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Fragile Science

Fragile Science

(1975)
A non fiction book by

 
We live in grim times, Robin Baker recognises in Fragile Science. When sunshine gives you cancer and the butter on your toast clogs your arteries, is it any wonder that clinical depression is sweeping the Western world like a veritable plague? But is sunshine the carcinogen we take it to be? Is cholesterol really bad for us? And how exactly do we know that depression is on the increase? The media interprets science in a way that best serves the public appetite for sensation, for causes--ultimately, for reassurance. The essays in Fragile Science show how you could use the same data to draw very different conclusions: for instance, that it's sun cream that's causing skin cancer; that cholesterol actually binds and mends damaged blood vessels; that GM foods are safer than so-called "natural" foods; and--in a macabre reversal of the accepted account--that it was the rendered tissue of people that first infected cows with BSE. The point is, nothing in biology is certain: biological truth is always manufactured for a political purpose. What's iconoclasm and what's orthodoxy is, of course, largely a matter of perspective. In his final essay, Baker (author of Sperm Wars, a modern classic of social biology) celebrates the way iconoclastic biologists have dented our complacent ideas about free will. But to a new generation (see Lesley Rogers' excellent Sexing the Brain), this sort of genetic determinism is already orthodox, and ripe for demolition. Biology, Baker says, is politically useless. One can't resist asking: where does this leave Baker? --Simon Ings

 
Used availability for Robin Baker's Fragile Science


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

June 2001 : UK Hardback
Title: Fragile Science: The Reality Behind the Headlines
Author(s): Robin Baker
ISBN: 0-333-90102-9 / 978-0-333-90102-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Macmillan
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

June 2002 : UK Paperback
Title: Fragile Science: The Reality Behind the Headlines
Author(s): Robin Baker
ISBN: 0-330-48093-6 / 978-0-330-48093-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Pan Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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