The Golem

By Harry M. Collins, Trevor Pinch,

Book cover of The Golem: What You Should Know about Science

Book description

Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch liken science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, powerful yet potentially dangerous, a gentle, helpful creature that may yet run amok at any moment. Through a series of intriguing case studies the authors debunk the traditional view that science is the straightforward result…

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1 author picked The Golem as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The thing you should know about science is that it’s a human enterprise. As a result, it’s dependent on human factors like social consensus and prejudice. In this series of case studies of famously expensive and difficult-to-replicate experiments probing the limits of scientific understanding from biology to theoretical physics, Collins and Pinch show how scientific knowledge gathering is rarely straightforward because there are always alternative explanations available for the data. Was the phenomenon real or was the experiment set up badly? We can never know for sure, but we decide collectively what we believe. Scientists are experts participating in human…

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