The Great Paradox of Science by Mano Singham


The first three chapters of my latest book are on the Amazon webpage. (Click on the ‘Look inside’ link.) The publisher’s webpage is here and you can also buy it from any major retailer. (Note: This will be the new top post for a while. Later posts are below.)

Comments

  1. deepak shetty says

    I pre-ordered a copy but it will be months before I get to actually reading it 🙁
    I first came across a similar topic( I guess) when Massimo Pigliucci it was I think who was critiquing scientism (among new Atheists) and who had said something along the lines off that (almost ?) all scientific theories so far had been incorrect or false.

  2. rrutis1 says

    Mano, I got mine this weekend! Unfortunately I was so sick with a cold I was unable to read much.

  3. cweigold says

    I enjoyed this book. It provided a useful framework for thinking about and discussing science as it affects our daily lives. The later chapters added a philosophical perspective I had not anticipated.

    I liked the Tree of Science metaphor and selected quotes from the Bible scattered throughout the book. At one time religion had a more active interest in the answers to scientific questions. When along the Tree of Science would you propose that the Last Common Universal Ancestor of science and religion existed?

    The case study on the age of the earth was very interesting, and perhaps my favorite part of the book. I had no idea that the accepted value varied so widely over time and that the eventual convergence at 4.54 billion years was the result of a multidisciplinary approach that gradually filled in a complete picture from seemingly disparate data points. This networked approach made me think of a spider web where each link is interconnected and dependent on the links around it. At the same time, weak portions of the web can be rebuilt in situ without the entire web collapsing.

    It also was interesting to read about the life cycles of various theories and in particular how they can still be useful even when superseded by something better, as in the case of Newton’s laws of motion.

    The parts of the book that dealt with science deniers and misinformation seem acutely relevant during the pandemic crisis. I noticed many of the types of bad-faith arguments used to try to discredit science that were discussed are being brandished about in the media almost constantly. I am hopeful that now I will be in a better position to argue that the conclusions of experts can be trusted because they are the result of a robust system that is constantly revising itself from within.

  4. Mano Singham says

    Chris @#3,

    Thanks for the nice review.

    As I say in the book, it is always hard to pick an exact date when a major transition in consensus views occurred. The best one can do is suggest a range. In the case of the science-religion split, at least in the western world, we can say that during the time when the Bible was the sole source for calculating the age of the Earth, that science and religion were together, which would put it somewhere around 1750 CE and earlier. By the early 1800s, with the rise of uniformitarianism, the split had occurred and the Bible was seen as irrelevant for studying such questions.

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