Len Polluck reviews this look into the relationship between science and public policy
Lies, damned lies, and science
London: FT Press Science 2009 | Pp224 | £17.99 | ISBN978 0 13 715522 0
Neither a textbook nor a novel, Seethaler gives an engaging non-fictional read into the complex nature of science and public policy, both from financial and ethical perspectives.
The tome is timely and is replete with useful examples of current scientific controversies, such as GM crops, global warming, genetics and the energy crisis. As such this book will be suitable background reading for school science teachers, and GCE A-level and university students studying science, business, and the humanities.
Seethaler reveals how science and health research are done; how to put scientific claims into context and the trade-offs involved; how to perceive quality science from junk science; how to discover when the populace is being fooled and when the information can be trusted.
The book provides a much needed explanation on how to be a critical thinker and consumer of scientific claims, which are encountered everyday. It is an important contribution towards a better understanding of and use of scientific knowledge in making decisions that impact on our everyday lives. At £17.99 this book is good value.