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The War on Science
The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It | Shawn Otto
11 posts | 1 read | 69 to read
"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 Ottos 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.
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Given the news this weekend, I‘m thinking I should kick these two to the top of the TBR. We live in sinister times so I‘m hoping the “What We Can Do About It” subtitle is useful.

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@MrBook just posted a list of #science books recommended by Bill Gates. I wanted to add this book to his list for 4 reasons:

1) I come from a family of scientists who taught me to consider ALL the data
2) Alt-Science institutions make me sick (look up the Creation Museum for instance)
3) the nominee to head NASA (Rep. Bridenstine) staunchly denies climate change (a large area of NASA research), and
4) I want life on earth to not collapse


MrBook Spreading the bookish joy! 😁 5y
becausetrains @MrBook joy? 🤔 I wouldn't call a concerted effort to dismantle science education joyful, but if it gets people reading and thinking, I don't care what it's called. 5y
MrBook Lol, it's a serious subject indeed, but I love it when people connect through the sharing of books. It's a glorious thing, whether it's entertaining fiction or profound thoughts on the world around us. 👍🏻 5y
Shortstack I've been wanting to read this book in particular for awhile! Thanks for the recommendation @becausetrains and I agree sharing and reading these books is so important. In our modern world where people ignore science and believe the most absurd things in its place such as that the world is flat or climate change is not real, this book is essential. Without people educating themselves and taking action, our world is at increasing risk. @MrBook 5y
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Plans for tonight include drinking and finishing this before book club tomorrow night. Antiauthoritarianism + wine = perfect combo. 🍷🔬

Grrlbrarian Killin' it! 👊👊👊 5y
Shortstack Omg! I need to read this! 5y
BookishFeminist @Shortstack You do! You will live for this book. 5y
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Shortstack Mini LGP 5y
BookishFeminist @Shortstack Oh that sounds perfect! Let's do it. 5y
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My afternoon in a nutshell.

☑️ Giant coffee
☑️ Giant book
☑️ Post-it flags
☑️ Laptop for work

Smangela BOGO macchiatos 😍 5y
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Time to dig into this some more. I'm slowly working my way through this because it's like 500 pages and fairly dense, but so far it's incredibly well researched and accessible. Otto does a great job of discussing the intersections of politics and anti-science, and in particular, frames the issue as something that comes largely from the right but has been propagated by the left too. Important stuff.

keithmalek I read this. Yes, it takes a while to get through, but it's worth it. 5y
LauraJ My book club is considering this. 5y
BookishFeminist @LauraJ I'll let you know how it goes. Im reading it for my in person feminist book club but we tend to be pretty academic with our books, so I think it would depend on how dedicated to serious topics you guys are. I can tell it would make for great discussion tho. 5y
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BookishFeminist @keithmalek Agreed, already worth it. I'm doing it in 15 pg chunks and that's very doable so far. 5y
LauraJ @BookishFeminist Our last three books were The Vital Question by Nick Lane, The Big Picture by Sean Carroll and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. We're hard core science nerds. 5y
BookishFeminist @LauraJ We are too. This book would be right up your alley then. Would def recommend for book club. 5y
Charlotte89 I have a somewhat idiotic question that I'm going to go ahead and pose anyway; is this one that would be relevant to someone (myself) based in the UK? My confusion to this being it's based on war on science in America, however science is obviously a global topic. Just all the politics within would be regarding those of the U.S therefore probably not applicable to the UK... 5y
BookishFeminist @Charlotte89 Absolutely. I'm not too far into it and can keep you posted, but in the bits I've read already it's spoken about how our congressional leaders have purposely lobbied for international anti-science efforts especially with respect to the Paris Climate Accord. It's speaking generally about the war on science with a focus on the US but definitely expanding it to discuss issues overseas too (abortion suppression efforts, for instance). 5y
Charlotte89 @BookishFeminist Whilst this makes it sound an intriguing read and not to mention highly informative it does make me wonder if I'd just end up sitting here fuming and utterly helpless in my complete lack of power or influence as one insignificant human among billions 🙈. Oh, on top of that I am on a path to become a clinical scientist so it just infuriates me all the more. Wanting to make a positive impact and all that haha... 5y
Charlotte89 @BookishFeminist however my counter-argument for my own point there would be: it's good to know who the enemies are 😂 so yes keep us posted please :) 5y
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Spending my afternoon with a giant book and a giant floofball. 🐹📖

This looks like a really great read that tackles our recent anti-science political trends. It's also HUGE. I'll be spending a lot of time with this book.


Oryx This sounds good. Looking forward to hear what you think of it. 5y
Megara I wish I had a ferret friend. 😍 5y
aubergine123 Merchants of doubt also tackles this topic and has some great descriptions of science. 5y
Dorianna Aww what a darling floofball. That book sounds really interesting and timely. I'll have to check it out soon. (edited) 5y
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A reminder that if you doubt any of the above scientific facts, you are part of the problem.

#litsypartyofonescientist #litsypartyofone

Megabooks Actually chronic Lyme disease is a thing in dogs. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/generalized-conditions/lyme-borreliosis/overview-o... Look under treatment. 6y
Redjewel_7734 I will never give up on truth! #truthistruth #justsaynotoalternativefacts 6y
Yossarian @Ebooksandcooks I don't believe in dogs -- they're just a conspiracy of Cynologists. 6y
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vivastory Dogs are alternative cats 6y
Megabooks @Yossarian 🤣🤣🤣 6y
Megabooks @vivastory other way around! 😉🤣🐶💙 6y
Yossarian @Ebooksandcooks Yeah. Other way around. Cats don't believe in me. 6y
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There are other issues with GM that pose policy questions, such as corporate ownership of genomes, monoculture farming and its effects on pollinators, economic justice, farmers inability to harvest their own seeds, and the possible spread of GM pollen. These are issues we should be discussing, but the evidence does not support health concerns.


The scientific consensus on the safety of eating GM foods is even stronger than that for the existence of human-caused global warming. 88% of scientists say that GM foods are safe to eat, compared with just 37% of the general public.


As inventor Dean Kannen says, "We get what we celebrate. If we celebrate actors and celebrity, we get the balloon boy and stupid people acting out to get reality shows. If we celebrate sports, we get a bunch of kids wearing jerseys, but how many of them will actually become millionaire sports heroes? What if we celebrate science and engineering with that same adoration? "


Controversy is the most common aspect of modern antiscientific attacks, because it takes advantage of the reasonable-sounding but incorrect idea that a "healthy debate" reveals the truth. When such a debate pits knowledge against a passionately articulated opinion, the opinion often wins.