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Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605292176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605292175
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gripping analysis of America's anti-science crisis."              
                                                          -
Starred Kirkus Review for "remarkable merit"


"every voter in the country should read it."
                                            -MinnPost.com


"In this incredible book, Otto explores the devaluation of science in America. His exhaustively researched text explains the three-pronged attack on science."
                                              -Starred Publishers Weekly review for "outstanding quality"

"The solutions Otto suggests require a great deal of dedication and optimism. Nonetheless, the problems he identifies are quite real. Fool Me Twice offers a compelling consideration of the United States' political estrangement from science. One would very much like to attend to Otto's equally compelling hopes." -Science Magazine

If you want climate change to matter in policy and science more broadly to regain its seat at the table of policymakers, you have to do something and not just wish it. And number one on your list of things to do is to read Fool Me Twice.
                                         -Greg Laden, ScienceBlogs

About the Author

S H A W N  L A W R E N C E  O T T O  is the cofounder 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 coproducing the Academy Award–nominated House of Sand and Fog. He lives in Minnesota.

More About the Author

Shawn Lawrence Otto is the cofounder and CEO of ScienceDebate.org, the largest political initiative in the history of science. In each of the last two presidential elections, Otto has gotten the candidates for president to discuss the major science problems like climate change, ocean health, energy, research, and more - in an online "debate" at ScienceDebate.org. He is a recipient of the IEEE-USA National Distinguished Public Service Award, and his book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America won the Minnesota Book Award.

Otto is also a filmmaker best known for writing and coproducing the Oscar-nominated film House of Sand and Fog. He lives in Minnesota, in a passive solar, geothermal, wind-powered home he designed and built with his own hands. His personal website is at shawnotto.com

Customer Reviews

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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on August 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Part I. America's Science Problem

Chapter 1. Let's have a Science Debate: Numbers of scientists and engineers are way up across the world, with the ability to collaborate in an unprecedented way through the internet. The technological fruits of science define our society but US scientists are less and less consulted at the political, economic, and policy-making levels. Less than 2% of Congressmen are trained in science and the little science they hear is usually from lobbyists - not nearly representing mainstream scientific opinion. Scientific journalists are out of work. When other journalists cover a scientific subject they might bring in someone with a dissenting opinion, just to be fair. Thing is, the opinion of an anti-vaccination activist carries no weight compared to the opinion of a scientist with peer-reviewed data showing the astounding efficacy and safety record of our immunization schedules. Among its many antiscience acts, the Bush administration "appointed true believers to key agency positions throughout the federal government and empowered them to hold back or alter scientific reports they didn't agree with."

Chapter 2. Is Science Political: First, a description of the scientific method - actually a collection of strategies - that has brought the world more prosperity in a shorter period of time than anything else has in history. It is this method of observation, coming up with a hypothesis, designing an experiment, evaluating the results, and writing a paper that starts the process. Then the article is published in a professional journal and subjected to intense scrutiny by peers who would like nothing better than to find something wrong with the observations, the hypothesis, the procedures, the results, or all of the above.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Theoden Humphrey VINE VOICE on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Science is my pie. And this book is a delicious slice. A la mode.

Forgive the obscure reference, but it summed up my response to this book: I am not a scientist, but science is important to me. And here's what this book has given me: a new inspiration to discuss and debate scientific concepts, particularly with those who attempt to deny truth for political or religious reasons. Arguments to use on those same people, as well as moments of inspiration and fascination for those who don't reject science, but maybe don't understand it -- and, well, for anyone who does understand and enjoy science, as I think I do, since the book certainly inspired me. An argument (At long last -- I've been debating this for years, but never had so sharp a weapon to use) against the free-market-uber-alles paradigm that has arisen in recent years. An explication of how scientific truth informs and pervades the abortion debate, combined with a fine and impassioned defense of women's rights in that issue. Meticulous research and notes, bringing me to hundreds of sources of information and both foundational for this book and soaring beyond it. A dozen moments -- more -- when I had to stop and read a passage out loud to my wife. And, of course, many hours of reading enjoyment; even delight.

The segments of the book that I personally took to were the sections on politics and education (Obviously large and important sections, for a book about the future of science in America), because I am politically active and a long-time online debater, and also a high school teacher. I have watched Creationism rise in the estimation of the youth of my small semi-rural town, and evolution thus fade; since I teach English, I have had to endure a number of persuasive essays on the subject.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By L. F. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have mixed feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I agree with the author's premise that science is "under assault" in the US. A major fraction of the book is devoted to detailing this situation, and some of the examples are astonishing. The author points out that science is part of the culture, and so it is subject to the same pressures that have affected the rest of the culture over the past half-century or so. Specifically, he points out that the notion that all points of view-- all opinions and beliefs-- are equally valuable and thus equally deserving of consideration is at its root anti-scientific. That's because science is based on knowledge, not belief. There is an objective reality, and once its parameters are determined, then we must operate within them, regardless of whether those parameters square with out beliefs and preferences.

Scientists gather and examine data and then derive conclusions from it. Believers (in the widest sense of the word) have conclusions and then select data to support them. There is, of course, no compromise between these two diametrically opposed world-views. Unfortunately, since scientists chose to assume that science is nonpolitical, they have, in effect, surrendered the playing field to the anti-scientists.

The book does a very good job of defining this situation and offering support for the definition. However, what should be done about it? That's where the book fails, in my view.

Rather than offer some kind of program or plan, the author simply says that people have to reexamine their own beliefs and support scientific endeavors.
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