Science Left Behind : Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left
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.
- Hardback | 320 pages
- 162.56 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 589.67g
- 27 Sep 2012
- INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
- New York, United States
- charts and graphs
Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk radio host, author of THE 10 BIG LIES ABOUT AMERICA "Entertaining, enlightening and important. This valuable book should shatter the left's smug certainty that science registers as a partisan Democrat. Berezow and Campbell provide persuasive evidence and argument that should reshape conventional wisdom on a wide variety of current controversies." Kirkus "A sophisticatedly vitriolic, somewhat tongue-in-cheek addition to the current election debate." Publishers Weekly "Their nonpartisan message is clear: Washington as a whole is woefully uninformed when it comes to the scientific underpinnings of pertinent topics like stem cell research, green energy, organic food, vaccines, and gender issues." Huntington News "Groundbreaking...If I were teaching journalism, this is a book that I would require my students to read and absorb -- and keep for reference." The Progressive Contrarian"A no-nonsense, sometimes brutal and sometimes funny book that progressives should read." Red, Green, and Blue.org"Anyone who talks for very long with a genuine American leftist -- as opposed to the vastly more numerous moderate liberals -- can quickly see that romantic-nostalgic spite toward science and technology is not the sole province of Fox-watchers." PolicyMic"The people who are skeptical of the benefits of vaccination or think that organic food is healthier will undoubtedly find [Science Left Behind] problematic. And they should. The prominent activists and politicians highlighted in this book are spreading misinformation and causing serious harm in some cases, and it's good to see scientists and science writers making some noise about it. You should read what they have to say. Go buy this book." Wall Street Journal"In Science Left Behind, journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell show that conservatives hardly have a monopoly on motivated reasoning, usefully revealing how pervasive scientific misinformation is in progressive arguments on organic and genetically modified foods, clean energy, nuclear waste and other matters." Forbes"Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell, co-authors of Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left, make a nuanced and convincing counter argument: Ludditism is not a partisan issue. In fact, on many of the most critical issues of our time, the "progressive" perspective is often rooted in out-dated, anti-empirical, junk science paradigms that threaten innovation-and are beginning to unnerve the most scientifically minded thinkers on the left...This soft conspiracy, promoted by mainstream Democrats, infects a broad array of science issues and highlights the religious-like iconic beliefs of the left (as Kloor has noted): Nature is sacred, big business is dangerous and corrupt, technology can cause more problems than it helps solve, the world is on the verge of an eco-apocalypse, and we need more precaution, regulation and legislation. I call it enviro-romanticism, a criticism documented in distressing detail in Science Left Behind...Read Science Left Behind. It's a clarion call for the empirically minded amongst us regardless of your ideological persuasion." Booklist"There are a lot of hot-button topics here: environmentalism, genetically modified organisms, organic food, product testing on animals, solar power, clean energy, and more. The authors explore the issues in detail, working very hard to give the appearance of political neutrality, and the book does an excellent job of opening readers' minds to the possibility that these issues aren't as cut-and-dried as they might have been led to believe by politicians and the media. Open-minded readers, those who don't mind being asked to reassess their long-held beliefs, should find much here to think about and debate. Commentary Magazine"Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell are on solid ground in Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left...Their arguments slice quickly and powerfully, supported by the kinds of skillfully chosen facts...Science Left Behind does much-needed work in drawing attention to what the authors call the "feel-good fallacies" that constitute the worldviews of so many on the left-often the very individuals who proudly claim membership in the "reality-based com-munity." More important, Berezow and Campbell articulate a valuable observation that deserves constant reiterating: with great frequency, politics invites us to inhabit an imaginary world populated by fictions that conform to our desires about how things ought to be." San Francisco Book Review"Science Left Behind challenges the notion that poorly informed anti-science rhetoric is solely the province of the right wing...Berezow and Campbell offer numerous examples of progressives hijacking legitimate programs and research and twisting them to suit a backwards-ass anti-science agenda. In this way, reading Science Left Behind is as infuriating as it is eye-opening. A fundamental lack of familiarity with science is rampant in government as a whole, and Science Left Behind does an impressive job drawing attention to this alarming disparity." Portland Mercury" Nevertheless, Berezow and Campbell's message is jarring and necessary. Science is vilified in American political life. People believe things because they wish to, not because of what is true. This has real-world consequences when it comes to the implementation of beneficial technology. Anti-scientism is everywhere, and acknowledging that much of it comes from our own political tribe is a hard and inconvenient truth." Scienceblogs.com"This is - as far as I know - the best and first book to tackle many of these anti-science claims, and while it is not the definitive work on any of these subjects, it's worth a read for anyone who is infuriated by claims that republicans are anti-science...[T]he book does an excellent job of bringing together a large survey of different ways that elements of the political left in America fail to heed what science has to say." New Scientist"There is more, and recent, antiscience fare from far-left progressives, documented in the 2012 book Science Left Behind by science journalists Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell, who note that "if it is true that conservatives have declared a war on science, then progressives have declared Armageddon...Whereas conservatives obsess over the purity and sanctity of sex, the left's sacred values seem fixated on the environment, leading to an almost religious fervor over the purity and sanctity of air, water and especially food."
About Alex Berezow
Alex B. Berezow is the editor of RealClearScience. His work has appeared on CNN, and in USA Today, Forbes, and The Economist among other publications. In 2010, he earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Washington. Originally from southern Illinois, he currently lives in Seattle. Hank Campbell is the founder and editor of Science 2.0, the world's largest independent science communication community. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at three physics software companies. He graduated from Duquesne University and was formerly a U.S. Army officer.