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Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 116 reviews
on May 5, 2017
I love science and have been involved in it (not as a researcher) for years. Lately it has utterly dismayed me how those who lead us seemingly either have little understanding of it. And or little regard. Why? I read this book looking for answers.

Focusing a bit on the Bush years (so this has nothing to do with this Administration, or at least not in detail), Mooney explores just how it is that the very thing that fuels our economy, saves our lives and informs our existence can be disregarded by the powerful.

Short answer: It's all for the money, honey.

The long answer--which is very eye-opening indeed--is well worth this read. Well worth it. Some of the players in the mess are still playing, and using the same toys.

I found Mooney's writing to be fairly streamlined--here and there a little dull--but rather full of abbreviations for committees and associations...but that was truly the only annoying thing.

It's also heavily annotated, which may reassure some readers that the book is basically full of dry but disturbing facts, instead of dry but disturbing opinion.
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on September 11, 2016
Great book for those looking to understand the evolution of science policy on the federal level in the United States. However, the biggest drawback is that the book has an enormous anti-republican bias that sometimes overshadows and undermines some of the arguments the author is trying to make. That being said the book consistently provides ample evidence and facts to support its arguments and is an absolute must-read for all people interested in public policy and all political science students.
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on July 12, 2014
This book highlights a variety of partisan Republican political activities that -- in a variety of ways -- show the GOP's misuse of science and its lack of interest in reality-based policymaking. It also explicitly provides evidence for the reason for the GOP's use/misuse/abuse of science, which is to satisfy the core constituency it has developed in the past 30 years (read: industry and religious conservatives). The book only goes through ~2006. It would be useful for Mooney to update the text to consider how the GOP (and Democrats) have behaved with respect to science since the election of President Obama.
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on June 26, 2014
As a physician scientist, I am always appalled by the scientific ignorance and pride in stupidity of the religious right. It's a swell written and well referenced book about a social tragedy in America that exemplifies the anti-science, anti-education right wing (also anti-worker and anti-women, but that's off topic).
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on December 4, 2013
I read Chris Mooney’s book "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality" and was very intrigued by it. So it was with eager anticipation that I looked forward to reading this book. First, let me say that I love science, and relish the hunt for truth about the world and the cosmos we live in. In reading this book, I became quite frustrated as I learned about the assault on science by right wing interests. Science is dynamic; it provides a constant onslaught to the old orthodoxies challenging the more static worldviews. Part of the problem is modern conservatism’s distrust of “big government,” which increases tension with science since much science depends on government funding or takes place in government agencies. “The conservative faith in industry and unrestrained capitalism seems to fuel a parallel assumption that industry-sponsored science – like the free market itself – stands above reproach,” says Mooney.

He starts with a discussion of what he calls the politicizing of science, which results in an abuse of scientific truth. He provides a catalog of politicized interferences with science such as attempts to undermine science, suppression of scientific reports, targeting individual scientists, magnifying uncertainty, ginning up contrary “science,” and more.

The ideological merger between religious conservatives and business interests began in the 70s and 80s. Also at this time, notes Mooney, alarmed by the new wave of environmental, health and safety rules, big business developed powerful lobbying groups, (PACs) and a new way of thinking about how to spend their money in sponsoring research and intellectual inquiry. In 1972, Nixon even dissolved the President’s Science Advisory Committee and abolished the office of the science advisor. The attack was well underway! The assault on science continued. In the 1990’s the Gingrich Republicans dismantled the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, which had been created in the wake of the supersonic transport controversy (1972) to provide the Congress with an independent source of scientific analysis. The mantra came to be “sound science.” This term had little to do with scientific rigor; it had “everything to do with blocking government controls on industry by raising the burden of scientific proof required to justify action,” according to Mooney.

The attacks involved the science of acid rain, CFCs and the ozone, and, by the 1990s, global warming. Today we see so much “dubious science and outright nonsense” in respect to climate science – thanks to, at least in part, the “Gringrich Congress” of the 1990s. The political misuse of science did not begin with the 104th Congress in 1995, but the Gingrich Republicans represented a new level of abuse. With these attacks came new terminology, such as “sound science” and “junk science.” The term sound science, for the right, actually was an ideological term connected to a science-abusing regulatory reform agenda resulting in “paralysis by analysis.” The term “junk science” became frequently attached to any research that didn’t mesh with the laissez-faire policy of regulated companies. If you can’t beat them, confuse them became the mantra. Concerning the global warming denial campaign, which Mooney elaborates on at length, he noted very incisively that “climate change has become an issue on which conservatives have elected to fight over science at least as much as over as over economics, relying on stunning distortions and a shocking disregard for both expertise and the most reputable sources of scientific assessment and analysis.”

Not content at inhibiting regulatory reform directly, it became effective to attack the science that might lead to any unwanted regulatory action. Through the efforts of people like lobbyist Jim Tozzi, legislator Jo Ann Emerson, and White House administrator John Graham, we see programs such as the Data Quality Act, the Shelby amendment, and a “peer review” system of Graham’s design – all efforts to quash any attempt to pass industry despised regulations.

Mooney now considers the Endangered Species Act. He devotes an entire chapter to showing clearly how Republicans engaged in a disturbing quest to use science to gut the ESA, and presents evidence of Bush administration tactics to suppress scientific information coming out of agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service. This suppression of science continued with stem cell research, where the quest to “generate arguments sympathetic to a religiously conservative moral agenda” was fully explored. Next we are confronted with the Christian right’s war on sexual health. Here we learn about the false claims concerning abortion – it causes breast cancer and psychological illness, as well as the false claims that condom use is ineffective, or that abstinence programs actually work.

Mooney concludes by providing some insight on what we can do. Perhaps the conservatives can be reasoned with – “begging that they step back from the abyss before it’s too late.” We can restore the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the Office of Science and Technology Policy can be restored to its previous strength, eliminate the political litmus test for committee membership, roll back the “sound science” regulatory reform movement which is designed to create paralysis by analysis, and so on. These political attacks on science succeed, in part, because they confuse everyone by making us think that a controversy exists when actually there is none. We need journalistic balance, that is, report the facts rather that give equal weight to true science and it nemesis – false science. Mooney laments that “we cannot escape the reality that we face a political problem, one that requires explicitly political solutions.” Let’s hope they’re forthcoming.
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on May 6, 2015
Chris Mooney writes about Republican's view on science. In particular, he takes a look at the Bush administration and his stance on different topics such as stem cell research, global warming, the creation and evolution topic, alternative medicine, and pollution. I believe that this book is informative, however I also believe it is an attack on the Republican view of scientific claims. Mooney argues that this administration distorted scientific claims in order to further its own political beliefs. This book meets science head on it terms of political beliefs. I would recommend this book to the average reader, however I would urge them to be open-minded when reading it. Just like any topic, it is important to see both sides of an argument. Chris Mooney does a good job laying the foundation for this topic, but more research can be done regarding the truthfulness of what he says. I enjoyed reading this to get a point of view on Republicans and science, however I also did research after to see if what was being said was truthful.
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on May 23, 2017
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on May 15, 2014
The book recounts a terrifying tale of politicians re-writing science to cater to political, religious and economic desires. By recruiting scientists to lie, politicians and big business undermine the public's trust in science, at a time when only science can ameliorate the coming global catastrophe. It was a hard book for me to read, as I had to keep putting it down until I could stop shaking with anger.
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on November 8, 2014
A great book: well written, good research and source materials, lots of very good quotes. Chris did a fine job and I'm anxious to try his other books.
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on January 27, 2017
This is excellent. A must read now with the GOP in charge of all three branches of the government.
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