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Sex, Science And Profits [Paperback]

Terence Kealey
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2009

The question 'What is art?' is frequently debated, but 'What is science?' appears to be discussed less often - though the answers could reveal far more about us.

Is science a public good? Does science mean progress? Or is science something more exploitative - driven by profit, promoted by businesses and institutions looking for economic and political power?

In this ground-breaking study in the tradition of Richard Dawkins and Jared Diamond, Terence Kealey shows how an understanding of sexual and natural selection can transform our view of progress in economics, business and technology. Richly multi-disciplinary, witty, brilliant and thought-provoking, it is an important and controversial book.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099281937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099281931
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 711,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A bracing argument, and Kealey writes clearly and well...fascinating" (Guardian)

"Hugely ambitious, stupendously confident and unrelentingly provocative. It is indeed a tropical storm of a book; it throws out a whirlwind of ideas, it deluges its readers with facts and statistics, buffets them with challenges to conventional wisdom and leaves them feeling like heroes when they survive the commotion of reading it" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Absorbing...a gloriously idiosyncratic work" (Sunday Times)

"Rip-roaring... Kealey's gallop through capitalism, sociology, history, economics and science is a stimulating and splendid read" (The Times)

"An entertaining canter through global history...energy and muscular prose are much in evidence" (The Times Higher Educational Supplement)

Review

`A gloriously idiosyncratic work'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it seems 16 Aug 2009
By John Williams TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I like reading about sex, have a passing interest in science, and who doesn't like to turn a profit now and then? So I thought this might be a book for me. Turned out to be a long tract against the public funding of scientific research and in praise of private and voluntary funding of R&D. It asserts the primacy of technology over 'pure' science, the victory of Adam Smith over Francis Bacon. No sex then, but I read it through to the end anyway. The romp through the history of science (from prehistory to modern times), and the funding of science in particular, was entertaining enough. Other reviewers, no doubt more erudite than me, have said that Kealey's arguments are flawed, and that many of his facts are not in fact facts. I even spotted one or two mistakes myself, which does suggest that those other reviewers are right. Never mind; this was an interesting book. Am I wiser and better informed for having read it? Who knows? How many stars will I give it? Well, no-one else has given it three, so here goes...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing detail 29 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A tour de force conducted at a gallop through human history. Amazing level of detail keeps the reader engaged at all times. Kealey is a scientist turned economist who debunks many of the "accepted" theories of economics with evident glee.
Recommended
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Andrew Dalby TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This book builds upon the authors previous work looking at how science is funded. The author is the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University one of the very few private universities in the UK. So as you would expect given this position his argument is that science is better funded privately than by public funds.

His presentation is very biased and there are numerous mistakes in the text and in the facts and examples he uses. His worst mistake is confusing science with technology as applied science is something very different to the theory, but he is right in some cases that theory follows practice rather than the other way around as contended by governments. He is also right that funding academic science often gives poor results compared to industrial funding but that is the nature of academia which is much less focused especially towards short term goals.

So in the end I think he provides an interesting set of opinions and with more careful presentation of the facts and less emphasis on trying to sell the book (sex has nothing to do with it except for some very tangential and artificial points) then he might find more supporters for his argument.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
As other reviewers have pointed out, this book has factual misrepresentations aplenty. There's also a key problem of logic at the heart of Kealey's text. He bases his book around a refutation of Bacon's view that technology grows from scientific research funded by government; problem is, he refutes it so hard that he falls into the same trap from the opposite direction - like Bacon, he takes an ideological view of how science is progressed without paying too much heed to real-world evidence that doesn't seem to fit his thesis.

I get the strong impression that Kealey is aware he is doing this, but he continues to push his argument because it's jolly good fun winding up his ideological enemies.

So definitely worth a read - just be ready to read around what Kealey is saying and check his facts. Don't take his assertions at face value. I get the feeling that this author would be slightly disappointed by readers who agreed with everything he says.
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