Dangerous Knowledge – Skepticism about Science and Medicine

The first of a multi-part series of articles by historian of science Henry Bauer. He explains that it’s an illusion that science is objective and safeguarded from error by the scientific method. He notes that contemporary scientific consensus is sometimes not in tune with the actual evidence, and that disjunction is ignored or judged unimportant both by most researchers and by most observers. In Dangerous knowledge II: Wrong knowledge about the history of science, Bauer states “That misconception about science progressing by lauded leaps by applauded geniuses is highly damaging since it hides the crucially important lesson that the acts of genius that we praise in hindsight were vigorously, often even viciously resisted by their contemporaries, their contemporary scientific establishment and scientific consensus.” In Dangerous knowledge III: Wrong knowledge about science Bauer notes that it’s important to realize how scientific activity and the character of the people doing science has changed over time, especially since the middle of the 20th century. Finally in Dangerous knowledge IV: The vicious cycle of wrong knowledge Bauer shows how the virtually universal dismissal of contradictory evidence stems from the nature of contemporary science and its role in society as the supreme arbiter of knowledge. Here finally is an example of how things have gone terribly wrong in science: Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science. (PH)

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