SCIENCE IS A SACRED COW by Anthony Standen


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The achievements of science today are unpalatable and disturb the comfort of the populace, ergo- pfuf to all science -- let's go back to the days before there was science, the days when scientists were liable to come under the Inquisition. After all scientists do make mistakes -- whether they are the too-sure breed of physicists, or their near relatives the chemists, or the biologists who monkey with humanity, or those who dabble in that unpredictable field of social sciences. Only mathematicians are inviolate. (And he even uses some tricks to trip them up). A debunking book which we were unwise enough to submit to our science reader for an opinion. Here's the gist of his comments (we only wish we could share them all with you- just for the entertainment value, shall we say?).."" 'Don't send a cat to fetch the cream' applies here, for a school science supervisor is hardly the right man for this job..We suspect that Mr. Standen isn't the right man for his job either. And we offer as evidence this exhaustive, carefully undocumented study which proves that scientists sometimes err, sometimes talk/act like stuffed shirts, sometimes are motivated by vanity and ambition. To arrive at these conclusions, the author refrained from reading any critical passages written by science historians, but instead hewed out his own devices. Here they are. (1) The multisyllabular quote, replete with Latin-rooted, technical words, thus proving that scientists don't talk good American. (2) The end-run: choose an extreme statement by a scientist with a tendency to extremes, and hold his whole branch of science up to ridicule. (3) The Straw man: the most graceful technique of all, unhampered by need of quotations. You merely invent a claim for some branch of science, then demolish that science on the basis of that claim....If science, is all Mr. Standen claims, why not use a machine gun on all scientists?.....

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1950
Publisher: Dutton