Give and Take

Episode 219: The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience in the midst of Corona, with Lee McIntyre

May 18th, 2020  •  54 mins 59 secs  •  Download (50.3 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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My guest is Lee McIntyre. He's the author of "The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience." Attacks on science have become commonplace. Claims that climate change isn't settled science, that evolution is “only a theory,” and that scientists are conspiring to keep the truth about vaccines from the public are staples of some politicians' rhetorical repertoire. Defenders of science often point to its discoveries (penicillin! relativity!) without explaining exactly why scientific claims are superior. In this book, Lee McIntyre argues that what distinguishes science from its rivals is what he calls “the scientific attitude”―caring about evidence and being willing to change theories on the basis of new evidence. The history of science is littered with theories that were scientific but turned out to be wrong; the scientific attitude reveals why even a failed theory can help us to understand what is special about science.