Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Kicking the Sacred Cow Hardcover – July 6, 2004
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
"Kicking the Sacred Cow" was, for me, a return to those early novels. Others have commented on the specifics of this book - the various areas he questions - so I'll limit my comments to what I felt about Hogan's outlooks, why I enjoyed reading about them, and why I feel you will, too.
One of the pillars of the scientific method is that theories must be subject to some form or proof, and that proofs must be verifiable to any person using appropriate methods of verification. Laws of nature are conclusions drawn from, or hypotheses confirmed by scientific experiments; they describe rather than explain. A law describes a natural phenomenon that has been proven to occur invariably whenever certain conditions are met.
A theory is an explanation supported by many tests and accepted by a general consensus of scientists. It may not be subject to the type of testing a law requires. Thus, the theory of relativity and the theory of evolution cannot yet be called laws. But, they represent the best thinking of scientists trying to describe the universe in objective terms.
Aha! Scientists, like the rest of us, often have trouble remaining objective. There are cliques, in-fights, jealousies, and other emotions between scientists and scientific groups just as there among non-scientists. Perhaps because it is so conservative, science often clings to theories long after they have grown long in tooth, and new advances are accepted only after the old school dies off.
In "Kicking the Sacred Cow" Hogan looks at several widely accepted scientific truths - at least as the current establishment sees them. He offers alternatives, some of which, frankly, I'd expect to see in supermarket tabloids.
But, he does so reasonably, rationally, and in a non-argumentative manner.
It is mind-expanding, not because all the theories for which he offers alternatives are incorrect, but because he is pointing out that there may be other explanations that produce the same scientific outcome as currently accepted theories.
I don't know that Hogan convinced me to change any of my ideas (which are normally scientifically orthodox). Knowledge has long passed my poor ability to encompass, so I must rely on what the best scientific opinion is in my understanding of the universe in which I live.
But now I wonder... Perhaps I am accepting orthodoxy too readily. "Think," Hogan seems to be saying. "Think, don't just believe."
TV, movies, novels, music - they all tell me not to think, but to just accept. What a radical idea Hogan has presented: We should not take the concensus as the truth, but just as the starting point for it.
If you read this book carefully, and you're conversant with current scientific thought in the areas Hogan addresses, you will have great difficulty closing the book after the final chapter and finding your outlook on the sciences unchanged.
Good for Hogan. Whether you agree with him or find his arguments absurd, you will at least think about your understanding of the universe we all live in.
Any book that can make a person stop, think, and possibly re-evaluate scientific thought is good, in my opinion. Yours may differ, but we won't differ on the fact that this is a genuine thought-provoking work.
Hogan's writings in this book question the above view of much of modern science to an astounding degree. Far from constituting a community of skeptics in the relentless pursuit of scientific truth, author Hogan thoroughly documents numerous instances in which the scientific community is highly politicized in favor of certain conventional theories, and scientific data is selectively, and perhaps dishonestly, applied in order to support these theories. In numerous instances leading scientists appear to have established a vested interest by way of reputations and prestige in certain theories. Documented instances exist in which those scientists who question this orthodoxy have been treated not with constructive analysis, but by political and financial suppression and professional demotion and exclusion. This is not how science is supposed to work, but Mr. Hogan does an excellent job of showing the reader that the scientific community in many instances has behaved not as a body engaged in the selfless pursuit of knowledge, but as a self-interested and politicized group much like any other human endeavor, riven with factions and controlled by, of course, whoever controls the purse strings and research grants. Not surprisingly, often the government is involved in the suppression of unorthodox scientists by preventing such scientists from obtaining funding, or sometimes even the right to publish their theories or participate in scientific conferences and seminars.
