The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science / Edition 1

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"If the globe is warming, is mankind responsible, or is the sun?" Such a statement does not appear out of place in Bethell's entertaining account of how modern science is politically motivated and in desperate need of oversight. Bethell writes in a compulsively readable style, and although he provides legitimate insight into the potential benefits of nuclear power and hormesis, some readers will be turned off when he attempts to disprove global warming and especially evolution. Throughout the book, Bethell makes questionable claims about subjects as varied as AIDS ("careful U.S. studies had already shown that at least a thousand sexual contacts are needed to achieve heterosexual transmission of the virus") and extinction ("It is not possible definitely to attribute any given extinction to human activity"), and backs up his arguments with references to the music magazine SPIN and thriller-writer Michael Crichton. Ironically, Bethell ends up proving his own premise by producing a highly politicized account of how liberal intellectuals and unchecked government agencies have created a "white-coated priesthood" whose lust for grant money has driven them to produce fearsome (but in Bethell's view, false) tales of ozone destruction and AIDS pandemics. In the end, this book is unlikely to sway readers who aren't already in Bethell's ideological camp, as any points worthy of discussion get lost in the glut of unsourced claims that populate this latest installment of "The Politically Incorrect Guide" series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895260314
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/25/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 1,000,940
  • Product dimensions: 7.24 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : the lures of politics
Ch. 1 Global warming 1
Ch. 2 Yes, more nukes 19
Ch. 3 Good vibes : the virtue of radiation 39
Ch. 4 "Good chemistry" 57
Ch. 5 The DDT ban 73
Ch. 6 Biodiversity and endangered species 87
Ch. 7 African AIDS : a political epidemic 105
Ch. 8 The folly of dolly : cloning and its discontents 123
Ch. 9 The stem cell challenge to bioengineering 131
Ch. 10 A map to nowhere 147
Ch. 11 The great cancer error 165
Ch. 12 The abiding myths : flat earth and warfare between science and religion 181
Ch. 13 By chance, or by design? 199
Ch. 14 Evolution : the missing evidence 215
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2009

    Not to be missed!

    I think the point of this book is that media often jumps on the bandwagon of "causes" without checking out both sides of the story. I disagree that there is no backing for the author's views; he provedes plenty. Is he correct in his interpretations of the facts? Perhaps not, but there are points to ponder. Why, for example, is the population of Africa increasing if AIDS is such a scourge? How can you make an AIDS diagnosis without a blood test? And what is the true reason America quit on nuclear power? If it makes you think, it's worth it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2006

    Unsettling, to say the least!

    Is this truly the state of environmental affairs in the United States? I am an Environmental Analysis and Design major at the University of California, Irvine. Being of a slightly conservative bent, though, I tend to disagree with certain ultra-liberal takes on the environment. It is for this reason that I like to read both 'pro-environment' literature and skeptical literature. This book, however, should be skipped entirely. Tom Bethell's over-simplification is well suited for those of us who cannot think for ourselves, and have absolutely no scientific foundation whatsoever. Not only does he over-exaggerate as much as (if not more than) those he accuses of hyperbole, he often times seems to misunderstand the science of what he is discussing altogether. Stilted, propagandist writing also weigh down this book to nearly unreadable dribble. If you want to know which environmental issues to brush up on, and how to argue effectively with über-conservative pseudoscientists, buy this book. Those of you who want to truly understand the environment and how we as humans affect it, however, need not waste their time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Annoying and shameful

    The author doesnt even understand the science he supposedly debunks. Much of the time he even invents his own facts, twists the truth to fit his erroneous opinions and generally makes a fool of himself. Just another example of ignorance among religious zealots.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A must-read for any armchair scientist

    The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science is a fascinating read. It begins with the assertion that, far from being an indication of scientific "truth," consensus in science is actually an enemy to the field. With that in mind, it aims to present the aspects of science that the media and politics prefer to avoid. What follows is a cohesive, clearly stated critique of many of the popular scientific stances. The follies of global warming, America's terror of nuclear energy, and the Human Genome Project are presented alongside common misconceptions about Columbus, evolution, and the AIDS "epidemic." I found the chapters on hormesis and the nature of cancer particularly thought-provoking. This is well worth reading, even if only to gain a fuller perspective on the scientific debates that occasionally make their way to the public eye.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

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