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The Unnatural Nature of Science


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction Technology is not Science Thales's Leap: West and East Creativity Competition, Coorperation, and Commitment Philosophical Doubts, or Relativism Rampant Non-Science Moral and Immoral Science Science and the Public References Index

About the Author

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine, University College, London. He is the author of The Triumph of the Embryo and coauthors of A Passion for Science.


Science is not common sense, and technology is not science. These are some of the basic ideas that Wolpert ( The Triumph of the Embryo , LJ 10/1/91) presents as he defines what science is from the point of view of a scientist. Drawing on fascinating examples from early Greek science to the present day, he discusses science's ``unnatural nature'' and explains how science relates to the general public and how scientists relate to each other. He also examines the interaction between science and religion. Several years ago, Wolpert and Alison Richards published A Passion for Science ( LJ 3/1/89), a collection of interviews with scientists on how they view their profession; this readable and understandable work expands and clarifies the introduction to that book. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago

The unnaturalness of science is held to lie both in the superior clarity of its thought over everyday notions...and in the counterintuitive character of regimes far from common experience. The unnaturalness is to be commended, and Lewis Wolpert's book is a kind of hymn of praise from one of science's practitioners...[An] entertaining book. -- John Polkinghorne Nature The implications of Wolpert's thesis are important and widespread, especially to anyone concerned with education and the public understanding of science...Wolpert is a passionate defender of science. All he asks is that we understand what we are defending. -- Tony Jones New Scientist Wolpert's book is...a lively presentation of points we need constantly remember as we reflect on the role of science in our world. -- Philip Kitcher New York Times Book Review [A] wonderful book...Wolpert's prose is measured and thoughtful...In an age when fundamental ideas about the nature of truth are assailed, when scientists are derided as madmen who threatened the world with nuclear weapons and genetic engineering, it is a pleasure to read a clear, level-headed and persuasive defense of the scientific enterprise. -- Lee Dembart Los Angeles Times

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