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January 6, 1962

Error and Deception in Science: Essays on Biological Aspects of Life

JAMA. 1962;179(1):102. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050010104030

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Abstract

Those who are not hostile to criticism and are not bewildered by a dour and pessimistic view of the actual accomplishments of science, as compared to its great promise, should get a great deal of pleasure from this series of brilliant critiques and frontal attacks on the complacency which often envelops men who fix their attention so doggedly on minutiae that they lose contact with the real world in which they move. Jean Rostand, the son of the French poet who gave us Cyrano de Bergerac, has achieved distinction as a scientist working in the field of experimental biology.

Certain biological aspects of the melancholy longevity of error are explored under the title, The Natural History of Error. Perhaps the most delicious morsel in Rostand's rich banquet of confusion, chaos, and mistakes in science, often propagated unwittingly by true scientists, and even more often perverted by quacks, mystics, and fanatics

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