The War on Science

Author: Shawn Lawrence Otto
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
ISBN: 9781571319524
Release Date: 2016-06-07
Genre: Science

"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices. Shawn Otto’s compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.

Fool Me Twice

Author: Shawn Lawrence Otto
Publisher: Rodale Books
ISBN: 9781609613204
Release Date: 2011-10-11
Genre: Science

"Whenever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens in a world dominated by complex science? Are the people still well-enough informed to be trusted with their own government? And with less than 2 percent of Congress with any professional background in science, how can our government be trusted to lead us in the right direction? Will the media save us? Don't count on it. In early 2008, of the 2,975 questions asked the candidates for president just six mentioned the words "global warming" or "climate change," the greatest policy challenge facing America. To put that in perspective, three questions mentioned UFOs. Today the world's major unsolved challenges all revolve around science. By the 2012 election cycle, at a time when science is influencing every aspect of modern life, antiscience views from climate-change denial to creationism to vaccine refusal have become mainstream. Faced with the daunting challenges of an environment under siege, an exploding population, a falling economy and an education system slipping behind, our elected leaders are hard at work ... passing resolutions that say climate change is not real and astrology can control the weather. Shawn Lawrence Otto has written a behind-the-scenes look at how the government, our politics, and the media prevent us from finding the real solutions we need. Fool Me Twice is the clever, outraged, and frightening account of America's relationship with science—a relationship that is on the rocks at the very time we need it most.

Sins of Our Fathers

Author: Shawn Lawrence Otto
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
ISBN: 9781571319128
Release Date: 2014-10-20
Genre: Fiction

Set in the backwoods of Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, a gripping tale of power, loss, and the ultimate price of the American Dream A thriller from the Heartland, Sins of Our Fathers follows John White, aka J.W., who has just been caught stealing from his employer to support his gambling addiction. On the verge of losing everything, J.W. must choose between prison and his boss’s twisted plan: the sabotage of a competing, Native American banker named Johnny Eagle. But when J.W. moves onto the reservation to carry out this scheme, he forms an unexpected bond with Eagle's delinquent son, a relationship that gives him both the access to do Eagle in, and a reason not to proceed. A stunning debut from veteran screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto, Sins of Our Fathers "is a fine depiction of how all the best intentions can—and do—go very, very wrong." (Urban Waite).

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Author: Michael E. Mann
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231526388
Release Date: 2012-01-24
Genre: Science

The ongoing assault on climate science in the United States has never been more aggressive, more blatant, or more widely publicized than in the case of the Hockey Stick graph—a clear and compelling visual presentation of scientific data, put together by Michael E. Mann and his colleagues, demonstrating that global temperatures have risen in conjunction with the increase in industrialization and the use of fossil fuels. Here was an easy-to-understand graph that, in a glance, posed a threat to major corporate energy interests and those who do their political bidding. The stakes were simply too high to ignore the Hockey Stick—and so began a relentless attack on a body of science and on the investigators whose work formed its scientific basis. The Hockey Stick achieved prominence in a 2001 UN report on climate change and quickly became a central icon in the “climate wars.” The real issue has never been the graph’s data but rather its implied threat to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect the environment and planet. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He reveals key figures in the oil and energy industries and the media front groups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, sometimes bare-knuckled ways. Mann concludes with the real story of the 2009 “Climategate” scandal, in which climate scientists’ emails were hacked. This is essential reading for all who care about our planet’s health and our own well-being.

The Madhouse Effect

Author: Michael E. Mann
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231541817
Release Date: 2016-09-27
Genre: Science

The award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have been on the front lines of the fight against climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of billions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars. The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate. Toles's cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann's expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two climate science crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books—and may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science.

Paranoid Science

Author: Antony Alumkal
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479827138
Release Date: 2017-05-23
Genre: Religion

Explores the Christian Right’s fierce opposition to science, explaining how and why its leaders came to see scientific truths as their enemy For decades, the Christian Right’s high-profile clashes with science have made national headlines. From attempts to insert intelligent design creationism into public schools to climate change denial, efforts to “cure” gay people through conversion therapy, and opposition to stem cell research, the Christian Right has battled against science. How did this hostility begin and, more importantly, why has it endured? Antony Alumkal provides a comprehensive background on the war on science—how it developed and why it will continue to endure. Drawing upon Richard Hofstadter’s influential 1965 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Antony Alumkal argues that the Christian Right adopts a similar paranoid style in their approach to science. Alumkal demonstrates that Christian Right leaders see conspiracies within the scientific establishment, with scientists not only peddling fraudulent information, but actively concealing their true motives from the American public and threatening to destroy the moral foundation of society. By rejecting science, Christian Right leaders create their own alternative reality, one that does not challenge their literal reading of the Bible. While Alumkal recognizes the many evangelicals who oppose the Christian Right’s agenda, he also highlights the consequences of the war on reality—both for the evangelical community and the broader American public. A compelling glimpse into the heart of the Christian Right’s anti-science agenda, Paranoid Science is a must-read for those who hope to understand the Christian Right’s battle against science, and for the scientists and educators who wish to stop it.