Hogan provides many examples of the scientific community's rejection and suppression of dissenting points of view. To name a few:
AIDS Research. As everyone knows, the dominant theory regarding the cause of AIDS is that the disease is caused by a highly contagious virus, that is usually sexually transmitted. Thus AIDS is a viral disease much as Polio is also caused by a virus. The only problem is, upon examination the "evidence" that the so-called HIV organism causes AIDS is extremely questionable. In fact the foregoing conventional theory is not supported by Koch's Theorem or the other usual tools that scientists use to determine whether a given microbe causes a specific disease. Mr. Hogan shows us that AIDS prevalence statistics have been hopelessly hyped to an extent that bears no resemblance to reality. Data has been selectively applied to fit the theory, rather than the other way around as we are taught that science is supposed to do things. More than twenty years, countless billions of dollars and many lives later, we are no closer to a cure or vaccine against AIDS than we were in 1985 when the conventional theory of AIDS was unveiled. It seems certain that the problem is that all of the research dollars are being spent to attack a virus (HIV) which does not cause AIDS or any disease. Scientists of the highest integrity such as Dr. Peter Duesberg who have questioned AIDS scientific orthodoxy (and presented simpler, and more elegant explanations of what is happening that actually fits the observed data) have been vilified, suppressed, and denied funding in a manner reminiscent of the way that society treated Galileo. Far from welcoming newer, and perhaps better, theories, the scientific establishment has largely closed ranks against anyone who might upset the AIDS applecart. After all, billions of dollars in AZT and other drug sales, research grants upon which scientists' livelihoods depend, and lots of other goodies are dependent upon maintaining the status quo. "The Science is settled" the public is told. One thing Mr. Hogan teaches in this book is that whenever the media tells us this, that the public should beware.
The ban against DDT is another sad chapter in science, according to Mr. Hogan. We have all been taught that DDT was the cause of horrific harm to eagles, birds in general, and other beloved species. This resulted in a worldwide ban on what in reality is probably one of the most valuable and ecologically neutral substances ever discovered. Mr. Hogan makes a convincing case that the science behind the ban on DDT was flatly unsound. The result has been perhaps hundreds of millions of deaths caused by maleria in Africa and other places with limited worldwide political clout due to lobbying efforts by powerful and politicized groups against DDT. Scientists who have tried to speak out against this dysfunction in the political system have been suppressed. A familiar story.
Global Warming. Every educated person would do well to read Mr. Hogan's analysis of the global warming controversy. Here we again see a tight group of scientists, media, and politicians selectively applying some facts, rejecting others, in favor of one theory concerning the climate which theory remains completely unproven. Hogan shows us that in particular the global warming (or "climate change") hype is based on the careful exclusion of important data so that data can be selectively applied to support the desired result, i.e. that bigger government, more regulation over ordinary people, and higher taxes are necessary to fight "climate change." Read the book. Mr. Hogan is persuasive.
I do not buy all of the theories that Mr. Hogan seems to support. I do not know enough about the science to be able follow some of the arguments that Mr. Hogan presents. (For example, the startling theories of Immanual Velokovsky seem to me to be perhaps too incredible to be true, but I am no astrophysicist.) But I know a persuasive presentation of a case when I see one. The author cites a regrettable array of instances in which established scientists denounce theories that they admit that they have not even read or examined. Mr. Hogan makes an excellent case that the scientific establishment is not merely a selfless group of hard-headed skeptics engaged in the relentless search for truth. To the contrary, he shows us that depressingly often the scientific establishment acts like any other special interest group and is often swayed by money, politicization, and the other lures of modern society. Hogan is particularly persuasive on the AIDS and climate change controversies, but there is a lot more than those theories discussed in this excellent book. The theory of evolution, the light-speed limit and relativity, and many other accepted theories are questioned in a wide-ranging presentation of alternative theories derived from the work of competent scientists (whether they turn out to be right or not), but rejected by the present orthodoxy.
It has been said that all true science quickly becomes engineering, because engineering has to actually work to be successful. All else is just speculation. Mr. Hogan does a good job of promoting this useful perspective in this excellent book. He will make the thoughtful reader question what we actually "know" about the universe, and frankly, one wonders what scientific thought will be like in a few hundred years.
What's great about the way Hogan presents these alternate theories is that he never says they are "correct", or even more likely "correct", only that they account for observed evidence.
Most recent customer reviews
I was hoping--hoping!Read more