Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future

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by Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum
     
 

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Climate change, the energy crisis, nuclear proliferation—many of the most urgent problems of the twenty-first century require scientific solutions, yet America is paying less and less attention to scientists. For every five hours of cable news, less than one minute is devoted to science, and the number of newspapers with science sections has shrunk from

Overview

Climate change, the energy crisis, nuclear proliferation—many of the most urgent problems of the twenty-first century require scientific solutions, yet America is paying less and less attention to scientists. For every five hours of cable news, less than one minute is devoted to science, and the number of newspapers with science sections has shrunk from ninety-five to thirty-three in the last twenty years. In Unscientific America, journalist and best-selling author Chris Mooney and scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum explain this dangerous state of affairs, proposing a broad array of initiatives that could reverse the current trend.

An impassioned call to arms, Unscientific America exhorts Americans to reintegrate science into public discourse—before it is too late.

Editorial Reviews

With climate change, the energy crisis, deadly pollutants, and ever-diminishing resources, science matters more today than ever before, but try explaining that to the scientifically illiterate American public. According to the authors of this spirited manifesto, the chasm between new-millennium science and general scientific knowledge is huge and growing, thanks to narrow corporate interests, a weak education system, science-challenged politicians, and a detached, hyper-specialized scientific community. And don't expect the media to improve this dire situation: For every five hours of cable news, less than one minute is devoted to science. Unscientific America is a startling wake-up call for a nation squandering its future.
Publishers Weekly

Mooney, author of the bestselling The Republican War on Science, and Kirshenbaum, a marine scientist at Duke and former congressional science fellow, argue that the public ruckus caused when astronomers stripped Pluto of its planetary status demonstrates the disconnect between scientists and the general public, who share only a sense of mutual distrust. The authors place the blame for this squarely on both sides, as well as on the media (TV shows that misrepresent medical science and films that portray scientists as evil or nerdy), and plead for an improved level of discourse. But their repeated assertion that science and religion are compatible will not convince anyone who believes otherwise. Mooney showed his ideological colors in The Republican War on Science, and with their attacks on President Bush, he and his coauthor can't be accused of being nonpartisan here, despite their call for less partisan, nonideological debate. Some readers may also balk at paying $25 for a book nearly a third of which consists of notes and documentation. Nevertheless, Mooney and Kirshenbaum make valid arguments that can only help to further the public debate about these important issues. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786744558
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/14/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
327 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Mooney is the author of The Republican War on Science and Storm World. A Knight fellow in science journalism at MIT, he contributes to many publications, including Mother Jones, Wired, the Boston Globe, and Slate. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sheril Kirshenbaum is Associate in Research for Ocean and Coastal Policy at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unscientific America is a fantastic book that tackles the the problem with scientific illiteracy in America with dynamic precision. Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum team up and create an influential pair. Together they wittily tackle the major problems and concerns that face our society today. Their love and concern for science and the world is clearly expressed throught there clever and ironic writing style. The chapters are named in an almost comical way and the chapters are well diversed. The book takes every-day ideas and events and explores them through a new and thought-provoking perspective. The clever ideas and resolutions are both inspirational and revolutionary. This book will cause anyone to have a change of heart abou the unique society of science. One will begin to embrace new ideas with caution but open mindedness. The stereotypical idea of scientists that I once had is now replaced by a new, more realistic view of the heartwarming intellectuals. I highly recommend this book. It will open a new idea of science vs. society and ease ones stereotypes of the scientific world.
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