"Whenever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government."
But what happens in a world dominated by complex science? Are the people still well-enough informed to be trusted with their own government? And with less than 2 percent of Congress with any professional background in science, how can our government be trusted to lead us in the right direction?
Will the media save us? Don't count on it. In early 2008, of the 2,975 questions asked the candidates for president just six mentioned the words "global warming" or "climate change," the greatest policy challenge facing America. To put that in perspective, three questions mentioned UFOs.
Today the world's major unsolved challenges all revolve around science. By the 2012 election cycle, at a time when science is influencing every aspect of modern life, antiscience views from climate-change denial to creationism to vaccine refusal have become mainstream.
Faced with the daunting challenges of an environment under siege, an exploding population, a falling economy and an education system slipping behind, our elected leaders are hard at work ... passing resolutions that say climate change is not real and astrology can control the weather.
Shawn Lawrence Otto has written a behind-the-scenes look at how the government, our politics, and the media prevent us from finding the real solutions we need. Fool Me Twice is the clever, outraged, and frightening account of America's relationship with science—a relationship that is on the rocks at the very time we need it most.
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About the Author
S H A W N L A W R E N C E O T T O is the cofounder and CEO of Science Debate 2008, the largest political initiative in the history of science. He is also an award winning screenwriter best known for writing and coproducing the Academy Award–nominated House of Sand and Fog. He lives in Minnesota.
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Excerpted from "Fool Me Twice"
Copyright © 2011 Shawn Lawrence Otto.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Right now, ideology and party politics are driving public discourse and policy making in the U.S. This title shows the whys and who's doing it, and for what reasons. Brings to mind the top-notch book "Censoring Science," which explores, in depth, how the W. Bush administration attacked and stifled the climate change work of Dr. James Hansen of NASA.
This is an excellent history and summary of why our current Congress makes no progress on formulating policy regarding climate change, stem cell research, birth control, energy resources, science education, evolution etc. - all the important scientific issues facing our country (and the world) for which Congress is stuck in a morass of it's own making. The book encourages citizen involvement (if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.) This book should be mandatory reading for every Senator and Representative.
This book is a jumbled, messy look at critical thinking and the cult of ignorance in American culture. The author seems at times to be trying for the Templeton prize, and at other times to be trying to appease everyone, and then he will turn around and say something profound and insightful. There certainly are some gems in this book, but it is trying to read, especially when the author manages to muck up the history of science early in the book by assuming that the Scopes trial represented a win for science, and not understanding that, in fact, evolution was quietly removed from science for several decades following that famous battle. Perhaps this is the reason why so many of his conclusions and proposed solutions seem forced and unintelligible, at least to someone who spends every day actually facing students in the front of a science classroom. The fact that this individual does not do that rings through every page, as he lectures scientists on how science should be taught and clearly has no clue how it is being taught. He also does not appear to have met the average American (if such an animal exists), and gets all or most of his information about this particular group from polls and internet searches. Very little of his information moves beyond anecdotal, and for the few actual facts he cites, there are multiple possible interpretations, and the one he adopts is often a stretch. Overall, a disappointing, rambling work. There are many who have covered the subject much better.
Rating: 4.9* of fiveThe Book Report: The most unnerving reality in today's social, political, and educational reality is that science, which you are benefiting from this very second as you read this review on the Internet, is underfunded, undertaught, and underapprecitaed by the people of the USA and their political overlords. The reason for this is that an insane religious know-nothingism has infected the Body Politic with a conservative (in the worst possible meaning of that never good term) resistance to accepting reality as it is, instead of how one fancies it should be. This book quantifies the horrors on their way down the pike as this horrifying metastatic stupidity continues unchecked and even promoted by the small-souled fear-mongering Yahoos, in the original Swiftian sense, who shout and rail and spew on Fox "News" and the related echo chambers.My Review: This book is exactly as tendentious as my book report is. If you don't already agree with its premise, then you're unlikely to consider picking it up. Which is a pity, in my view. For those of us who already agree, this acts either as a call to arms, or a horribly depressing reminder of how the New Dark Ages have already begun. For make no mistake: Stupidity has more gravity than intelligence, and hate has more than enlightenment. Science has proven too many times that gravity always wins for me to have any hope that Good will triumph over Willful Ignorance.Please prove me wrong. Read this book and get energized to fight the Yahoos. Please.