The purpose of this chapter is to present to the nonscientist the critical information needed to understand microbiology so that it does not seem to be such a “black art.” The black art aspect of science is often confused with fanciful stories that some science promoters tell about what science can do. * Scientists are humans too and enjoy a good story — but we must be critical of anecdotes. Most anecdotes are little more than collections of factoids of questionable provenance that masquerade as science. Although individual scientists make such mistakes, the collective process of science usually corrects them over time as a result of skepticism and critical thinking.