Nonscience Returns

Nonscience Returns

Brian. J. Ford
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
Experts, eh? The world is ruled by them, they are prevalent in every form of media. An earthquake in Patagonia? Yep, a talking head will be there on 'Good Morning' describing - in 4 minutes or less - how it happened, what the end result will be and why the present government of Britain is responsible. We have all seen it, and what's more, we have all groaned when the presenter of whatever disaster or, in recent years, military action, introduces the retired military expert. Usually someone whose "expertise" was gained in the Camel Corps when the order to form squares was fashionable.
And, to be much more current, Covid19. One can hardly turn on a television or read a newspaper without an "expert" giving their views ( which normally consist of calling the leader of the government a clown and calling for his/her resignation).

We no longer appear to have scientists as such. It used to be, in the dim and distant past, a highly qualified academic who would be asked questions by an interviewer, and would respond haltingly and with great diffidence. Now we have eloquent and erudite experts in the one subject, who can enable we poor laymen to understand in simple terms how it is all our fault.

This book explains why this is now the norm; why "experts" are able to influence us so much by the use of their language and exploitation and manipulation of the media. Do not misunderstand, it is not a rant on conspiracy theories, but rather a measured look at how language and use of words can alter or confuse when used by those who see

The title, 'Nonscience' is an obvious play on words yet is terribly accurate. So much of what we are fed today is non-science, but presented in such a way that it would be almost sacrilegious to disregard it.

What makes it all a bit more worrying is that this book was originally published in 1971, and that there was a television programme on it. The predictions made at the time were more accurate - and infinitely more easily read - than those of Nostradamus! And unlike his works, there are updated sections to show how accurate or otherwise the author was.

Prof. Brian Ford is something of a polymath. He is a leading authority on viruses and bacteria; has demonstrated intelligence in microbes, edits encyclopaedias, and so much more. He even does stand-up comedy!

This is a difficult book to describe, other than to say that it is a fascinating, amusing, and brilliant book. This is another of those books that should be in everyone's collection, especially to be consulted when the television news comes on.

Very good indeed.

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