[McIntyre] achieves his goal of laying out what makes science distinct from other intellectual pursuits in this accessible analysis…. At a time of concern over assaults to scientific authority, McIntyre’s intelligent treatise articulates why the pursuit of scientific truths, even if inevitably flawed and subject to human error, matters.
There are many misunderstandings about science, even among scientists. In this “post-truth” world, we must be able not only to explain why claims based on scientific evidence have a superior claim to believability but also to persuade the public to accept them over competing claims that are not based on empirical evidence but are based only on ideology or wishful thinking. Lee McIntyre, a philosopher of science, has spent his entire career grappling with this problem, and in his new book The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience he tries to explain what science is by examining what it is not…A worthy project.
—Science Based Medicine—
Perhaps society would benefit from a better understanding of how research is conducted and results are interpreted because if the goal is to ‘defend science from denial, fraud, and pseudoscience’ you must be able to engage all audiences in the discussion. For this reason, works like The Scientific Attitude are important…. McIntyre does remind us of the good that can come from approaching science with the noble attitude that has advanced modern medicine from guesswork and intuition to the evidence-based practice it is today.
McIntyre argues, what distinguishes science from both pseudo-science and “not-science” (within which he includes art and literature) is its attitude; that is, its sceptical respect for evidence as opposed to mere anecdote, belief or opinion, and its willingness to change its mind when confronted with new data.
McIntyre makes an interesting and even convincing case for attitude rather than method as the descriptor of what successful science really is.