This book was thoroughly entertaining … even when it was devastating. I see a lot of memes out in the world about “Trust the Science,” and yes, we should trust science, but we should also remember science is a process. Also, scientists are human. They can be swayed by greed, glory, fame, or politics. We need to trust the process not the people.
This book starts in the age of colonization and works its way up to the present day. It covers a lot of ground, and so doesn’t cover all of the scientific scandals that occurred in my lifetime (the massive fraud that fueled the opioid epidemic, bone marrow transplants for breast cancer, Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, and the false memory syndrome epidemic are notable for their absence.) But truly, there have been so many scandals just in my 50 years of life, it’s easy to see why not everything could covered. I think this book gives a good overview of the various reasons scientists can do bad things, how they lie to themselves, and how they lie to the public (and those who give grants.)[Read more…]