Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science.

Goodreads review.

Rather good, to be honest, not flawless. Some really frustrating inconsistencies diminish the case the author builds, nevertheless he delivers a quality product. Very enjoyable anecdotes and the specific skeletons, once closeted, have room enough to dance along these pages. Be warned though, science is a nebulous concept in these pages, it does not always mean the method (predictability, records etc.) nor a community of individuals.

An example of failure is using the frequency of publication as a standard to defend Mr. Sagan, whilst later attacking that very standard as stifling progress. Also, a few pages prior mentioning his wide margin of error in a study, which is less predictive and so less valuable when scored with theĀ scientific method. Also on that, in the last chapter, mentioning a study of Mr. Sagan’s of which he himself is dubious. All this undermines a certain expectation of consistency, that a critic will have a superior alternative in mind (constructive criticism) as well as hurting trust that Mr. Sagan is more scientist than demagogue (I use the word aware of the negative connotations).

What I want to change though is simple. Put a bloody asterisk when there are notes in the rear pages. Those notes are extra chips in bag, so to speak, and had cooled, gone gross, when I turned the final page and found them there.


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