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Sex, Drugs and DNA: Science's Taboos Confronted (MacSci) Paperback – July 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: MacSci
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 Reprint edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230521126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230521124
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stebbins has set out to write a polemical overview of the most controversial topics in modern science and, to a large extent, he succeeds. Stebbins, the Director of Biology Policy for the Federation of American Scientists, writes in a brash style more often associated with political diatribes than serious science, but his impressive background and knowledge of the issues at hand ground the book. Stebbins' topics range from bioterrorism to reproductive technologies, but his explanation of the stem cell controversy is particularly lucid and, given the complexity of the arguments involved, particularly welcome. As he points out, "the devil is in the detail" regarding this particular issue, and neither the public, the media, nor the politicians seem to have a firm grasp of the details. Though it gets off to a slow start, perseverance is recommended; unless you're a scientist yourself, you will undoubtedly learn something new from this sobering, illuminating work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The taboos referenced by the subtitle are the sanctions against scientists talking plainly to the public about their work and their concerns. Stebbins has had enough of them and breaks ranks to passionately, revealingly, often less-than-gracefully counter the threats to biology and medicine posed by general American stupidity about science, public health, and science education. After a chapter outlining the typical American scientist's life (more anxious and far less likely to be lucrative than the typical American physician's), Stebbins lays out the truth and flays conservative propaganda and policies about stem cell research, cloning, genetic engineering, contraception and STDs, bioterrorism, the potential for pandemics, global warming, and other matters that wouldn't be controversial, or in some cases even problematic, if it weren't for mistaken, misinformed policies and venal corporations. Corporations and policies come even more directly under fire in the chapters "Drugs," "Healthcare," and "Science Education." To be sure, Stebbins' effort is an anti-Bush--administration diatribe. It is far superior to the rest because it argues from fact and knowledge, not hype and politics. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I couldn't put it down, bought three copies for friends.
Terri Neish
Written in a candid, revealing, and entertaining tone, Michael Stebbins holds nothing back in confronting the problematic issues faced by science today.
E. Davis
This is a book you need to read- and then make your best friend read it too!
Manuel J. Mari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Dezazzo on May 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For anybody who has the courage to learn what it really happening in the world of science and policy today, this book is a call to arms. It will piss you off -- but for the right reasons. Culling his expertise in cutting edge research, science journalism, and policy, Dr. Stebbins unmasks the BS that muddles contemporay issues in stem cell research, evolutionary debate, medical insurance, birth control, global warning, drugs, education, and much more. But he does so in a straight-ahead, accessible style that it is as humorous as it is revealing -- if not damming. Are our politicans pulling the wool over our eyes? Is our ignorance and laziness partly to blame? Yes and Yes. Perhaps you may already know that. But Dr. Stebbins does not just reveal these problems; he offers provactive solutions. Read this book, tell your friends to read it, and demand accountability from your representatives and senators. And even if you are lazy, do it for your kids's sake! Before it is too late.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher D. Dickson on May 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Let me start out by saying that I do not have any background in science AT ALL. That being said, this book was extremely insightful and fun to read. You know those controversial scientific issues that you've seen on the news but never really have had the proper information to form an opinion on? For me, this book cleared out all of the crap sitting on the surface of these issues and finally gave me the tools to think intelligently about them. If you consider yourself a "critical thinker" and don't like to take things at face value, do yourself a favor and read this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Shockley on May 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I ripped through this book in a matter of two days. i couldn't put it down. It moves and an absolutely incredible speed and is chock full of information on everything from Stem Cells to Intelligent Design to Bioterrorism. Stebbins lays out what everyone should know about these subjects in language that even I as a non-scientist could understand. Then he rips apart the policies that have been put in place by Bush and his Republican cronies. No question, best science book I have read in years. Seriously, it's about time someone wrote so honestly and passionately about science.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Giese on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you do not know much about current biological science and its implications for society, then you must read this book. - The author uses colloquial language to explain key issues on stem cells, cloning, healthcare, science education and other issues. It is a truly enjoyable read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonah Spring on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Buy or steal this book! It is very refreshing to have a scientist who is not afraid to speak his mind in areas beyond science. And unlike a lot of authors, Dr. Michael Stebbins will not only tell you what we are doing that is wrong, he suggests ways to fix the problems. I look forward to more books by Dr. Stebbins, although I hope there is never again a need for his insights and outrage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By virginia on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sex, Drugs and DNA is a fantastic literary find. Michael Stebbins shares a voice seldom heard in today's news and politics, that of an independent and experienced scientist. Most of what you hear on the news about science these days seems to consist of "expert" journalists with no more information on the subject they are discussing than a brief overview of a watered-down scientific abstract. This is a man who has devoted his life to science and is not afraid to give his opinions on what is wrong with today's society, and, more importantly, how these problems might be solved.

I was personally very impressed with his first chapter. It is something that I would highly recommend to most young and developing scientists. I feel it gives an honest and needed look at what they will be dealing with in the near future.

Michael Stebbins makes this foray into the world of a science an entertaining and informative journey. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara G. Harris on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being able to explain scientific concepts to nonscientist is an art. Michael Stebbins has accomplished the goal of explaining several areas of scientific research that sometimes gets drawn into politics (embryonic stem cell research). He takes every subject and explains it in language that the lay person can understand. He does a great job of showing how special interest groups can take some segment of the subject, distort it and promote opposition to the research and make it look legitimate to the unknowing public. We need more books like this and more scientist like Michael Stebbins!!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Weinreich on April 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Great read for those interested in the latest in science and science policy. Plain spoken and honest. What has been missing from science books and newspaper articles on cloning, race, genetics, education, etc. Should be a part of the library for any interested in the future of science in this country.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Dr Stebbins is the Director of the Biology Policy for the Federation of American Scientists. Prior to joining FAS, Dr. Stebbins was a congressional fellow in the US Senate. Before coming to Washington, Dr. Stebbins was a Senior Editor at Nature Genetics. He has written for Reuters and numerous scientific journals and is a science advisor for ScienCentral a television production company that produces stories for the ABC and NBC affiliates. He has a B.S. in Biology from SUNY at Stony Brook and received his Ph.D. in genetics while working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Sex, Drugs & DNA is his first book.

Dr. Stebbins has a unique view of the politics, culture and reach of science. He illustrates how we are facing dangerous times where political agendas and public misunderstanding are hobbling truly novel work and hence calls for wide reaching changes in science education, funding, publishing and promulgation.
He takes great pleasure in poking fun at how ridiculous our culture has become and calls for those who have not completely lost their minds to fight back! The book and his website will provide you with tools and ideas to do just that. http://www.SexDrugsandDNA.com

About the book: In a frank, edgy and entertaining style that pulls no punches this book reveals the truth about modern biology and debunks the commonest myths surrounding some of the most controversial topics in science and health. It focuses on what research can and, perhaps more importantly, cannot tell us about a broad range of topics ranging from sexuality, race and genetic modification to stem cells, cloning, modern medicine, fertility treatment, creationism and bioterrorism.

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