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Pandora's Lab : Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong
by M.D. Paul A. Offit


Overview - What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction?

History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating--and significant--missteps: from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria.  Read more...


 
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More About Pandora's Lab by M.D. Paul A. Offit
 
 
 
Overview
What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction?

History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating--and significant--missteps: from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria.

These are today's sins of science--as deplorable as mistaken past ideas about advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations--e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD--as case studies. For every "Aha " moment that should have been an "Oh no," this book is an engrossing account of how science has been misused disastrously--and how we can learn to use its power for good.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781426217982
  • ISBN-10: 1426217986
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > Social History
Books > Medical > Public Health
Books > Health & Fitness > Health Care Issues

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-02-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

Many dramatic scientific discoveries have lost their gloss or perhaps were never scientific to begin with, as pediatrician Offit (Bad Faith) shows in this heated denunciation of bad science. He outlines seven infamous discoveries that have had massive, detrimental unintended consequences. Opening with an account of the opium poppy, Offit traces opiums development from its use in antiquity to the opioid epidemic of the 21st century. From there he moves through case studies on the false promise of margarine, the ways artificial fertilizer has poisoned water systems, the rise of the American eugenics movement, the horrors of the lobotomy, and the demonization of DDT. Offits seventh chapter details how three acclaimed scientists independently wandered down paths of pseudoscience, with dreadful results. He concludes by applying the lessons of his preceding chapters to new developments such as GMOs, autism cures, and e-cigarettes. The role of capitalism in scientific development and promotion does not come under scrutiny. In warning the public of pseudoscientific danger, Offit urges the public to examine available data; beware of quick fixes, fads, and charismatic health gurus; and understand that every advance comes at a price. These are all sensible suggestions, though pessimists will argue theyre unlikely to catch on. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Apr.)

 
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