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Honesty Is the Best Policy

False Prophets: Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine. Alexander Kohn. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1987. 240 pp., illus. $24.95. It cannot be said that False Prophets created false expectations. The subtitle on the dustjacket is "Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine." The principal jacket illustration is Thomas Wycks' painting of an alchemist in his laboratory amidst a hodgepodge of pots, flasks, books, apparatus and the trappings of arcane inquiry. The back cover carries a photo of a black

Patricia Woolf
False Prophets: Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine. Alexander Kohn. Basil Blackwell, New York, 1987. 240 pp., illus. $24.95.


It cannot be said that False Prophets created false expectations. The subtitle on the dustjacket is "Fraud and Error in Science and Medicine." The principal jacket illustration is Thomas Wycks' painting of an alchemist in his laboratory amidst a hodgepodge of pots, flasks, books, apparatus and the trappings of arcane inquiry. The back cover carries a photo of a black mouse with a white patch posed against a laboratory coat and the caption "Summerlin's mouse". One of the intriguing cases discussed in this book." But the mouse on the cover is a black mouse with a white spot, not the white mouse onto which Summerlin inked a black spot. In short, an "error" mouse and not the "fraud" mouse.

That confusion is closer to what the book conveys than its...

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