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Why I Am Not a Scientist: Anthropology and Modern Knowledge Paperback – June 23, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0520259607 ISBN-10: 0520259602 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520259602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520259607
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lively and forcefully written book.”
(Journal Royal Anthro Inst 2011-06-06)

“This book is well written, interesting, and establishes the broad context of knowledge.”
(R. Paul Thompson Qtly Review Of Biology 2011-06-20)

From the Inside Flap

"Highly readable and informative, this critical series of vignettes illustrates a long history of the corruption of science by folk beliefs, careerism, and sociopolitical agendas. Marks repeatedly brings home the message that we should challenge scientists, especially molecular geneticists, before we accept their results and give millions of dollars in public and private funds toward their enterprises."—Russell Tuttle, The University of Chicago

“Jonathan Marks has produced a personal and compelling story of how science works. His involvement in scientific endeavor in human biology and evolution over the past three decades and his keen sense of the workings of science make this book a must read for both scientists and lay readers. In this sense, the lay reader will learn how scientists should and shouldn't think and some scientists who read this book will come away thinking they are truly not scientists nor would they want to be.”—Rob DeSalle, American Museum of Natural History

“Jonathan Marks's Why I Am Not a Scientist provides food for thought, and as expected, it's digestible. In unusually broad perspective, this anthropology of knowledge considers science and race and racism, gender, fraud, misconduct and creationism in a way that makes one proud to be called a scientist.”—George J. Armelagos, Emory University

More About the Author

Jonathan Marks is Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has taught since the beginning of the present millennium, after stretches at Yale and Berkeley. He is the author of "What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee" (2002) and "Why I Am Not a Scientist" (2009), both published by the University of California Press. Paradoxically, however, he is about 98% scientist, and not a chimpanzee.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
There's a lot of misdirection and slippery declarations in this nonetheless interesting book by a member of the American establishment in anthropology. Prof. Marks's title is disingenuous since he clearly is a scientist and admits as much. And his problem with science isn't so much science per se as it is with Big Science, the kind of science that gets funded by Big Government. Additionally part of his displeasure with the scientific state of affairs is really with sciences that are not, as his science is, social sciences. In a sense Marks sounds like a guy feeling slighted because of the long standing perception that the social sciences are not "real" sciences, that instead only the so-called "hard" sciences like physics and chemistry are real sciences.

This widespread perception which came about because of the great success that physics and chemistry has had beginning as far back as Newton has resulted in a backlash known imprecisely as postmodernism. Marks is in part a spokesperson for postmodernism and in particular for the view that science is a social construction, that scientists are so thoroughly immersed in their milieu that they are incapable (like everyone else) of being objective in their world view or even in their science.

A key idea that underlies much of the text is the notion of progress. In biology progress is considered an anthropomorphic illusion that would divert us from a true understanding of evolution. Humans are not more advanced evolutionarily speaking than ants. There is no "progress" in evolution. But in science generally speaking the idea of progress is closely tied to gaining knowledge and the ability to better manipulate the environment to our advantage.

The unstated assumption behind Prof.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles C. Prichard on May 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a scientist I have often wondered how scientists can say things with so much self-assurance and a straight face. The fact is we know nothing about almost everything. We come to the world with our limited senses and our brains which have been designed to filter out that which doesn't fit. Poor tools for probing truth. Almost everything that any scientist ever says later turns out to be partially or fully wrong.

That doesn't stop scientists from a level of self-assurance that would be comical if it were not so important to all of us.

This book points out how and why that happens.

BTW - the author is most assuredly a scientist and applies science to studying why scientists are the way they are.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fine book and it is well worth reading. Marks lays out an interesting and compelling description of science as a practice. His description of science is very far removed from the high minded descriptions of science one finds in so many other settings. Marks has surrendered all of the habitual deference for science which animates our ethos. He has offered a treatment of the social role of science which is worthy of a careful reading. The book is, in addition, well written and a fun and easy easy.

Enjoy!
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By Paula Clarke on July 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived on time and as promised. Thank you;.
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