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Unscientific America : How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future
Climate change, the energy crisis, nuclear proliferation--many of the most urgent problems of twenty-first century require scientific solutions. And yet Americans are paying less and less attention to scientists. For every five hours of cable news, less than a minute is devoted to science; 46 percent of Americans believe that God, not evolution, created life on earth; the number of newspapers with science sections has shrunk from ninety-five to thirty-three since 1989. The disconnect between the scientific community and American culture grows wider every day. In Unscientific America, journalist and best-selling author Chris Mooney and scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum explain how corporate interests, a weak education system, science-phobic politicians, and hyperspecialized scientists have created this dangerous state of affairs. They also propose a broad array of initiatives that could reverse the current trend and lead to the greater integration of science into our national discourse--before it is too late.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . More political than I had hoped
Posted February 17, 2010 by discoverybg31 , Des MoinesThis is a book about the lack of scientific literacy and understanding in the USA. I was hoping that this book would be more about how we can change things to encourage sciencific understanding and the like, but it was more political than that. Unfortunately, it was also accurate in the assessment. We as a country have turned away from the scientific method, assumed that talking heads, politicians, and other completely uninformed groups have as much say in what things are than people who have been studying it for years and have become experts in their fields.
I heartily disagree with the only other review of this book. Far from worshipping Obama, the authors state more than once that while this administration seems to be more accepting of an increased role of science in policy and government, they certainly can't take that for granted. It is certainly critical of the Bush administration, but objectively, how can you not be?
This isn't a book about how science can be made more accurate, it is already as accurate as it can be. Clearly, another issue is that people have no clue about how science is done, who pays for the research, and who reviews the articles that are published. This book does go into the career prospects of scientists, but I thought that they could have discussed the peer review process and the one strike and you're out policy that permeates science. I found that to be a short coming.
Overall, I liked the book. It is most critical of the general scientific population and especially the "New Atheists" (Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, etc.), but there is a lot of criticism to go around. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science and the history of US policy regarding research.
2 . Don't waste your time or money
Posted July 12, 2009 by GEWold , Mequon WIScientific method and honest journalism require integrity and a willingness to seek the truth regardless of and often in spite of personal bias and desire. I find both of these qualities to be lacking in this book. Too often scientists and journalists, frequently those seeking government grant money or sensational headlines, bend the facts to meet their personal and political point of view. This contributes to the proliferation of "junk science" and increased confusion among an increasingly unsophisticated and polarized populace. I was hoping for a truly "scientific" treatise on the importance of accurate scientific method and the necessity of confronting new and evolving issues in our society. What I got was another political screed worshiping at the alter of Obama and critical of Bush rather than an honest treatise on the importance of accurate scientific method and logic. I feel the descriptions is inaccurate and I regret wasting my money on this book.
July 12, 2009
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