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The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters Audio Download – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 10 May 2012
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00821OOGK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this review, I'm going to follow the author's lead and pretend that Geeks are a homogeneous community who speak and act - more or less - with a single accord.

This is an important book. It is a rallying cry to Geeks everywhere to organise ourselves as a lobby group to give science and rationalism a stronger voice in government and policy making, to counter the organised voices of vested interests whose political clout far exceeds their following.

Parts of this book will probably be illuminating to even to the politically aware geek. He talks much about how evidence is routinely abused by politicians. To whet your appetite, "spray on evidence", "cherry-picking evidence", "shopping list evidence", "veneer of evidence", "hand-picking advisers", "misunderstanding evidence", "cargo cult science", "confirmation bias", "cognitive dissonance" are all expounded concepts of evidence-abuse by our politicians in justifying their policies.

The Geeks, he says in a theme which runs through the book, are beginning to organise themselves to bring our policy makers to account for designing off-the-cuff, populist policies and pretending they're the result of scientific research. And he tells us how we can join in: how we can access information and resources, get Geek candidates into the halls of power, and persuade the organs of power to adopt scientific method to inform policy choices.

Numerous case studies of alleged science-abuse are covered, which include examples of missed opportunities, best practice, abuse of power, undermining scientific advisers, and - of course - the evidence misuse.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for some enlightenment about scientific issues, but was totally disappointed. The author has few scientific credentials and is a journalist who worked for The Times at one point. He claims to have founded their science supplement Eureka, but I have not seen the magazine for many months (as a regular reader of that paper). Most of the topics discussed are medical or drug related problems, such as the homeopathy controversy, one I had thought long gone despite support for the quackery from royalty and many MPs. But the arguments appear to continue apace, despite the clear and unequivocal evidence that the homeopathic "drugs" have absolutely no medical effect since any active substances present have ben diluted out of existence. It speaks volumes about the gullibility of so many politicians, an opinion I share with the majority of the population judging by the recent Brexit vote. There is another discussion about the flawed arguments about the MMR vaccine, although this controversy has now been closed by the weight of scientific evidence. Henderson makes big claims for RCT or randomised control trials for many problems, but one example he gives about the terrible injuries of broken beer glasses surely didn't need such a trial since it is very obvious that toughened beer glasses just cannot cause serious injuries, a fact well known by car makers when designing windscreens for example. But the author is much less convincing when it comes to another controversy, that of global warming. He admits the problems caused by Climategate, but fails to recognise that the emails did in fact show very serious attempts by Mann and Jones to distort the temperature evidence.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mark Henderson has written a book which all scientists and politicians should read. From its very beginning, he catalogues time after time how politicians misunderstand and underfund basic scientific research. They misunderstand it because almost all of them have no scientific background. That they underfund it is remarkable, seeing that they bend over backwards to ease the way of entrepreneurs and investors who are only too happy to reap the benefits of this research.

There are many highlights. I mention only a few. Sarah Palin for instance, wondering why on earth biologists were funded (in modest terms) to study fruit flies. Anyone who has studied genetics at all would know that the study of variations in fruit flies underpinned that subject, but maybe Sarah doesn't believe in evolution?

There are the news program debates, where the interviewers give equal weight and hearing to solidly founded research and crank views, be it in climate science, stem cell research or alternative medicine. Time and again, a refutation of the crank views is easily to hand, but is not used, in the interests of a false sense of "balance", where the hippo and the ant are deemed to have equal weight.

We have Vince Cable telling us that much scientific research is not even worthwhile and should be cut. In this case, a concerted campaign achieved only a freezing of funding, ie, a cut in real terms. If politicians could have predicted the World Wide Web, developed as a by-product of trying to share CERN's discoveries, could they have pushed funds in the right direction? Plus, all of the modern world depends on the unassuming research of Maxwell, a Scottish scientist, trying to formulate equations to describe electromagnetism. Who would have foreseen the ramifications of that?
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