I finished reading this non-fiction book today via Kindle on my tablet; it is a very readable exploration of things that science both can and cannot prove or disprove, and I very much enjoyed reading this book.
After a Prologue, we move to the thirteen chapters: 1. The Missing Universe: We can only account for 4 percent of the cosmos; 2. The Pioneer Anomaly: Two spacecraft are flouting the laws of physics; 3. Varying Constants: Destabilizing our view of the universe; 4. Cold Fusion: Nuclear energy without the drama; 5 Life: Are you more than just a bag of chemicals?; 6. Viking NASA: scientists found evidence for life on Mars. Then they changed their minds.; 7. The WOW! Signal: Has ET already been in touch?; 8. A Giant Virus: It’s a freak that could rewrite the story of life; 9. Death: Evolution’s problem with self-destruction; 10. Sex: There are better ways to reproduce; 11. Free Will: Your decisions are not your own; 12. The Placebo Effect: Who’s being deceived?; and 13. Homeopathy; It’s patently absurd, so why won’t it go away?
Essentially, the book shows that science is by no means an unbroken path to ultimate knowledge. It is a discipline that is affected by bias (conscious and unconscious), by politics, by preconceived notions by individuals, the discipline as a whole, and the world at large, and the fact that a given fact, even if correct in itself (by no means a given) can fit into wildly varying theories. What may be needed in science is a Paradigm Shift: not reworked theories, but startlingly new theories that eventually become part of What Everyone Knows.
The author’s Epilogue notes that it is quite possible that in many areas (not confined to the thirteen anomalies explored in the book), what will advance science is scientists of the future, but of course they may end up either visionary or hidebound as well.
I very much enjoyed reading this book, and recommend it to those who love science.