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The Republican War on Science

The Republican War on Science [Kindle Edition]

Chris Mooney
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Times Higher Education Supplement, December 22nd 2005

"...(This book) has to be praised in its original analysis ... We should be grateful to Chris Mooney for his diligence."

Johann Hari, The Independent , December 20th 2005

"Mooney...has bravely decided to thwack his way into this jungle of propoganda and lies on our behalf ... definitive ... disturbing."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 709 KB
  • Print Length: 378 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0465046762
  • Publisher: Basic Books (16 Mar 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9XDWK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #432,193 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Junk science 7 Oct 2005
"The science says you must do what you want to do anyway", seems to be what the Bush administration wants to hear from the scientific community. Only that's not what happens.
Like every other field of human endeavour, science is a fallible, but it does set up a methodology to try and eliminate error and refine truth: the scientific method.
What science does not, and cannot offer, is complete certainty.
So when the world's only hyper power falls into the grip of a group of people who regard the Bible as an alternative to science, you know we have returned to the sort of bigotry which was so widespread before the Enlightenment, and which never fully left us. (Northern Ireland offers a home-grown paradigm.)
Were it happening in any other country, we could ignore it. But it's not. American policy, as we know, has world-wide ramifications. Climate change being a major example.
Chris Mooney offers a history of, and an explanation for, the rise of the religious Right in the USA, and describes its link to corporations, and their resentment of government regulation.
Within this coalition there is both a resentment of education, and a resentment of the findings of scientific research which threaten both the core ideology and policies springing from them.
Whilst the author sounds a valid warning against misuses of science coming from the Left, he believes it to be a much larger problem from the Right.
The AIDS epidemic was an early victim. Ronald Reagan's domestic policy adviser did not want children educated in the use of condoms, so AIDS was not mentioned during Reagan's first term.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orwellian "Sound Science" replaces science 8 Aug 2006
Chris Mooney's passionate, thoroughly researched book concludes: the Bush administration ignores or denies mainstream research to please its conservative base. Business groups and certain religious lobbies helped while Bush-era treatment of scientists did a 180-degree reversal from that of Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Reagan. The Republican Congress passed laws - endorsed by the Bush White House -- designed to disable clean air and water efforts, and has dismantled safeguards, such as the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, originally intended to give legislators unbiased advice.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Mooney, the Republicans' war on science had its beginnings in the Reagan/Bush I and Newt Gingrich many years before the U.S. presidency was a twinkle in George W. Bush's eye. Their assault on rational scientific debate originated in the monolithic, multibillion dollar tobacco industry.

Traditional science and rational policies arrived at with scientific impartiality began to be manipulated - politicized -- decades ago on the heels of medical researchers discovering links between smoking, heart disease and cancer. Big Tobacco heavily financed disinformation campaigns to confuse the smoking public. Exploiting the orthodoxy of approaching all new scientific discoveries with a healthy skepticism, Tobacco's hired guns painted as unreliable all conclusions those smoking produces medically harmful effects. The disinformation campaign worked very well for Tobacco during two decades. That is until the U.S. Surgeon General could no longer conceal the growing, irrefutable medical evidence. He was obliged to conclude that smoking cigarettes had been killing Americans in rapidly increasing numbers over a long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly detailed, incisive and readable 14 May 2011
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book is about politicizing science in an effort to gain control for economic and/or religious reasons. As independent journalist Chris Mooney painstakingly documents, what Republicans want is the power to declare what is true and right regardless of what really is true and right, and they don't care about niceties such as scientific research, the scientific method, peer review or anything other than their spurious agenda. In order to get what they want they will lie, obfuscate, confuse, deny, and pay others to do the same.

Here are some of the key issues that Mooney explores:

President Reagan's unworkable Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as "stars wars," in which the technological infeasibility of an umbrella missile defense was ignored.

"Creation science," which became a Republican Party staple during the Reagan administration and a kind of litmus test of party purity during the George W. Bush administration under its new name, "Intelligent Design" or as I never tire of calling it, "Unintelligent Design."

Newt Gingrich's dismantling of the Congressional Office of Technological Assessment in favor of hand-picked scientific "experts."

The adoption of the phony and ironically named "sound science" mantra and some of the other tobacco industry terminology to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific opinion about a number of issues including whether abortion raises the instance of breast cancer (it doesn't) to whether certain chemicals were depleting the ozone layer (chlorofluorocarbons were). Mooney's chapter on this issue is appropriately entitled "Junking Sound Science."

Global warming, the denial of which has become another Republican Party shibboleth.
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Popular Highlights

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“Scientific knowledge is the intellectual and social consensus of affiliated experts based on the weight of available empirical evidence, and evaluated according to accepted methodologies,” &quote;
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To the Right, “sound science” means requiring a higher burden of proof before action can be taken to protect public health and the environment. In other words, “sound science” isn’t really a scientific position at all. &quote;
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As an account of the origin and history of life, ID doesn’t have any meat to it. It doesn’t provide any details that scientists might confirm or refute through future experimentation. And most crucially of all, it doesn’t explain anything or predict anything, a key requirement for successful scientific theories. As three of Meyer’s scientific critics have noted, “‘An unknown intelligent designer did something, somewhere, somehow, for no apparent reason’ is not a model.” &quote;
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