Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

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9780195147100: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
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In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra's "quantum alternative to growing old" to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you don't have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us.
While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works.
To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know? Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented.

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Scientific error, says Robert Park, "has a way of evolving ... from self-delusion to fraud. I use the term voodoo science to cover them all: pathological science, junk science, pseudoscience, and fraudulent science." In pathological science, scientists fool themselves. Junk science refers to scientists who use their expertise to befuddle and mislead others (usually juries or lawmakers). Pseudoscience has the trappings of science without any evidence. Fraudulent science is, well, fraud--old-fashioned lying.

Park is well-acquainted with voodoo science in all its forms. Since 1982, he has headed the Washington, D.C., office of the American Physical Society, and he has carried the flag for scientific rationality through cold fusion, homeopathy, "Star Wars," quantum healing, and sundry attempts to repeal the laws of thermodynamics. Park shows why a "disproportionate share of the science seen by the public is flawed" (because shaky science is more likely to skip past peer review and head straight for the media), and he gives a good tour of recent highlights in Voodoo. He has a rare ability to poke holes compassionately, without excoriating those taken in by their fondest wishes. Park is less forgiving of scientists (especially Edward Teller) when he thinks they've fallen down on the job, a job that should include helping the public separate the scientific wheat from the voodoo chaff. --Mary Ellen Curtin

About the Author:


Robert L. Park is Professor of Physics and former chairman of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland. He also directs the Washington Office of the American Physical Society. He is a prolific writer of op-eds for The New York Times and other papers, and a regular contributor of science features for The Washington Post. He also posts a provocative and popular weekly electronic column on science issues at http://www.opa.org/WN/. He lives in Adelphi, Maryland.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780195135152: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

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ISBN 10:  0195135156 ISBN 13:  9780195135152
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2000
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9780198604433: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

OUP OX..., 2002
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9780198507451: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

Oxford..., 2000
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9780965019354: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra s quantum alternative to growing old to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you don t have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us. While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works. To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know? Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented. Seller Inventory # AAS9780195147100

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra s quantum alternative to growing old to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you don t have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us. While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works. To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know? Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented. Seller Inventory # AAS9780195147100

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 240 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.3in. x 0.5in.In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims From Deepak Chopras quantum alternative to growing old to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you dont have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us. While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works. To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195147100

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