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Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and…

Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the…

by Alex Berezow, Hank Campbell

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I watched the authors' live book presentation on BookTV web stream. Campbell stated that he disliked individuals who used science for their own extremes. I, however, rail against any scientist who proclaims that data is not subjective. It is subjective. (I'll get back to this point in a moment.)

The authors are correct: there are progressive extremists that go too far in terms of their agendas that they actually harm what they are trying to protect. Extremism by any other name is still extremism. The authors also give good information in terms of promoting correct information on studies that have been transformed into urban myths to support extremism both on the left and right. For this alone, I will read the book.

Back to science and subjectivity, I will present an example. Campbell reported on BookTV that in terms of energy efficiency, plastic bags are better for the environment. The science behind this studies the manufacture of plastic bags versus the manufacture of canvass/cotton bags imported from, for example, India. According to Campbell, such cotton bags would have to be used 176 times to begin to offset energy encompassed in the use of 1 plastic bag. Importing cotton bags from India is neither the purpose, nor the preferred environmental management, of environmentalists. The preferred action is to use an old t-shirt, fabric from thrift stores, etc., to make our own bags. In that respect, the reusable bags are more energy efficient and better for the environment.

(Campbell did not address the costs in terms of pollution (e.g., landfills, street, parks, etc.), he only stated that plastic bags are not the plastics choking our oceans; did not give information of pollution in terms of water and chemicals used to create the plastic bags, or give comparable data on the recycling plastic bags versus reusable bags.)

Science can be subjective depending upon the hypothesis presented. Data is subjective depending on how the study was undertaken (e.g., how the data set is established). It takes critical thought to read studies presented to get an overall picture of what is, indeed, best.

I will report back once I have read the book. I would not stayed tuned...this book is way down on the list of my "to-reads" and I am in a Ph.D. program. I have other priorities and limited recreational reading time.
  Christina_E_Mitchell | Sep 9, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alex Berezowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, Hankmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Argues that the political left holds more anti-scientific views than the right and are responsible for more scientific misinformation.

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