"As these lines are written, a media celebrity talks about our superhuman nature with a kinesiologist on a popular radio channel, where, in the morning programme well-known economists and stock market experts analyse economic processes. A bit of rational choice theory at dawn and esotericism in the evening - the very same radio channel broadcasts multiple truths. Are these compatible? This question may seem too abstract, since not all of us are stockholders, and many don't even know
what kinesiology is. However, our personal lives confront us with numerous situations where we have to make decisions concerning experts and knowledge-claims, and these decisions often influence our fate and future, and the futures of the people we love. We expect specific answers to specific questions. Which treatment should I pick for an illness? What kind of economic policiy should I support with my vote? Shall I buy Pi-water, cell phone radiation shields, magnetic mattresses, coenzyme pills or antibiotics? Shall I buy these all? Or none of them? Surely, after all these questions, I'll have to buy some painkillers for my headache."
The book starts out with the problem of science versus pseudoscience, both in the light of relevant theoretical traditions and in the framework of an everyday life practical perspective. The disciplinary treatment of the problem from the light of sociology, philosophy, and history of science is followed by five case studies - on the Intelligent-Design debate, on parapsychology, on Western astrology, on acupuncture research, and on popular pseudo-histories. The final chapters re-thematize the problem and target questions concerning the public understanding of science, expert-dependent decision processes, argumentation theory, and contemporary science studies. The targeted audience is wide, ranging from science 'professionals' (univesity teachers and students, researchers) to the 'lay' people trying to understand the social and public role of science in our world.