Science & Education

, Volume 27, Issue 3–4, pp 379–382 | Cite as

Sacred Cows Exposed

Douglas, Allchin (2017) Sacred Bovines: The Ironies of Misplaced Assumptions in Biology. Oxford University Press, New York, ISBN: 978-0-19-049036-2, 244 pages, price: $34.95. (hardback)
  • Sherrie Lyons
Book Review

Sacred Bovines is a wonderful collection of essays, most of which have been adapted from a column that Allchin has been writing over the years for The American Biology Teacher.He is a philosopher of science and has for many years been using historical case studies and investigating error in science. In doing so, he has shown that scientific errors can provide great insight into the process of science. As any science historian will agree, most of what was considered “true” at a particular moment in history was eventually shown to be wrong, but this is not a criticism of science or scientists. Rather, recognizing this invites us to examine critically scientific methodology and to look at the factors that influence how something becomes accepted as “fact.” There are many sources of errors since scientific knowledge is produced by humans and as the popular proverb says and Allchin quotes “to err is human” (p.1). While a variety of kinds of errors are highlighted in specific essays, the...


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The author declares no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SMT Empire State CollegeSUNYSaratoga SpringsUSA

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