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Publisher's Summary

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.

McIntyre offers examples that illustrate both scientific success and failure. He describes the transformation of medicine from a practice based largely on hunches into a science based on evidence; considers scientific fraud; examines the positions of ideology-driven denialists, pseudoscientists, and "skeptics" who reject scientific findings; and argues that social science, no less than natural science, should embrace the scientific attitude.

©2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Scientific Attitude

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The Ghost in The Scientific Machinery

McIntyre’s book will probably be one I refer back to often in conversation with others about the nature of science and its superior approach to deep understanding. The shift away from methodological demarcation and towards a clarification of the attitudinal dimension that colors scientific inquiry was a breath of fresh air. The discussion of the social sciences in the context of the scientific attitude and the history and evolution of medicine was also something I’d never considered before. Moreover, this book has accomplished one more thing, besides the clearly stated purpose of defending science from pretenders and charlatans, and that is it makes me want to learn how to defend science better myself and share with others the uniqueness of science and the privileged status it deserves. McIntyre’s book is a masterpiece. I recommend everyone and their mother read it.

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Could not get through book

I am struggling to get through this audiobook which is too academic to listen to while driving! it is like listening to a research paper which is fine to read, skim redundancies but the repetition of words were grating on my ears. Hearing sentences use the phrases scientific method, unscientific research, pseudoscience multiple times in a sentence was maddening! The narrator doesn't help make it more engaging either! I heard the author on a podcast talk about his approach in talking to science deniers in a way they feel listened to & that he's turned them around to science. I really wanted this advice in how to be considerate & create a thoughtful case for them to see science as not threatening their beliefs. Halfway through the jargon & dry academia, I need to move on! The one positive of the book was a story of medical science that was interesting.

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  • CNY
  • 11-03-19

Narrator’s accent too annoying to listen to.

Book ruined by narrator. Could not stand to listen to book as accent grated. A shame.

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  • Erik Skytte Mosbaek
  • 08-21-19

The Author became victim of his own theory

Having read through until chapter 8 the author, in my perspective, became victim of his own theory by framing any climate change sceptic as a denier, this by mentioning, among others, that the cheating of scientists involved in climate-gate was just ‘having a bit of fun’ and the fact that he himself has fallen for the claim of 97% of scientists believe in AGW, this tells me the author’s is a sufferer of cognitive bias himself. It kind of spoilt the premise of the book. Having mentioned that the book still is a good listen and quite recommendable.

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  • Ben
  • 07-22-19

struggled with inconsistencies

research was interesting and informative. climategate being dismissed as a poorly timed joke was disturbing