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Nonsense on Stilts How to Tell Science from Bunk

ISBN-10: 0226667863
ISBN-13: 9780226667867
Edition: 2010
List price: $20.00 Buy it from $7.79
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Description: Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe in Darwin's theory of evolution, despite it being one of science's best-established findings. More and more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children for fear it causes  More...

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Book details

List price: $20.00
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 5/15/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.078

Recent polls suggest that fewer than 40 percent of Americans believe in Darwin's theory of evolution, despite it being one of science's best-established findings. More and more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children for fear it causes autism, though this link can been consistently disproved. And about 40 percent of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated, despite near consensus in the scientific community that manmade climate change is real. Why do people believe bunk? And what causes them to embrace such pseudoscientific beliefs and practices? Noted skeptic Massimo Pigliucci sets out to separate the fact from the fantasy in this entertaining exploration of the nature of science, the borderlands of fringe science, andborrowing a famous phrase from philosopher Jeremy Benthamthe nonsense on stilts. Presenting case studies on a number of controversial topics, Pigliucci cuts through the ambiguity surrounding science to look more closely at how science is conducted, how it is disseminated, how it is interpreted, and what it means to our society. The result is in many ways a "taxonomy of bunk" that explores the intersection of science and culture at large. No onenot the public intellectuals in the culture wars between defenders and detractors of science nor the believers of pseudoscience themselvesis spared Pigliucci's incisive analysis. In the end, Nonsense on Stilts is a timely reminder of the need to maintain a line between expertise and assumption. Broad in scope and implication, it is also ultimately a captivating guide for the intelligent citizen who wishes to make up her own mind while navigating the perilous debates that will affect the future of our planet.

Introduction Science versus Pseudoscience and the "Demarcation Problem"
Hard Science, Soft Science
Almost Science
Pseudoscience
Blame the Media?
Debates on Science: The Rise of Think Tanks and the Decline of Public Intellectuals
Science and Politics: The Case of Global Warming
Science in the Courtroom: The Case against Intelligent Design
From Superstition to Natural Philosophy
From Natural Philosophy to Modern Science
The Science Wars I: Do We Trust Science Too Much?
The Science Wars II: Do We Trust Science Too Little?
Who's Your Expert?
Conclusion So, What Is Science after All?
Notes
Index

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