This book is a welcome antidote to the blind use of supposedly quantitative models.(Carl Wunsch American Scientist 1900-01-00)
This is an easy and persuasive read.(Fred Pearce New Scientist)
Useless Arithmetic dispels many myths and is a 'must read' packing in case studies and insights on faulty thinking.(The Midwest Book Review)
[This] readily accessible book should be read by any activist who's ever had to face off against the opposition's engineers.(Earth Island Journal 1900-01-00)
A concise, powerful, and readable book.(Steven R. Carpenter Issues in Science and Technology)
This book should be in every library... Essential.(Choice 1900-01-00)
Useless Arithmetic will surely excite any reader.(David Simberloff BioScience)
Using concrete examples, the authors of Useless Arithmetic cut through the scientific jargon to show how and why many aspects of the environment are under threat because of the slavish adherence to misleading mathematical models by their technical and political advocates.(Victor R. Baker, University of Arizona)|
In a complex, imperfect world quantitative models feed the delusion that society can predict its way out of its environmental dilemmas. The corrosive result is that politics and science have become inextricably interwoven to the considerable detriment of both. This engaging, wise, and far-reaching book diagnoses the causes and costs of our quantitative hubris, and in so doing points the difficult way toward a more productive relationship among science, democracy, and the vexing challenges of environmental stewardship.(Daniel Sarewitz, director, Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, Arizona State University)|
Useless Arithmetic is an important book for those of us who believe that environmental science and policy should be self-correcting on the basis of experience. Written for lay persons, it draws attention to a broad range of sobering experiences typically ignored in the over-promotion of quantitative models for predictive purposes.(Ron Brunner, Center for Public Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder)|
Orrin H. Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis argue that many models are worse than useless, providing a false sense of security and an unwarranted confidence in our scientific expertise. Regardless of how one responds to their views, they can't be ignored. A must-read for anyone seriously interested in the role of models in contemporary science and policy.(Naomi Oreskes, professor, Department of History, University of California, San Diego)
Please do not read this book if you're interested in modeling, but don't know much about it.
I think critiques of modelling are useful and instructive, whether or not you believe in the approach or not (though few scientists believe it is really useless).
This book, simply and clearly written, outlines the case for good science and proper use of mathematical models.
As many reviewers have said, this book gives an excellent account of some deeply flawed modeling practice. Read morePublished on November 26, 2010 by Aaron C. Brown
The key points regarding this book have been well summarized by previous reviewers. The star ratings are somewhat deceptive. Read morePublished on October 10, 2009 by Bookworm
The authors of this book do not provide useful criticisms of environmental modeling and only highlight their own ignorance. Read morePublished on April 22, 2009 by C. Merow
I am a modeler. I was happy to hear one of mentors, Charlie Hall, mentioned in another review here. Read morePublished on March 6, 2009 by Seth J. Myers
"Usless Arithmetic" was, both, good and bad. The authors seem to know the subjects upon which they are writing. Read morePublished on January 9, 2009 by Norman Strojny
The Pilkey's have given a thoughtful and thorough review of how mathematical models can be used improperly. Read morePublished on November 30, 2008 by J. Cunning
I share an office with a fisheries modeller who I tease constantly about fudge factors etc. My experience with models has been exactly what is so well put together in this book. Read morePublished on October 31, 2008 by Wendy Barron
A repetitive and droning treatment on the topic of the over-reliance of the scientific community on computational models. Read morePublished on March 27, 2008 by A. Neal
This book claims that environmental scientists can't predict
the future, and it offers to tell us why they can't. Read more