The Flight from Science and Reason (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) Paperback – 8 May 1997
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""[This book] reflects the views of 40 scholars, scientists, adn other experts... Each author speaks strongly to critics of the scientific methods and to those who acquiesce to mystics, radical environmentalists, and creationists. They also issue a powerful exhonaration to turn back this trend and revert to reliance on reason and logic." -- Science News
The authors of Higher Superstition and others take on critics of science from social constructivists to deconstructionists, from creationists and feminists to Afro-centrists.See all Product Description
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The book is divided into 11 sections, each containing three to five papers that fit into the general category. Categories include "The Public Image of Science", "The Foundations of Physics", "Health", "Environment", "Feminism", "Humanities", "Religion" and "Education", among others.
It being proceedings from a conference, few papers actually delve into particular examples of bad science. Notable exceptions are "Building bridges to Afrocentrism" by Ann Macy Roth and "Whatever happened to historical evidence?" by Mary Lefkowitz, both of which contain criticisms of many afrocentrist claims regarding the egyptians, among a handful of others. Other papers talk about the philosophical underpinnings of the postmodernist movement, or survey some of the literature, or encourage scientist to speak up in defense of science against the attacks by those championing the irrational. Many authors try not to get into discussions of validity in order to not be seen as "preaching to the choir", which can leave the lay reader looking for more postmodernist howlers feeling ill-served.
On the other hand, the articles contain a wealth of information in the form of references, and mark trends both of the anti-science academic left and her critics. Not recommended to non-scientist (read Gross and Levitt's other book instead), but those with a keen interest in the debates what what science "is" will find it an interesting and thought provoking read.
I only have two concerns with this otherwise solid title.
1) The text is too academic -- how about a short, readable book for the masses? I propose a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) format that would enable students and others to confront unargued post-modern dogma.
2) I would have loved an examination of the historical roots of post-modernism and other forms of irrationalism. For those who are interested, Wendy Kaminer's book 'Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials' is a good examination of American irrationalism.
Finally, if anyone else reading this review is a student (or teacher) at a university who is concerned with the stifling of free inquiry in education, please e-mail me and initiate a discussion. Thank you.