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Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Non-scientists, and that includes most of us who work for newspapers or other media, owe it to themselves to read at least one book this year about the scientific issues facing the world. My pick is Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum's Unscientific America.”
Top Customer Reviews
This book does make some excellent points and the authors do seem to have a pretty good grasp on what is good science and what is not; however, in the end, scientists get too much of the blame, and those who promote science denial, or bad science get let off the hook too lightly.Read more ›
Mooney's reportage in "War on Science" is also helpful to readers of "Unscientific America" given the authors spend little time in the new book arguing for the key and growing role science plays in American society, it's mostly assumed where the authors instead focus the first portion of the book on the pervasiveness of America's illiteracy towards science coupled to their argument the scientific community is failing at communicating with both the power brokers and the general public in a way that adequately promotes science. While I enjoyed learning about areas where we're scientifically illiterate, I believe the authors spend too little time speaking to the criticality of science.Read more ›
The diagnosis of this book is this: The USA is losing the charm of science and scientific literacy.
And it makes a simple proposal: Scientists need to be better at promoting science.
That seems obvious enough. There are actually a range of books out that make that case and give constructive advise to scientists how to be a better communicator (such as Randy Olson's "Don't be such a scientist" or "Am I Making Myself Clear?" by Cornelia Dean).
I do not disagree with this, but think it's too narrow. I also do not think this book gives a sensible enough description of the state of affairs.
For example the first chapter makes the case that the Pluto-story was somehow a PR blunder for science. We are invited to consider the mocking of Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert as evidence. I would rather suggest the opposite. Having a science topic on Maher and Colbert is a win, and there is no way to have it on Colbert without mocking being part of it. But not just that, the fact that wonderful science promoters such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye made great use of the story to engage the public is nowhere to be found. In fact neither of these fine advocates for science appear anywhere in the book.
I can also not really follow their assessment of the state of science outreach. Going to the science shelf in my local book-store I cannot help notice a very healthy rotation of wonderful books appearing and not only that, them also being very successful. The book omits this from the discussion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a noisome little book. Far from offering insight or information on on one of the biggest problems we face, it seems to contain not a single seminal idea. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charles R. Coffey II
This book discusses an extremely important issue that is seldom discussed. Despite the fact that science has brought immense wealth and technology to the United States, greatly... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Thomas Wikman
The book did a decent job of explaining shortcomings in science communication, both internal and external influences. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Nick
Informative, but feels repetitive. It could use more real-world stories/examples to back up its arguments.Published 19 months ago by Fumbles
I had to write a research paper for school and O chose the topic of scientific illiteracy in America. Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Emily Geist
Willful ignorance is a frightening thing. Why would anyone one want American to be ignorant of the things science knows. Read morePublished on February 18, 2014 by Linda K DiVittorio