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Record Type: Review   ID: 325

Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method

Bauer, Henry H.

 Bauer’s aim in this book is to help people to understand what science is and what it is not. He takes particular pains to show that the scientific method is a myth as is the existence of a general "entity called ‘science’ about which sweeping generalizations can validly be made" (p. vii). The insights presented in the book he attributes to the new discipline of STS—science and technology studies," which takes a multidisciplinary approach. In Chapter 4, "Other Fables About Science," he deals with other misconceptions, such as that "science deals in facts" (pp. 63-67), "scientific knowledge as a map" (pp. 67-71), "successful prediction proves a theory right" (pp. 71-78), and others, such as that "science is self-correcting" (pp. 82-85). In Chapter 5 he gives several reasons why "scientific knowledge is only an imperfect map of the actual world" (p. 88). All have to do with the fact that science is conducted by human beings. In Chapter 6 he distinguishes between textbook science, which is very reliable, and "frontier science," which "is very unreliable" (p. 103). He closes with a chapter in which he praises science—as an ideal—and distinguishes it from scientism.
Publisher Information:Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992. 182p. 9 figs; Index: 177-180
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