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Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating—and significant—missteps:
— from opium’s heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.;
— from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and
— from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria.
These are today’s sins of science—as deplorable as mistaken ideas from the past such as advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today’s most controversial creations—e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD—as case studies.