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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important book., 3 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment (Paperback)
This is one of the most interesting books I've seen in quite awhile. Well researched and written. In my opinion it is one of the most important books to read for anyone interested in any field of science. It is brilliant as a work on the sociology of science, and as a general warning to all those who pursue truth that the truth you accept today may not be there tomorrow.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous Stuff, 9 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment (Paperback)
An extremely interesting book dealing with the underdogs in the history of science whom the system fought. Tesla, Reich and many others are put in perspective allowing the reader to ponder what might have happened to mankind`s progress had some people been taken seriously and others not. GOOD allaround reading for open minds. A shortcoming though is the lack of info on ancient accepted science e.g Greeks, Archimides etc.(The latter invented steam engines 2000 yrs ago!)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science is not scientific enough, 8 April 2010
This review is from: Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment (Paperback)
This book was originally called Forbidden Science - a better title, I think. Richard Milton's main theme is that professional scientists today are forbidden to venture into unconventional subject areas. He gives an example of a television programme in 1994 about "cold fusion" in which a distinguished American physicist was interviewed with his identity disguised, in silhouette. He was afraid that his reputation as a scientist could be destroyed if he were known to be connected with that forbidden subject. Milton proposes that we are living through an era of academic intolerance, in which many American and British universities have been infected with a scientific fundamentalism as virulent and pernicious in its way as contemporary religious fundamentalism.

Another example is the book A New Science of Life that was published by Rupert Sheldrake in 1981. The editor of Nature, John Maddox, ran an editorial saying that "this infuriating tract... is the best candidate for burning there has been for many years". This deeply unscientific judgment did not do any harm to the reputation of the late Sir John Maddox, who died in 2009. On the contrary, he was admired and honoured for his ruthless defence of scientific orthodoxy.

Milton admits that there is a need to protect science against cranky and half-baked notions. The peer review system is designed to be a tough test which research results must pass to be published. But he shows that the system has a built-in bias against radical new ideas. Even Maddox admitted that Watson and Crick's groundbreaking paper on DNA might not have survived peer review. Milton gives some interesting examples of the resistance to innovations that are now familiar, such as the marine steam turbine and powered flight. The Wright brothers had great difficulty in convincing people that flying was possible, despite their practising over an open prairie in full view of a railway line.

Milton looks at a number of phenomena which could be of great scientific interest, including some "paranormal "ones. He exposes the activities of self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy, such as the Committee On the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), who reject evidence for these phenomena on the grounds that a materialist, reductionist explanation will ultimately answer all questions. Something like telepathy, which seems to defy any explanation within that paradigm, is dismissed out of hand. This hardly shows a spirit of open-minded scientific exploration; Dr Lewis Wolpert of COPUS is quoted as saying: "Open minds are empty minds".

Milton's argument is that science, as practised today, is not scientific enough. He also questions whether conventional research always serves the interests of society; medical research often takes little account of patients and GPs, its end-users. "Scientific research is the last great area of public expenditure where the end-user has no voice at all".

This book is well researched and cogently argued, and deserves to be widely read.
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