False Prophets: Fraud, Error, and Misdemeanour in Science and Medicine

Alexander Kohn, Author Blackwell Publishers $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-631-14685-8
Kohn, professor of virology at Tel Aviv University, surveys the broad range of scientific ""misconduct'' or honest error: Margaret Mead's misreading of Samoan sexual behavior; outright fraud like the Piltdown Man fakery; the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s; Lysenko-style biology in Russia. Here are summarized exposes of scientific misdemeanors from corner-cutting by sometimes well-meaning lab assistants to issues of possible bias, conscious or otherwise, in major media flaps like the racially controversial ``findings'' of British psychologist Burt that ``low intelligence'' is hereditary. All fascinating material. Why do some scientists cheat in full knowledge of the profoundly skeptical nature of their discipline? Kohn pinpoints fame, money and personal pathology while downplaying the notion that the scientific fraud he exposes may be a cancer beyond control. Illustrations. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-631-16237-7
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