1996 Conjuring Science: Scientific Symbols and Cultural Meanings in American Life. Rutgers Univ. Press. SBN 0-8135-2284-6 (C); 0-8135-2285-4 (P).
Conjuring Science is an account of the cultural dynamics of the popular symbols of science in public scientific controversies. In five case studies (including fluoridation, cold fusion, creationism, and AIDS/HIV), the author explains how certain meanings and values, including scientific credentials, uncertainty, and elitism, are manipulated and deployed to make it seem that the institutional authority of science endorses one ideology or opposes another. The last chapter, “A Manual for Conjurers”, condenses the cultural dynamics of conjuring science in nine observations.
1994 God’s Own Scientists: Creationists in a Secular World. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2043-6 (C); 0-8135-2044-4 (P).
God’s Own Scientists shows us the American creationist movement from the inside in the 1980’s, when it called itself “scientific creationism”. Without endorsing or crediting creationist thought, Toumey’s ethnography humanizes the local activists of the creationist movement by explaining how and why conservative Christians earnestly aspire to be both deeply religious and respectably scientific at the same time. The author’s observations come from multiple sources of information: long-term attendance at a local creationist study group; interviews with creationist leaders and local activists; participation at church services; and other events. When God’s Own Scientists takes us into the creationist movement, we see that creationism is much more than simplistic Biblical literalism. It is a reflection of the plenary authority of science, so that almost everyone, including the creationists, want their most cherished values to be seen as scientifically legitimate.
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