Creating Scientific Controversies: Uncertainty and Bias in Science and Society, 1st Edition

  • David Harker
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1316409759
  • ISBN-13: 9781316409756
  • DDC: 501
  • Grade Level Range: College Freshman - College Senior
  • 266 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2015 | Published/Released January 2019
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2015

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For decades, cigarette companies helped to promote the impression that there was no scientific consensus concerning the safety of their product. The appearance of controversy, however, was misleading, designed to confuse the public and protect industry interests. Created scientific controversies emerge when expert communities are in broad agreement, but the public perception is one of scientific uncertainty and doubt. In the first book-length analysis of the concept of a created scientific controversy, the author explores issues including climate change, Creation science, the anti-vaccine movement and genetically modified crops. Drawing on work in cognitive psychology, social epistemology, critical thinking and philosophy of science, he shows readers how to better understand, evaluate, and respond to the appearance of scientific controversy. This book is a valuable resource for students of philosophy of science, environmental and health sciences, and social and natural sciences.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Creating Scientific Controversies.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
Introduction: Scientific Authority and the Created Controversy.
Lessons from the Philosophy of Science.
1: Defining Science and the Empiricist Approach.
2: Two Challenges for the Naïve Empiricist.
3: A Revolution in How We Think About Sciences.
4: Sciences as Historically and Socially Situated.
5: Points to Remember: Part I.
Biases, Arguments and Created Controversies.
6: Inherent Irrationality: Cognitive Biases and Heuristics.
7: Thinking More Clearly: Arguments, Reasoning and Informal Fallacies.
8: Created Controversies and How to Detect Them.
9: Points to Remember: Part II.
Exposing Created Controversies.
10: Environmental Scare: The Case of Anthropogenic Climate Change.
11: Sciences, Religion and an Intelligently Designed Controversy?.
12: Issues of Public Health: Aids, Autism and Gmos.
13: Points to Remember: Part III.
14: Concluding Remarks.