The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science / Edition 1by Tom Bethell
Pub. Date: 11/25/2005
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
"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
"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.
- Regnery Publishing
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- Edition description:
- New Edition
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- Product dimensions:
- 7.24(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.66(d)
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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.
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.
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.
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.