This lively and provocative book casts an anthropological eye on the field of science in a wide-ranging and innovative discussion that integrates philosophy, history, sociology, and auto-ethnography. Jonathan Marks examines biological anthropology, the history of the life sciences, and the literature of science studies while upending common understandings of science and culture with a mixture of anthropology, common sense, and disarming humor. Science, Marks argues, is widely accepted to be three things: a method of understanding and a means of establishing facts about the universe, the facts themselves, and a voice of authority or a locus of cultural power. This triple identity creates conflicting roles and tensions within the field of science and leads to its record of instructive successes and failures. Among the topics Marks addresses are the scientific revolution, science as thought and performance, creationism, scientific fraud, and modern scientific racism. Applying his considerable insight, energy, and wit, Marks sheds new light on the evolution of science, its role in modern culture, and its challenges for the twenty-first century.
1. Science as a Culture and as a “Side”
2. The Scientific Revolution
3. Normative Science
4. Science as Practice
5. The Problem of Creationism
6. Bogus Science
7. Scientific Misconduct
8. The Rise and Fall of Colonial Science
9. Racial and Gendered Science
Jonathan Marks is Professor of Anthropology at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the author of What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and their Genes.
"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