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Shrader-Frechette, Kristine, , . Tainted: How Philosophy of Science can expose bad science
2014, Oxford University Press USA.
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Abstract: Lawyers often work pro bono to liberate death-row inmates from flawed legal verdicts that otherwise would kill them. This is the first book on practical philosophy of science, how to practically evaluate scientific findings with life-and-death consequences. Showing how to uncover scores of scientific flaws – typically used by special interests who try to justify their pollution – this book aims to liberate many potential victims of environmentally induced disease and death.It shows how citizens can help uncover flawed science and thus liberate people from science-related societal harms such as pesticides, waste dumps, and nuclear power. It shows how flawed biology, economics, hydrogeology, physics, statistics, and toxicology are misused in ways that make life-and-death differences for humans. It thus analyzes science at the heart of contemporary controversies – from cell phones, climate change, and contraceptives, to plastic food containers and radioactive waste facilities. It illustrates how to evaluate these scientific findings, instead of merely describing what they are. Practical evaluation of science is important because, at least in the United States, 75 percent of all science is funded by special interests, to achieve specific practical goals, such as developing pharmaceuticals or showing some pollutant causes no harm. Of the remaining 25 percent of US science funding, more than half addresses military goals. This means that less than one-eighth of US science funding is for basic science; roughly seven-eighths is done by special interests, for practical projects from which they hope to profit. The problem, however, is that often this flawed, special-interest science harms the public.

Comment: Recommended for students in philosophy of science, environmental ethics or science policy. Could serve as an introductory reading for practical philosophy of science. It is easy to read and suitable for undergraduate students.

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