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What Science is and How it Really Works

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Scientific advances have transformed the world. However, science can sometimes get things wrong, and at times, disastrously so. Understanding the basis for scientific claims and judging how much confidence we should place in them is essential for individual choice, societal debates, and development of public policy and laws. We must ask: what is the basis of scientific claims? How much confidence should we put in them? What is defined as science and what is not? This book synthesizes a working definition of science and its properties, as explained through the eyes of a practicing scientist, by integrating advances from philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, and anthropology into a holistic view. Crucial in our political climate, the book fights the myths of science often portrayed to the public. Written for a general audience, it also enables students to better grasp methodologies and helps professional scientists to articulate what they do and why.

Translates science into lay terms, allowing a broad audience to gain an accurate understanding of the inner workings of scientific fields and debates

Discusses a topic highly relevant to our current political climates, helping readers to distinguish between claims of 'fact' and actual evidence, and avoid being manipulated by pseudoscience

Refrains from claims of the intellectual superiority of science – this book simply explains how science works from the building blocks up to its outward public communication

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Zimring James
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James C. Zimring is Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Hematology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Director of the Bloodworks Northwest Research Institute, Seattle. The recipient of many awards for his research and teaching, James C. Zimring is recognized as an international expert in the field of transfusion biology and routinely delivers academic lectures both nationally and internationally. He has served on the board of directors of the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI).


Part I:
1. The knowledge problem, or what can we really 'know'?
2. Adding more building blocks of human reasoning to the knowledge problem
3. Holistic coherence in thinking, or describing a system of how humans reason and think
Part II:
4. How scientific reasoning differs from other reasoning
5. Natural properties of a rule-governed world, or why scientists study certain types of things and not others
6. How human observation of the natural world can differ from what the world really is
7. Detection of patterns and associations, or how human perceptions and reasoning complicate understanding of real-world information
8. The association of ideas and causes, or how science figures out what causes what
Part III:
9. Remedies that science uses to compensate for how humans tend to make errors
10. The analysis of a phantom apparition, or has science really been studied yet?
11. The societal factor, or how social dynamics affect science
12. A holistic world of scientific entities, or considering the forest and the trees together

13. Putting it all together to describe 'what science is and how it really works'.

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