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Customer Review

380 of 467 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Republican Brain" is a Spoonful of Bitter Medicine for Science Deniers, March 23, 2012
This review is from: The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science- and Reality (Hardcover)
When Chris Mooney wrote "The Republican War on Science", his outstanding report on science denial and suppression in the modern conservative movement, many hoped that the problems therein would fade away along with George W. Bush. But as they intervening years have shown, the discourse around the politics of science has only grown more heated and partisan. Why isn't careful scientific experimentation, peer review and huge consensus on the science behind issues like climate change or stem cell research enough to persuade opponents of science? Why can't we just "out-fact" the deniers?

Enter "The Republican Brain". Decades of psychological and neuroscience research are beginning to paint a clearer picture of how and why we believe what we do. Our biology seems to be at the root of our ideology. Mooney lays out a convincing case that when our ideas are intertwined so deeply with our values, it can be almost impossible to view an issue through a lens of objectivity or be open to challenging one's beliefs. The conservative brain seems to be especially predisposed to what he calls "motivated reasoning", using inherently false information to support a strong ideological belief. In a sense, the book describes how values and political ideologies can overpower logic and reasoning. Democrats and liberals are not without fault, as Mooney's discussion of fracking and nuclear energy show, but research shows that the conservative brain is by far the most egregiously guilty. Instead of ripping off a painful band-aid and allowing their ideology to be challenged, the conservative brain seems more apt to pretend that the band-aid doesn't exist.

There's a great irony in the book itself. It's that those who most need to hear, embrace and respond to the message (modern conservatives), will likely disregard the scientific rigor held in its pages as yet another casualty of motivated reasoning. Because this book delivers such a painful message to the Republican brain, many will deny it outright and declare partisan warfare. Do not let them fool you. This is a discussion our society needs to have, and both sides have much to learn from the science of how we believe.
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 69 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 29, 2012 12:51:44 PM PDT
T Hutch says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 12:22:08 PM PDT
D. McLeester says:
Just because a book has not been available for sale in stores yet, do not assume it has not been read. Many people, with the right connections, get advance copies to read and review. Your assumption that he has not read this book may well be wrong.

Posted on Apr 8, 2012 3:58:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2012 5:14:09 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Apr 9, 2012 4:31:07 AM PDT
Ronald Haak says:
M.V. (above) is using book review space to pour scorn and invective upon THE READERS OF THE BOOK. The review columns should be confined to the book itself and not converted into a blog of generalized scorn poured on those who've never even heard of the book. Let's keep the review columns for book reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2012 5:18:08 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 8:52:11 AM PDT
F. Hollister says:
T Hutch:

I would suggest a much more relevant explanation for the astonishing ignorance of so many self-described conservatives (they don't understand that, for the most part, they are actually reactionaries) is the Dunning-Kruger effect.

What makes this particularly interesting is that so many reviews and comments about those reviews here on Amazon prove the point. So many conservatives simply have no idea what they are writing about. And they refuse to open their minds to learn.

That is why right wing radio is such a roaring commercial success. Reality keeps reminding these people their world view is wildly off - so they seek daily reinforcement of their sad beliefs.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 2:15:03 PM PDT
R. Moore says:
Wow its amazing to actually see the books talking points in action!! It's fantastic to see someone who obviously hasn't (and wont read, as explained in the book) is trying to disprove the FACTUAL EVIDENCE presented in this book.
Here, i think this will help explain
http://www.alternet.org/media/154875/the_science_of_fox_news%3A_why_its_viewers_are_the_most_misinformed?page=1

but you wont read it as it is against your own political views and conservatives tend to disregard anything that tests their beliefs as "left wing propaganda". I love this book!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 10:15:57 AM PDT
T Hutch:

> Reality keeps reminding these people their world
> view is wildly off - so they seek daily reinforcement
> of their sad beliefs.

Exactly. You're losing the debate so it MUST be due to the stupidity, incompetence and malevolence of your ideological opponents.

Hey, go for it! By all means, bunker down, refuse to engage with anyone who disagrees with your ideology and absorb yourself in soothing masturbatory fantasies like this book.

You won't convince anyone, but you'll definitely make yourself feel better.

P.S. I think your phrase "daily reinforcement of their sad beliefs" fits anyone who finds books like "Republican Brain" comforting. The daily reinforcement aspect also fits those who enjoy books like "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder", although in fairness I've never read that book, having gleaned enough from the title to make an assessment.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2012 6:36:05 PM PDT
Most of the liberals I know are more than happy to engage with those of differing opinions. They're just not willing to tolerate the nasty invective that seems to substitute for reasoning in many on the right. Your posts here are a great example--you've done nothing more than call names and gloat over some perceived victory. You admit to not reading the book, yet you believe you're competent to discuss it and the accuracy/helpfulness of the review, as well as the personal traits of potential readers. I am certain that you encounter many people who are unwilling to listen to your arguments; that's due to a lack of substance on your part, not liberalism on theirs.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2012 11:26:26 PM PDT
MV...well, well, well...you write better than most of your contemporaries but it just change this 'phenomenon' that the book points to
the 'dissension' in this country has been here, festering since the Civil War. To blame Obama as Repubs love to is just plain ridiculous. 'Class warfare' as it's driven by those with power and money, namely Wall St, mega corps and the insurance and oil industries. Thick-headed describes someone who is unwilling to see the bigger picture which is what I'm doing...You have to push yourself beyond the superficial boundaries of thinking that the 'elite' loves to see us boxed in. That way they maintain control while we fight against each other. Elite Repub or Dem, they don't give damn about you or anyone but themselves. We live in an oligarchy and that's exactly who Romney is about...you see how easily people are caught in the dialectics of communication. The problem boils down to severely 'conditioned' thinking similar to fanatical thinking as in 'cult' organizations....from basic Christianity to the bizarre...not to mean that all Christians are fanatical but the fundamentalists tend to go in that direction. So now you understand how the Oligarchical, Fascist mind set works the opposing sides to a distraction...and 'Republican Brain' is simply making the point I'm making that it's stuck in a fanatical frame of mind as if in a cult
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