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Monopolizing Knowledge Paperback – July 30, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fias Publishing (July 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983702306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983702306
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Hutchinson was born in England and educated at Cambridge University. He obtained his doctorate and his charming wife, Fran, from the Australian National University. He is Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, where his research group explores the confinement of plasmas hotter than the sun's center, aimed at producing practical energy from nuclear fusion reactions, the energy source of the stars. Ian has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His new book "Monopolizing Knowledge" explores how the error of scientism feeds today's culture wars.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(Ian Hutchinson, Monopolizing Knowledge, 2011)

This is a book with many profound insights that should be read by anyone who is interested in understanding how we come to regard things as "scientific facts".

Dr. Hutchinson argues against scientism: the popular belief that the only kind of knowledge is science. Scientism leads to everyone scrambling to have what they do classified as "science", and to rejecting other kinds of knowledge. This, in turn, leads critics of this overly inclusive view of science to reject all of it, including traditional science.

Professor Hutchinson lists what he thinks are the characteristic properties of traditional science: clarity and repeatability. He distinguishes different kinds of science, such as astronomy, which he classifies as an "observational "science. It is different from physics - but still having clarity and repeatability. He rules out sociology and political science because of the lack of repeatability.

I think that Professor Hutchinson's discussion of evolution is one of the best. He makes a distinction between natural law and natural history. Natural law includes physics. Natural history includes evolution - it is historically oriented and relies on different standards of validation than natural law. For example, observations in physics necessarily follow from the theory. In the case of evolution, observations that are plausible are offered as evidence. Dr. Hutchinson notes that the controversy surrounding evolution is partly the result of its insistence on being called a science (i.e. natural law), in the same meaning of the word as physics. If we were to accept that there are kinds of valid knowledge other than science, such as natural history, then the controversy could be defused.
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By Sunshine on September 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Here is a book that is a must-read for culture-leaders; I found it very insightful. This MIT scientist author has put his finger right on the mark of where we as a society have gone wrong in terms of understanding the power and boundaries of science. As a scientist myself, I love science as a wonderful tool for studying the natural world. But by elevating science to be the final arbiter of all ideas and concepts and even history, some part of society have let science become 'scientism', a kind of religion of its own, and a distortion of true science. Hutchinson points out that scientific facts and truths are extremely important -- he lives them out in his own research -- but there are indeed other kinds of truths and facts: historical facts, religious truths, morality, etc. The erroneous view of science as as the ONLY source of truth that will somehow explain everything is harmful to true science and also to society as a whole and the way we understand truth and values.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a well-written overview of the history and philosophy of science, with a view to explaining its proper role in education and society today. Thoroughly researched and grounded in other writings on the subject, Dr. Hutchinson displays an excellent understanding of the topics involved. Furthermore, he maintains a clear focus on his central premise regarding the ill-effects of 'scientism' throughout, and does not stray into tangential discussions or debates. The tone of the book is quite pleasant as well, avoiding much of the more bitter arguments surrounding these topics. I highly recommend this book for all scientists and for anyone else interested in the intersection of science and other domains of knowledge.
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