I have noticed more and more lately that there is a strong anti-science, anti-expert sentiment going around. I've never really understood it - if an i...moreI have noticed more and more lately that there is a strong anti-science, anti-expert sentiment going around. I've never really understood it - if an important decision needs to be made, then I want the most qualified people involved in making that decision. Why is it that in some circles, advertising how much you don't know seems to be a qualification for high positions or power? A particular pet peeve of mine - why do people trust politicians or other lay people about climate change more than they do climatologists who know what they are talking about? Why do people trust Jenny McCarthy or Oprah when dealing with their health than a doctor?
This book tries to explain some reasons why this may be happening. In a nutshell, scientists are people too, and are subject to the same failings that everyone else is. We recognize these failing in other areas in life, and we have checks and balances to deal with it. For some reason, people want to point at failures in the scientific method as proof that we should not trust any scientist about anything, ignoring the incredible amount of good that has come from science, and ignoring that the checks and balances inherent in science are what exposed and fixed the problems in the first place.
I found the case studies of failure to be instructive (the first chapter talks about Vioxx and how its effects on people with a history of heart issues was suppressed).
The book was a little repetitive at times, but overall it was a good read.(less)
This book is a very good overview of evolutionary theory geared towards those who are not familiar with the details.
The author is particularly concer...moreThis book is a very good overview of evolutionary theory geared towards those who are not familiar with the details.
The author is particularly concerned with the common misconceptions about evolution, and spends the first part of the book discussing them. In particular, he does a good job explaining the difference between a scientific theory and the more casual use of the word theory when evolution is derided as "just a theory".
He then spends the rest of the book discussing the wide range of evidences supporting the theory, ranging from fossils to DNA to experiments done today on bacteria and fruit flies.
I felt I had a pretty good understanding of evolution before reading this book, but this book still was able to introduce me to some new things. I highly recommend this book.(less)