The Republican War on Science

Authors: 
Chris Mooney
ISBN: 
0465046762, 978-0465046768

 

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Does the Bush administration ignore or deny mainstream research to please its conservative base? Have business groups and certain religious lobbies helped it do so? Does Bush-era treatment of scientists differ from that of Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Reagan? Has a Republican Congress passed laws designed to disable clean air and water efforts, and has it dismantled safeguards, such as the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, meant to give legislators unbiased advice? Mooney's passionate, thoroughly researched volume answers these questions with an urgent "yes." A former American Prospect writer who is making his book debut, Mooney uses interviews and old-fashioned document-digging to explain how, over two decades, right-wing politicians built institutions designed to discredit working scientists; how some energy companies have allied themselves with powerful Republicans (such as Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma) to block or reverse U.S. steps to curb global warming; and how the present administration defies expert consensus on climate change, on mercury pollution, even on how to read statistics. Mooney tracks Bush White House efforts to spread misinformation about stem cells; the work of religious right regulators like Dr. David Hager (formerly on the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs advisory committee) in restricting access to birth control; and the attempts of the Discovery Institute (and other think tanks linked to the Bush base) to fight the teaching of evolution. In the past five years, Mooney documents, many formerly apolitical physicists, biologists and doctors have come to believe there is a "pattern" of science abuse under Bush, a push back against the methods of science itself. Conservatives may react with indignation; liberals, moderates and working scientists will find few surprises,but Mooney's very readable, and understandably partisan, volume is the first to put the whole story, thoroughly documented, in one place. 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Mooney performs a useful service by researching all the details and interviewing as many of the protagonists as possible. He also enriches the narrative with much historical context, tracing over decades a gradual politicization of science that has culminated in the present farce." The Guardian "Chris Mooney, a liberal investigative journalist, has bravely decided to thwack his way into this jungle of propaganda and lies on our behalf...definitive...disturbing..." Independent on Sunday "Mooney takes several un-related charged debates - on climate change, stem-cell research, whether abortion harms women - and stitches them together to form... a pretty convincing tapestry". The Times "...Chris Mooney argues persuasively that the Bush Administration's hostility to science is not limited to denial of global warming and evolution, but spans the field, from family planning to missile defence. He is particularly illuminating about tactics: the method is not simply to rubbish the experts, but to sow doubt by nurturing a handful of maverick dissenters, so the non-expert public is left wondering who to believe." The Times (Best Science Books of 2005) "Rather than representing an isolated incident, Chris Mooney argues that the "hoax" argument about climate change forms part of a systematic undermining of science on the part of the Bush administration, which connects the teaching of creationism in schools to embryonic stem-cells and child obesity to the depletion of the ozone layers." The Irish Times "a valuable chronicle of Bush's persistent efforts to undermine the authority of science in the interests of his anti-regulatory and anti-abortion agendas." London Review of Books "The book is a well researched guide to the recent history and has to be praised in its original analysis of the tactics used by the new Right to starve the scientific advisory apparatus and in its bringing out the confrontational nature of the attitudes of the Bush Administration and its allies. It should be read by Americans and will be interesting to scientists everywhere. We should be grateful to Chris Mooney for his diligence." Time Higher Education Supplement "The American conservative movement, as Chris Mooney points out in this fiercely anti-Republican book, has brought together two powerful constituencies - big industry and the religious right - both of which have an interest in skewing scientific advice so that it says what they want to hear... (his) case is so appealing, his examples so glaring..." New Statesman"