The War on Science

Author: Chris Turner
Publisher: Greystone Books
ISBN: 9781771004329
Release Date: 2013-09-13
Genre: Political Science

A passionate and meticulously researched argument against the Harper government's war on science In this arresting and passionately argued indictment, award-winning journalist Chris Turner contends that Stephen Harper's attack on basic science, science communication, environmental regulations, and the environmental NGO community is the most vicious assault ever waged by a Canadian government on the fundamental principles of the Enlightenment. From the closure of Arctic research stations as oil drilling begins in the High Arctic to slashed research budgets in agriculture, dramatic changes to the nation's fisheries policy, and the muzzling of government scientists, Harper's government has effectively dismantled Canada's long-standing scientific tradition. Drawing on interviews with scientists whose work has been halted by budget cuts and their colleagues in an NGO community increasingly treated as an enemy of the state, The War on Science paints a vivid and damning portrait of a government that has abandoned environmental stewardship and severed a nation.

Science Left Behind

Author: Alex Berezow
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 9781610391658
Release Date: 2012-09-12
Genre: Political Science

To listen to most pundits and political writers, evolution, stem cells, and climate change are the only scientific issues worth mentioning—and the only people who are anti-science are conservatives. Yet those on the left have numerous fallacies of their own. Aversion to clean energy programs, basic biological research, and even life-saving vaccines come naturally to many progressives. These are positions supported by little more than junk-science and paranoid thinking. Now for the first time, science writers Dr. Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell have drawn open the curtain on the left's fear of science. As Science Left Behind reveals, vague inclinations about the wholesomeness of all things natural, the unhealthiness of the unnatural, and many other seductive fallacies have led to an epidemic of misinformation. The results: public health crises, damaging and misguided policies, and worst of all, a new culture war over basic scientific facts—in which the left is just as culpable as the right.

Not a Scientist How Politicians Mistake Misrepresent and Utterly Mangle Science

Author: Dave Levitan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393353334
Release Date: 2017-01-17
Genre: Science

An eye-opening tour of the political tricks that subvert scientific progress. The Butter-Up and Undercut. The Certain Uncertainty. The Straight-Up Fabrication. Dave Levitan dismantles all of these deceptive arguments, and many more, in this probing and hilarious examination of the ways our elected officials attack scientific findings that conflict with their political agendas. The next time you hear a politician say, "Well, I’m not a scientist, but…," you’ll be ready.

Denying to the Grave

Author: Sara E. Gorman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199396603
Release Date: 2016-09-01
Genre:

Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some people keep guns at home, despite scientific evidence of risk to their family members? And why do people use antibiotics for illnesses they cannot possibly alleviate? When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk everywhere. In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman, a father-daughter team, explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose six key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; causality and filling the ignorance gap; and the nature of risk prediction. The authors argue that the health sciences are especially vulnerable to our innate resistance to integrate new concepts with pre-existing beliefs. This psychological difficulty of incorporating new information is on the cutting edge of neuroscience research, as scientists continue to identify brain responses to new information that reveal deep-seated, innate discomfort with changing our minds. Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions. This book points the way to a new and important understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.

Higher Superstition

Author: Paul R. Gross
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9781421404875
Release Date: 2011-08-01
Genre: Science

This paperback edition of Higher Superstition includes a new afterword by the authors.

The Death of Expertise

Author: Tom Nichols
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190469436
Release Date: 2017-02-01
Genre: Social Science

People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. As Tom Nichols shows in The Death of Expertise, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both. The Death of Expertise is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.

A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

Author: David J. Helfand
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231541022
Release Date: 2016-02-16
Genre: Education

We all swim in a sea of Big Data, dangerously vulnerable to the unscientific thinking that now replaces the critical faculties we used to rely on. We seek simple explanations where complexity is required. But as we endeavor to solve global problems of energy, food, and water shortages, a planetary biodiversity crisis, and emerging threats to our public health, the development of scientific habits of mind becomes even more essential for our survival. We fear numbers and prefer neat and simple solutions to complex problems, but scientific reasoning plays a central role in combating misinformation and is one of our best tools for meeting the upcoming crises of our century. From confronting our fear of quantitative reasoning and demystifying graphs to elucidating the key concepts of probability and data analysis and the use of precise language and logic, this book supplies an essential set of apps for the frontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining. Who says it has to be dull to learn to think like a scientist? Who says only a few can do it? Not David Helfand, one of our nation’s leading astronomers and science educators. Helfand has taught scientific habits of mind to generations of Columbia University undergraduates, where he continues to wage a provocative and necessary battle against sloppy thinking and the encroachment of misinformation.

Caring for Creation

Author: Paul Douglas
Publisher: Baker Books
ISBN: 9781441230720
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Genre: Religion

Faith-Based Solutions to Caring for the Earth Climate change is a confusing and polarizing issue. It may also prove to be the most daunting challenge of this century because children, the elderly, and the poor will be the first to feel its effects. The issue is all over the news, but what is seldom heard is a conservative, evangelical perspective. Connecting the dots between science and faith, this book explores the climate debate and how Christians can take the lead in caring for God's creation. The authors answer top questions such as "What's really happening?" and "Who can we trust?" and discuss stewarding the earth in light of evangelical values. "Acting on climate change is not about political agendas," they say. "It's about our kids. It's about being a disciple of Jesus Christ." Capping off this empowering book are practical, simple ideas for improving our environment and helping our families and those around us.

How Economics Shapes Science

Author: Paula Stephan
Publisher:
ISBN: 0674088166
Release Date: 2015-08-10
Genre:

At a time when science is seen as an engine of economic growth, Paula Stephan brings a keen understanding of the cost benefit calculations made by individuals and institutions as they compete for resources and reputation in scientific fields. She highlights especially the growing gap between the biomedical sciences and physics/engineering."