Education: Is v. Ought

To wispy-haired Anthony Standen, 43, the world is divided into two groups—"scientists, who practice the art of infallibility, and nonscientists, sometimes contemptuously called laymen . . ." By any standard, Anthony Standen is no layman.

After taking a "first" in chemistry at Oxford, he crossed to the U.S., studied chemical engineering at M.I.T., taught at St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., is now editing a chemical encyclopedia at Brooklyn's Polytechnic Institute. After two decades in the business, Chemist

Standen has decided that scientists are overbearing, overpraised, and overindulged. In a sweeping and savage...