Biased Science : ISBN 978-1-6782-0232-3 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0233-0
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2022
An examination of scientific research that has been tainted by explicit or implicit bias.
The book details the now well-documented Tuskegee Institute syphilis study, whose Black subjects were never informed of or offered effective treatments or warned that they were contagious, and the thorny ethical quandary posed by the way cancerous tissue samples from Henrietta Lacks (also Black) have been instrumental in the development of numerous medical advances without the consent of her or her family. The author cites studies pointing to systemic racial bias in the practice of medicine. Currie argues that, as with these examples, sexism is likewise common by pointing to technological examples—e.g., the sizing of space suits and treadmills’ calculations of calories burned—that, like certain drugs and algorithms used to make medical diagnoses and facial recognition software, were designed for or tested largely on White men. He goes on to highlight examples of scientific research later proven to be falsified or heavily influenced by financial interests, such as with the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and the supposed link between vaccines and autism. The disquieting number of research studies in general that are turning out to be unreproducible is not covered. This concise, accessible overview features text broken up with stock photos and helpful and interesting sidebars.
A utilitarian but cogent reminder that truly impartial science remains a work in progress. (photo credits, source notes, further research, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)