Forbidden Science: Exposing the Secrets of Suppressed Research Paperback – 1600
|New from||Used from|
Customers also shopped for
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In recent decades there have been a large number of books published with a core narrative that goes something like:
1. Modern scientists have become dogmatic and close-minded, largely as a result of the system in which they operate.
2. This system (i.e. peer-review and current funding mechanisms) means that scientists must tow the 'party line', dismiss out-of-hand results or observations that do not fit within the current 'paradigm of thought', and confine research to narrow, 'peer-acceptable' streams.
3. There are many phenomenon that have been reported that scientists have been quick to dismiss, do not fit within those narrow streams of 'acceptability', despite there being ample evidence to support these phenomena.
4. Studying such phenomena could provide incredible new insights into the workings of the universe and/or have profound impacts on society.
The problem with Forbidden Science is that it is clear from the start of the book that these are the conclusions Milton wants to arrive at. Everything within the text, from the first chapter to the last, is presented in such a way as to conform to that narrative and have the reader nodding in agreement by the end. Milton is undoubtedly an excellent writer, but Forbidden Science, in my opinion, is not just slick but also highly manipulative.
Throughout the book Milton looks at various historical discoveries that were 'rejected' by the mainstream scientific community. Of course, a deep-rooted dark satisfaction exists in every person when the 'so-called experts' suffer a major humiliation and an evidence-based smack in the chops when shown to be totally, utterly, and completely wrong! The problem with Forbidden Science is that it deliberately plays for this emotional response but does so by failing to actually explain the scientific method or place such discoveries in historical context. For example, the reason mainstream scientists had a problem with the concept of 'continental drift' was because we don't see our oceans draining into the bowels of the earth. Everything we knew at the time told us that the ocean bed was effectively solid rock, and it was unclear how continents attached to that ocean bed could therefore 'drift'. When Wegener proposed the idea in 1912 there was little evidence to support the mechanism by which it happened. Wegener's estimates for the speed of drift were miles off the reality. Scientists didn't so much reject the idea as to ponder it for a bit, leave it on a shelf for a few decades, and then resurrect it once more data became available. As you might expect scientists to do. But this doesn't suit the narrative Milton is going for.
There are also good accounts of some scientific discoveries that turned out to be false as a result of 'pathological science' - a problem where an experimenter becomes biased (either intentionally or unintentionally), rejects data that doesn't conform to his/her expectations or theory for spurious reasons, and cherry-picks data that does. The aim of these sections of the book is to instill in the reader the idea that scientists, like all humans, are flawed and therefore are not quite as impartial, rational, or coldly subjective as we like to think we are. Unfortunately, the problem for Milton is that, on the one hand, he is mounting an attack on the current scientific 'paradigm', while on the other fails to acknowledge that the same very 'paradigm' was successful in being able to identify these as flawed experiments and rejecting the phenomena reported.
Forbidden Science also examines some 'alternative' phenomena such as homeopathy and Kirlian photography. This is the point at which I began to feel the book was less a critique of the modern scientific process and more a promotional piece for pseudo-science. No one denies that homeopathy can make people feel better than they did before the treatments. No one denies that homeopathy may be a valuable addition in terms of helping patients. Therefore, cherry-picking scientific papers showing benefits for patients (while ignoring those that show it worked no better than placebo) is not all that interesting - what mainstream science refutes is the method by which practitioners claim it works, and it does that not out of maliciousness or close-mindedness or adherence to strict dogma, but because the weight of evidence collected over the past 150 years is overwhelming against that explanation. Similarly, Kirlian photography is well understood from a scientific standpoint. The reason mainstream science doesn't investigate it is because people did, and found nothing of interest in terms of medical diagnostics.
When all is said and done Forbidden Science is a good read, well written, with some interesting ideas. Some of the arguments are good and few people (including us dogmatic scientists) could disagree. Some of them are badly thought out. And a few border on a deliberate misrepresentation to appeal to a popular narrative that allows people to believe what they want in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.