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4 out of 5 stars
The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science- and Reality
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A plethora of peer-reviewed science is gathered in this book to proffer working and common-sense hypotheses to help explain the seemingly inexplicable. Mooney gives the current research layperson life to help us understand how to better approach political discussions with friends, family and colleagues. While there are no silver bullets, this work does make significant inroads into understanding. With current political "discussion" being relegated to heated hollering across an abyss, anything that helps us UNDERSTAND thus bridge this sad and polarized state of affairs is worth the read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The most provocative aspect of this book has little to do with the title (or the expectations the title might set up): it's the book's central argument, that knowledge is not necessarily power. Mooney makes a sophisticated argument here, much more so than most pop-cognitive-psych books, that more knowledge sometimes correlates to a greater willingness to rationalize away scientific fact. What this means is that more knowledge, more education, is NOT the cure for our society's anti-science woes.

Although his focus is on conservatives, particularly those who deny evolution, global warming, and certain historical and economic realities, the problems he describes here can probably just as well apply to the "liberal" side of things, i.e. doctors who support the anti-vaccine movement. In fact, the assumption he counters throughout the book -- that knowledge is always power -- is, perhaps, a very "liberal" one, as in, knowledge and education will always lead to freedom.

Affective reactions come first, Mooney and the research he turns to seem to suggest, and reason comes second, most often not in the form of logic, but in the form of rationalization. This work of popular-cognitive-psych-journalism could, perhaps, usher in a new posthumanist skepticism ...
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Chris Mooney gives a concise, well-written account of the latest and greatest neurological research, with a discussion of it's implications for political thinking. God help us, it looks like right-wing denialism is hard-wired!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Fast and great, everything is okay. Good product. Shipped okay. I received the book within a few days. Recommendable, etc.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
To date, I've read 2 of his books. This one, and the War On Science. The Republican Brain is well cited. I've since followed the references to the actual papers published and have done some reading on them. He is similar to Lakoff in many ways, but adds his own perspective to the neuroscience behind why we think the way we do.
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If only more people would write like Mooney. Bold statements that seek to actually do something with all the evidence compiled. I would have so much respect for a Republican that actually reads this book and can talk about it. Unfortunately that probably won't happen much, but instead, as Mooney writes, us liberals can take some cues from conservatives to do what we do better. Thanks for the whoopin' you've laid on the Ann Coulters of the world (I hope she tries to respond to this book) and thanks for giving me some great ideas.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book does a great job of illustrating the innate differences that have arisen between conservatives and liberals in the past couple of decades. I won't say that it isn't blatantly biased, and the author says as much anyway, but I feel like the information is honestly displayed and explained and enough scientific proof is given so as to come across as valid regardless. Mooney uses psychology and statistics to show how certain personality traits can account for our differences in political beliefs.

I should point out that this book is not meant to show off the terrible and wicked ways of the Republican Party (although I would agree that that's what the title might suggest; it was perhaps a poor choice), but rather to help us understand our friends to the right of the political spectrum. It's actually amusing in many respects as Mooney delves into the psychology that describes the reason most self-described conservatives won't read this book, which is sad because he goes to great lengths to put his findings and feelings into perspective and often explains how those traits that often define conservatives are actually quite valuable (such as loyalty, decisiveness, and determination).

I finished this book feeling like I didn't have to HATE republicans, and I learned that the party I usually associate myself with has gotten a few things very wrong. There are many things, but namely that calm, informed, and logical discourse is not the panacea liberals tend to believe it is. The tendency is to believe that given enough facts, a liberal can win over anyone. It turns out, however, that out in the real world it can be at best ineffective, and at worse outright counterproductive. People (or as Mooney suggest, mostly conservatives) respond emotionally first after all, and THEN think about it. As Mooney says, this colors your logic with that emotion and makes clear critical thinking almost impossible. ESPECIALLY, if you tie the conclusion to your identity.

It's important to note that no one (other than perhaps Fox News) is demonized in this book. Everything that is biased is admitted and explained. You shouldn't overlook this book because you think it'll just be another extremist spouting dogma. It's worth the money, time, and effort to read.

I only gave this book four stars however, because I think more work could have been put into trying to attract moderate conservatives or "old-school" republicans to reading the book. I would have liked to have seen a larger attempt at seeking out dissenting studies to show that they exist and yet pale in quality and quantity compared to the assenting ones.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This was such a refreshing read on my Kindle, and a testament to truth and its seeking.

The 2012 election cycle, the authoritarian mindset and its temporal rift from reality was on display vividly. When you can Google "917 lies" and several links appear associated with Governor Romney, I'd say that's pretty vivid.

It was almost comical to watch Nate Silver's 538 blog (reality) being validated by the election returns: he nailed it! Then, switch over to Fox News to watch the on air meltdown of Karl Rove trying to argue with statisticians about THEIR math (which, I'm sure Roger Ailes hired them because they're good at it)! Dick Morris' predictions prior to November 6th were spot off! He and "turd blossom" haven't been seen on air much since. This demonstrated the "created reality" Rove and the Republican party currently reside in.

The following is attributed to Rove (Wikipedia) and illustrative of our dilemma: "The aide said that guys like me [Ron Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do"

Hence, after defeat at the polls, nothing about the GOP has changed remarkably. To "change" would be to admit your principles are "not working." It's why Michele Bachmann after fighting for her elective life in Minnesota can with a straight face introduce yet another bill to REPEAL OBAMACARE. It's why Paul Ryan can say with a straight face after losing the election that the reason why he's back in the House is not that his republican governor gerrymandered the districts in his favor (as did other republican governors): but, that their ideas are POPULAR!

I end my review with three great intros I find sadly apropos by Rod Serling:

"You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!"

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone."

This last one kills it:

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call 'The Twilight Zone'."

And that dimension, is where we indeed are!
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A sequel to his 2005 book, the Republican War On Science, Mooney chastises the Conservatives for ignoring science, and denying facts in general. Example: 37% of authoritarians believed that WMD had been found in Iraq, only 18% accepted the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by humans," and only 43-45% accepted human evolution! The examples are perplexing - to the liberal mind..Mooney's done a lot of original research, which he documents, to shed more light on the character of mind which produces either conservatives or liberals. Once documented, Mooney explores "the psychology of why people deny facts and resist persuasion." Finally, he explores some of the other characteristics of the two different mentalities- what he calls "conservative error" and "liberal delusions." When you complete the book - from whichever vantage point you look, you're confronted with the argument that Liberals and Conservatives actually need each other, a surprising and persuasive revelation.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Really brilliant explanation of our leanings politically and socially. Never realised why we have opposite views on the same issues.
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