The War on Science : Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do about It
"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.
- Paperback | 514 pages
- 152 x 229 x 33mm | 680g
- 07 Jun 2016
- Milkweed Editions
Praise for The War On Science "Every so often a book comes along that changes the way you view the world. The War on Science is one of those rare books. If you care about attacks on climate science and the rise of authoritarianism, if you care about biased media coverage or shake-your-head political tomfoolery, this book is for you."--Guardian "A stirring call to action."--Science "Otto marshals an astonishingly broad range of facts, trends and history to make his case. that science, by its nature, does not fear or favor any single human being or group. Thus, the knowledge it produces almost invariably upsets the status quo, challenging whomever or whatever depends on that status quo for their staying power."--Scientific American "This book provides a valuable resource to put our present conundrum in proper perspective."--Lawrence M. Krauss "Evidence from science is one of the world's great equalizers, because it forms an objective basis for public policy. This book illustrates how central that notion is to the forming of modern democracy, and how current attacks on science endanger our freedom. Policymakers and voters everywhere would do well to read The War on Science."--Walter Mondale, United States Vice President "We're seeing right now a titanic battle between the power of science and the power of money--and money is winning. This book explains why, and offers some pointers that might get us back on the right track."--Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org "Otto makes a case that can't be refuted. Science is important to all of us, especially the US government. He backs it up with peer reviewed studies, carefully researched numbers, and his own extensive experience. He uses the process of science to prove that we need science in order to remain free. Here's hoping all voters everywhere take him seriously--soon."--Bill Nye the Science Guy "Science is not a body of facts, but rather a structured approach to uncovering the fundamental laws that govern the natural world. As The War on Science shows, policymakers who choose to ignore those fundamental laws imperil us all, for the laws of nature will always trump the laws of man."--Marcia McNutt, president of the US National Academy of Sciences "One of the most important books published in America in the last decade."--TV News Anchor and columnist, Don Shelby, author of The Season Never Ends "In the struggle of people to be free, there has been one common denominator on which, like Sherlock Holmes, democracy depends--science, and the evidence it provides, as a guide to truth, fairness and justice. This insightful book explores how science became a necessary prerequisite for democracy, why it is under attack today, and what we can do to defend truth and freedom."--Maria Konnikova, Bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes "Before you vote in the next election, read Shawn Otto's The War on Science."--Ben Bova, Hugo-winning writer "The War on Science dissects today's perfect storm of anti-intellectualism, that has persuaded millions to agitate against their own interests. This book won't convert Limbaugh dancers. But it could help draw that smart engineer uncle of yours back toward the light. It might even encourage a newborn movement, to revive a science-loving version of conservatism out of the ashes."--David Brin, scientist and award-winning author of Earth and The Transparent Society "This insightful, heavily-researched book pulls back the curtain to show exactly where and how the rise of authoritarianism is being accomplished, via academic, fundamentalist, and public-relations attacks on scientists and the ideas of science that underly modern democracy. The War on Science is a must reading for anyone wanting to understand what's really going on in today's politics."--Michael Mann "This is a well-written study of the politics of science. Voters interested in the critical role science plays in a healthy democracy will find this vital reading."--Library Journal
About Shawn Lawrence Otto
Shawn Lawrence Otto was the co-founder and CEO of Science Debate 2008, the largest political initiative in the history of science. He is also an award-winning screenwriter best known for writing and co-producing the Academy Award-nominated House of Sand and Fog. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Science, Salon, and Scientific American. He lives in Minnesota.