By John Waller
"Fabulous technology finds lots of those findings to the overall reader for the 1st time. frequently startling and constantly spell binding, they exhibit that a few of our most vital clinical theories have been at the beginning permitted merely simply because well-known scientists fudged info, pulled rank, or have been propped up through non secular and political elites. outstanding case-studies express that technology isn't continually pushed on by means of natural rationality: human elements can play a minimum of as great a task within the beginning and reception of medical principles. Even poorly attested theories can achieve frequent reputation if recommend by way of scientists with enough clout. very good technology restores to the historical past of technology its advanced personalities, sour rivalries, and extreme human dramas which until eventually lately were overlain via myths and misconceptions.
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Additional resources for Fabulous Science: Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery
The previous years had witnessed the convulsions of the Terror, the bloody collapse of Napoleon I’s imperialist ambitions, the restoration of the monarchy, its usurpation by the Bourbons, and now the ascendancy of Napoleon’s nephew, Louis Napoleon. To many that evening it must have seemed that Pasteur’s strictly regulated flasks and troughs represented a blessed haven of rationality. In the world outside, the resolution of argument without recourse to the militant sans culottes, the sword, the barricade, and the coup d’état seemed an illusory hope.
In view of the high frequency of bogus results, a perfectly legitimate convention has arisen among scientists by which most inexplicable results are casually suppressed. As Dobzhansky’s words indicate, the suppression of unexpected results is not necessarily bad science. Most of the time the risks of the baby sharing the fate of the bathwater are low. Nonetheless, frank admissions of selectivity are rare. The vast majority of scientists instinctively prefer to uphold the image of themselves conscientiously following wherever the data lead them.
By those not prepared to accept a supernatural explanation for the origins of life, the assumption has to be made that somewhere in the Universe, at some time in the past, on at least one occasion, spontaneous generation has actually occurred. The latter consideration was not a problem for Pasteur because of his Catholicism. Nonetheless, from a scientific standpoint, it was beholden on him either to expose a flaw in each and every success Pouchet claimed, or concede the argument. Pasteur seems to have been aware of this and that is why Pouchet’s Pyrenean experiments caused him considerable anxiety.