Not a Scientist How Politicians Mistake Misrepresent and Utterly Mangle Science

Author: Dave Levitan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393353338
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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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.

Not a Scientist

Author: Dave Levitan
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780393353327
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In 1980, Ronald Reagan created one of the dumbest talking points of all time: I m not a scientist, but . . . Since then, politicians have repeatedly committed egregious transgressions against scientific knowledge prefaced by this seemingly innocuous phrase. Yet, as science journalist Dave Levitan reveals, that line is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to rhetorical tools wielded to attack scientific findings that don t cooperate with political agendas. Just listen to Mike Huckabee dismiss climate change as a sunburn, Donald Trump suggest that vaccines cause autism, or Todd Akin s infamous invention of legitimate rape. With a taxonomer s eye, Levitan captures and categorizes these deceptions by chapter, assigning delightful names like The Butter-Up and Undercut, The Literal Nitpick, The Straight-Up Fabrication, and many more. His sharpelbowed humor dismantles our leaders deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected nonscientists."

Fool Me Twice

Author: Shawn Lawrence Otto
Publisher: Rodale Books
ISBN: 1609613201
Format: PDF, ePub
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"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.

The War on Science

Author: Shawn Lawrence Otto
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
ISBN: 1571319522
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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"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.

Plutocrats

Author: Chrystia Freeland
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101595949
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A Financial Times Best Book of the Year Shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but recently what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Forget the 1 percent—Plutocrats proves that it is the wealthiest 0.1 percent who are outpacing the rest of us at breakneck speed. Most of these new fortunes are not inherited, amassed instead by perceptive businesspeople who see themselves as deserving victors in a cutthroat international competition. With empathy and intelligence, Plutocrats reveals the consequences of concentrating the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands. Propelled by fascinating original interviews with the plutocrats themselves, Plutocrats is a tour de force of social and economic history, the definitive examination of inequality in our time.

The Death of Expertise

Author: Tom Nichols
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190469412
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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.

Genes Cells and Brains

Author: Hilary Rose
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 1844679179
Format: PDF, ePub
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Our fates lie in our genes and not in the stars, said James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. But Watson could not have predicted the scale of the industry now dedicated to this new frontier. Since the launch of the multibillion-dollar Human Genome Project, the biosciences have promised miracle cures and radical new ways of understanding who we are. But where is the new world we were promised? In Genes, Cells, and Brains, feminist sociologist Hilary Rose and neuroscientist Steven Rose take on the bioscience industry and its claims. Examining the rivalries between public and private sequencers,the establishment of biobanks, and the rise of stem cell research, they ask why the promised cornucopia of health benefits has failed to emerge. Has bioethics simply become an enterprise? As bodies become increasingly commodified, perhaps the failure to deliver on these promises lies in genomics itself.

Scienceblind

Author: Andrew Shtulman
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465094929
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Humans are born to create theories about the world--unfortunately, they're usually wrong, and keep us from understanding the world as it really is Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In Scienceblind, cognitive and developmental psychologist Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies-around vaccines, climate change, or evolution-that plague our politics today.

The Seasons Alter How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts

Author: Philip Kitcher
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 1631492845
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A landmark work of environmental philosophy that seeks to transform the debate about climate change. As the icecaps melt and the sea levels rise around the globe—threatening human existence as we know it—climate change has become one of the most urgent and controversial issues of our time. For most people, however, trying to understand the science, politics, and arguments on either side can be dizzying, leading to frustrating and unproductive debates. Now, in this groundbreaking new work, two of our most renowned thinkers present the realities of global warming in the most human of terms—everyday conversation—showing us how to convince even the most stubborn of skeptics as to why we need to act now. Indeed, through compelling Socratic dialogues, Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller tackle some of the thorniest questions facing mankind today: Is climate change real? Is climate change as urgent as the “scientists” make it out to be? How much of our current way of life should we sacrifice to help out a generation that won’t even be born for another hundred years? Who would pay for the enormous costs of making the planet "green?" What sort of global political arrangement would be needed for serious action? These crucial questions play out through familiar circumstances, from an older husband and wife considering whether they should reduce their carbon footprint, to a first date that evolves into a passionate discussion about whether one person can actually make a difference, to a breakfast that becomes an examination over whether or not global warming is really happening. Entertaining, widely accessible, and thoroughly original, the result promises to inspire dialogue in many places, while also giving us a line of reasoning that explodes the so-far impenetrable barriers of obfuscation that have surrounded the discussion. While the Paris Agreement was an historic achievement that brought solutions within the realm of possibility, The Seasons Alter is a watershed book that will show us how to make those possibilities a reality.

Audacity

Author: Jonathan Chait
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062426990
Format: PDF, ePub
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An unassailable case that, in the eyes of history, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of America’s best and most accomplished presidents. Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama has amassed an array of outstanding achievements. His administration saved the American economy from collapse, expanded health insurance to millions who previously could not afford it, negotiated an historic nuclear deal with Iran, helped craft a groundbreaking international climate accord, reined in Wall Street and crafted a new vision of racial progress. He has done all of this despite a left that frequently disdained him as a sellout, and a hysterical right that did everything possible to destroy his agenda even when they agreed with what he was doing. Now, as the page turns to our next Commander in Chief, Jonathan Chait, acclaimed as one of the most incisive and meticulous political commentators in America, digs deep into Obama’s record on major policy fronts—economics, the environment, domestic reform, health care, race, foreign policy, and civil rights—to demonstrate why history will judge our forty-fourth president as among the greatest in history. Audacity does not shy away from Obama’s failures, most notably in foreign policy. Yet Chait convincingly shows that President Obama has accomplished what candidate Obama said he would, despite overwhelming opposition—and that the hopes of those who voted for him have not been dashed despite the smokescreen of extremist propaganda and the limits of short-term perspective.