Uncommon Sense

Uncommon Sense : Heretical Nature of Science

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Using history, psychology, philosophy, and personal experience, this treatise develops the idea that scientific thought is a radically new way of thinking that is contrary to man's natural tendencies. This view gives insight into the origin of science, the difference between science and pseudoscience, the nature of progress, and the requirements of science education.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 255 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • line figures, bibliography
  • 0195082133
  • 9780195082135

About Alan H. Cromer

About the Author: Alan Cromer, a professor of physics at Northeastern University, is actively involved with enhancing middle-level science education.show more

Review Text

Cromer (Physics/Northeastern) advances several agendas in this provocative, polemical work. For starters, he asserts that science isn't an inevitable development in advanced cultures. Rather, he sees most people at most times stuck in the egocentric/magical world that Piaget described as central to the early developmental stages of childhood. Had it not been for the Greeks - with their democratic penchant for dialogue and debate - and the brilliance of Euclid, Archimedes, et al. (but not Aristotle), we might still be animists or dependent on religious prophets for our cosmology and cosmogony. The author contends that it was the rebirth of Greek science in the Renaissance, combined with the age of exploration and the invention of movable type, that created today's world dominated by science and technology. We've arrived at a stage where we can talk about the completeness of science and, based on probabilities and calculations, Cromer concludes that there's no point in seeking extraterrestrial intelligence or dreaming of intergalactic travel. Moreover, if we're to improve the world, we'd better do something about our schools: Instead of making them substitutes for home, as well as vehicles for social policies, we need to incorporate dynamic hands-on science programs, pouring our resources into the eighth and ninth grades and eliminating the last two years of high school. Wow. Clearly he who credits the Greeks for the spirit of debate will himself invite debate. What of the history of technology...mathematics...inductive proofs...the (Indian) invention of zero? As for the completeness of science, that's what they said in 1900...and said again in the early days of the genetic code. Overall, then, a generous helping of hubris here - but not without redeeming insights on good and had science, as well as examples of Cromer's own work in reforming middle-school science curricula. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Table of contents

Aspects of Science; Mind and Magic; From Apes to Agriculture; Prophets and Poets; Theorems and Planets; Sages and Scholars; Towns and Gowns; Science and Nonsense; Are we Alone?; Education for an Age of Science; Appendix A: Hindu Trigonometry; Appendix B: An Integrated Science Course.show more

Rating details

42 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 40% (17)
4 29% (12)
3 24% (10)
2 5% (2)
1 2% (1)
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