Reviewer Denise Greene: Denise is a freelance writer/editor with her own agency, Artio Media & Information. Her background is in print publishing and teaching. She has a flare for the spiritual, paranormal, religion (esp. religious history), magical realism, literary and speculative. She lives in the Siskiyou Mountains of Northern California with her partner and her kitten, Bosquette.
Author: Fourat JanabiISBN-10: 1484986512
Author: Fourat JanabiISBN-10: 1484986512
If you want to read a book with random “insights” on random topics, with randomly selected sources by a guy with random credentials that have nothing to do with the subject matter, this is your book. However, if you are looking for well-developed assertions backed up with solid logic, you can pass this one by.
The premise of the book is stated in the introduction: “This book will help you navigate your way through some of the more popular pseudoscientific fads of today, as well as showing you good science, or, to say it another way, what we can be confident in and why.” Fournat Janabi divides his topics into those which are “Bad Science” and those which are “Good Science.”
However, he is neither a scientist nor a philosopher, and his dialectics are poor. He uses fallacial reasoning, and he commits the very same “irrational errors” which he labels as “bad science” in others.
Janabi says science to should be left to the scientists, yet he is not a scientist. He quotes Scott Clifton (who’s Scott Clifton anyway?) as saying, “You need a PHD for this shit and if you have no education, formal or otherwise, in a given area of science, you do not have the right to expect to be taken seriously when you try to take it on, it’s as simple as that.” Touché.
He says that scientific truth is gained only by experimentation and consensus, yet, as part of his detraction both from Organics (anti-GMO sentiment) and Homeopathy, he cites a single study in each case, as if only one exists.
He backs up his assertions with lots of quotes, several of which are taken out of context or can be construed other than he intends, and some are simply irrelevant or of dubious authority and/or source.
I could go chapter by chapter pointing out all the inconsistencies and twisted logic, but I’ll just use one example: his “Bad Science” chapter on Homeopathy.
He points out again and again in his book that scientific theories are never “wrong,” simply incomplete, and that future understandings of those theories may render them less incomplete. (I like that.) Yet he doesn’t appear to apply this to the medical theory of homeopathy. His final assertion on the subject is: “For homeopathy to be true, everything we know about physics, chemistry, and biology must be shown to be false,” [my emphases]. To be in consonance with all the “good science” assertions he makes throughout his book, the more correct phrasing would seem to be: “For homeopathy to be valid, everything we currently understand about physics, chemistry, and biology must be shown to be incomplete.” In fact, looking at it that way, would any science be considered “bad science” or simply incomplete?
He backs up his critique of homeopathy with mathematical computations; however the computations are only relevant to a common misunderstanding of homeopathy.
He cites a single study to attempt to show how homeopathy cannot be valid.
The homeopathy detractors he quotes are Oliver Wendell Holmes, a 19th century physician, and Dr. Ben Goldacre, an author who damns both homeopathy and modern pharmaceuticals alike.
I actually agreed with some of the things Janabi said throughout his book. But they were things I had already researched for myself. The things I disagreed with, his poor arguments did nothing to persuade me otherwise. The one thing he discussed that I’m on the fence about, I will continue to research for myself because his argument, while it contained some interesting assertions, was so flawed that his “proof texts” meant nothing. Janabi attempts to portray himself as a rational, open-minded individual, but what he really is trying to say is, “I was wrong once; now I’m not and here’s why.”
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