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89 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important and Timely, September 14, 2005
This review is from: The Republican War on Science (Hardcover)
No doubt many reviewers will attack Mr. Mooney's exceptional and timely work claiming a combination of "this is nothing new," and "every one does it." Such attacks simply demonstrate the strength of Mr. Mooney's thesis -- that at the beginning of the 21st century, at least in America, even science is being turned into a partisan spectator sport. The trend, if it continues, harbingers dangerous days ahead and is well worth careful examination. This work presents an excellent place to start.

Mr. Mooney cleverly traces the current situation back to the attacks on "liberal intellectuals" in the middle of the last century. These statements, often a mantra from the Nixon years forward in the GOP, originally began as an attack on the social sciences. Thus, any effort to design government plans to aid the poor were labeled as "liberal." In fairness, this description as least holds some truth as the modern liberal-conservative dichotomy often comes down to government can help solve problems - government is the problem.

Recently, however, particularly in the last 20 years, the same attack has frighteningly been pushed into the "hard" sciences. As such, one can often hear GOP faithful from Senators to Limbaugh lambasting anyone who accepts the evidence for human activity induced climate change as a "liberal," with no concern for their political views. The trend springs in no small part from the close alliance between the GOP and big businesses that see science on subjects ranging from water pollution to climate change as threats to their current business model.

Mooney successfully explains how the media's hunger for controversy and short attention span plays handily into the hands of those who attack science. Thus, even if 99% of scientists accept a theory, the 1% can combat them if provided with substantial financial support and a powerful PR Campaign. Christian "conservatives" jumped on this bandwagon with so-called "intelligent design." The fact that the method for ID relies not on the scientific method, but on arguments of analogy and negative arguments (both major science no-nos) is of no weight in a media that craves screaming and refuses to pass any thoughtful judgments.

The United States built a mighty economy on the basis of strong scientific engineering and science throughout the last century. Now, with science falling into disrepute to serve short term political aims, every American should fear the decline that is sure to follow. Mr. Mooney's book provides a much needed wake up call to the danger ahead.
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Location: Sacramento, CA USA

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