What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Updated 23 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? 

Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? 

In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength — and the greatest reason we can trust it, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late 19th century to today, Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. 

Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect, but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.


What We Are Reading Today: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History by David D. Hall

Updated 21 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History by David D. Hall

This book is a sweeping transatlantic history of Puritanism from its emergence out of the religious tumult of Elizabethan England to its founding role in the story of America. 

Shedding critical new light on the diverse forms of Puritan belief and practice in England, Scotland, and New England, David Hall provides a multifaceted account of a cultural movement that judged the Protestant reforms of Elizabeth’s reign to be unfinished. Hall’s vivid and wide-ranging narrative describes the movement’s deeply ambiguous triumph under Oliver Cromwell, its political demise with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, and its perilous migration across the Atlantic to establish a “perfect reformation” in the New World.

A breathtaking work of scholarship by an eminent historian, The Puritans examines the tribulations and doctrinal dilemmas that led to the fragmentation and eventual decline of Puritanism. It presents a compelling portrait of a religious and political movement that was divided virtually from the start.

In England, some wanted to dismantle the Church of England entirely and others were more cautious, while Puritans in Scotland were divided between those willing to work with a troublesome king and others insisting on the independence of the state church.