Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Corrupted Science

I recently finished a book by John Grant - Corrupted Science. In it, Grant describes an endless parade of examples where the scientific principles have been violated (sometimes resulting in tragic loss of human life), starting from faking observation data by Ptolemy and Galilei to the illnesses hampering modern science in the US.

I think it should be required reading for aspiring scientists. On the one hand, it demystifies the image of science, which is often seen as something that is absolute, certain (100%) and infallible, while in reality it is often not the case. On the other hand, it urges you to avoid the various pitfalls or mistakes that have happened before, and hopefully make you a better and more moral scientist.

It is especially instructing to see the vast array of examples from recent years. Otherwise, we could just look at the chapter on Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia and dismiss it as "ancient" history. However, it is followed by an account of politically corrupted science from the US during the Bush (II) reign.

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