"Congratulations to Steve Fuller!
After this book, the public's understanding of science (and the scientists' too) will never be the same again.
He shows how much of our "common sense" of science is conditioned or created, both by its implicit cultural context and its carefully cultivated legends.
He combines philosophical acuity, sociological insight and historical depth, and then tells his story in a sparkling prose.
He is irreverent without being irresponsible, and committed without being tendentious.
Like any other ageing institution, science must learn to become self-aware if it is to adapt and survive; and so Steve Fuller is actually science's best friend."
Jerry Ravetz (author of Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems)
What qualifies such seemingly disparate disciplines as paleontology, high-energy physics, industrial chemistry and genetic engineering as "sciences", and hence worthy of sustained public interest and support?
In this innovative and controversial introduction to the social character of scientific knowledge, Steve Fuller argues that if these disciplines share anything at all, it is more likely to be the way they strategically misinterpret their own history than any privileged access to the nature of reality.
The book features a report written in the persona of a Martian anthropologist who systematically compares religious and scientific institutions on earth, only to find that science does not necessarily live up to its own ideals of rationality.
In addition, Fuller highlights science's multicultural nature through a discussion of episodes in which the West's own understanding of science has been decisively affected by its encounters with Islam and Japan.
An important theme of the book is that science's most attractive feature - its openness to criticism - is threatened by the role it increasingly plays in the maintenance of social and economic order.