Double Helixes and Double Crosses (was: Favorite NON-fiction)

Claire Rojstaczer ambyrglow at softhome.net
Tue Jan 28 08:33:03 PST 2003

>I think that a case could be made that more effort should be put 
>into History of Science courses, and that such courses should 
>emphasize that no discovery or idea stands in isolation but that the 
>process of science is both cumulative and, in general, adversarial. 
>There is a great deal of drama in the sciences and I think that, if 
>nothing else, such courses would go a long way towards dispelling 
>the myth that science is a dry, emotionless field where individual 
>geniuses make all the contributions worth noting.

I think that a case can be made that a great deal of effort is put 
into History of Science courses, and that they do indeed do all that 
you're asking and more at most institutions with a good science 
studies department.  The difficulty lies in  the fact that few 
scientists are inclined or required to study the history, philosophy, 
or other aspects of their discipline from the outside.  It seems 
unfortunate to me, squinting over my course catalogue, that while you 
can't get a major in studio art without taking several art history 
classes, you can get a major in any of the sciences, natural or 
social, and never have to take a history class about your field. 
It's simply not seen as essential to understanding -- because science 
is supposedly the Truth, and not at all influenced by people or 

And if you want a great lie in science. . .how about the scientific 
method as taught in grade school?