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This book is a reality check for us modern people. In today's day an age, Science and the Scientific method are glorified just like religion was in the Medieval Ages to the point of pure nonrational belief. But this seems contradictory to the ideals of Science, no? What happened to the objectivity, to seeking the truth, to be the last frontier facing the prejudice and dogmas of society?
Contemporary scholars have enough data that suggests some of your most beloved, influential scientists had plagiarized, modified or even faked their experimental results that they claimed to obtain: from Galileo Galilei, to Newton, to Mendel and others more whom science textbooks seemed to forget. And day after day, dozens of cases of fraud emerge, while hundreds more if not thousands of fraudulent researchers pass unchallenged into the walls of fame. And the scariest part is that the medical domain is one of the most susceptible environment for fraud and neglect to the truth and to the health of innocents.
The scientific community has always brushed off these cases as the "bad apples" that do not reflect the integrity of Science. But Broad & Wade see this issue from another grim perspective. After a thorough and extensive research, they deduced that in fact the problem lies within the core of Science, the conventionalist Scientific Method. Invented and developed by the philosophers and sociologists who looked at Science “from the perspectives of their own disciplines”, the conventionalist method fails to do its supposed function of self-policing whether through replication, peer review, or the referee system.
“The philosophers have said they are objective, so scientists strictly forbid any reference to subjective experience in the scientific literature. The sociologists have said they are disinterested, so scientists disdain any overt manifestation of competition or credit-seeking. The historians have said that science is the defense against unreason, so scientists deny with a passion that human passions have any place whatsoever in their work.” (Ch.7)
Broad & Wade, giving along the way numerous, vivid examples of the types of fraud that took place systematically, criticized the practical discrepancies of the Scientific method and blamed the Scientific community for turning a blind eye to them. Criticisms vary from opportunitism and careerism, to dogmatism and elitism among the scientists.
The authors do not try to mistrust Science per se. Instead they aim from this book to highlight an alternative way into looking at Science and its method. And I believe they have done a pretty good job.
If you plan to read the book, please let me know your feedback!