
To uncover and assess these scientific flaws, award-winning biologist and philosopher of science Kristin Shrader-Frechette uses the analytical tools of classic philosophy of science. She identifies and evaluates the concepts, data, inferences, methods, models, and conclusions of science tainted by the influence of special interests. As a result, she challenges accepted scientific findings regarding risks such as chemical toxins and carcinogens, ionizing radiation, pesticides, hazardous-waste disposal, development of environmentally sensitive lands, threats to endangered species, and less-protective standards for workplace-pollution exposure. In so doing, she dissects the science on which many contemporary scientific controversies turn. Demonstrating and advocating "liberation science," she shows how practical, logical, methodological, and ethical evaluations of science can both improve its quality and credibility and protect people from harm caused by flawed science, such as underestimates of cancers caused by bovine growth hormones, cell phones, fracking, or high-voltage wires.
This book is both an in-depth look at the unreliable scientific findings at the root of contemporary debates in biochemistry, ecology, economics, hydrogeology, physics, and zoology and a call to action for scientists, philosophers of science, and all citizens.
About the Author
Kristin Shrader-Frechette is O'Neill Professor at University of Notre Dame, where she teaches biological sciences, environmental sciences, and philosophy of science. With degrees in mathematics and in philosophy of science, she has done three post-docs in biology, economics, and hydrogeology and served on many boards/committees of the US National Academy of Sciences and international scientific or environmental groups. The first female president of 3 professional scientific associations, she has had her scientific research (on quantitative risk assessment in radiobiology, biostatistics, and energy modeling) funded for 27 years by the US National Science Foundation. Author of more than 400 articles and 16 books, including Taking Action, Saving Lives (2007, Oxford University), she writes for both scientific and medical journals, such as Science, BioScience, Health Physics, Conservation Biology, Quarterly Review of Biology, American Journal of Public Health, and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and philosophy journals such as Ethics, Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Synthese.
Her books and articles have been translated into 13 languages and also appear in popular newspapers and magazines. In 2004 Shrader-Frechette became only the third American to win the World Technology Award in Ethics. In 2007, she was named one of 12 "Heroes for the US and the World" because of her pro-bono environmental-justice (EJ) work with minority and poor communities. In 2011, Tufts University gave her the Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award for her pro-bono public-health and EJ Work.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Conceptual and Logical Analysis
Chapter 1: Speaking Truth to Power: Uncovering Flawed Methods, Protecting Lives and Welfare
Chapter 2: Discovering Dump Dangers: Unearthing Hazards in Hydrogeology
Chapter 3: Hormesis Harms: The Emperor Has No Biochemistry Clothes
Chapter 4: Trading Lives for Money: Compensating Wage Differentials in Economics
Section 2: Heuristic Analysis and Developing Hypotheses
Chapter 5: Learning from Analogy: Extrapolating from Animal Data in Toxicology
Chapter 6: Conjectures and Conflict: A Thought Experiment in Physics
Chapter 7: Being a Disease Detective: Discovering Causes in Epidemiology
Chapter 8: Why Statistics Is Slippery: Easy Algorithms Fail in Biology
Section 3: Methodological Analysis and Justifying Hypotheses
Chapter 9: Releasing Radioactivity: Hypothesis-Prediction in Hydrogeology
Chapter 10: Protecting Florida Panthers: Historical-Comparativist Methods in Zoology
Chapter 11: Cracking Case Studies: Why They Work in Sciences Such As Ecology
Chapter 12: Uncovering Cover-up: Inference to the Best Explanation in Medicine
Section 4: Values Analysis and Scientific Uncertainty
Chapter 13: Value Judgments Can Kill: Expected-Utility Rules in Decision Theory
Chapter 14: Understanding Uncertainty: False Negatives in Quantitative Risk Analysis
Chapter 15: Where We Go from Here: Making Philosophy of Science Practical