Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left” as Want to Read:
Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  139 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
It's become a truism that conservatives are anti-science through and through. Pundits eagerly trot out the fact that many republicans don’t believe in evolution, don’t believe in global warming, and dislike embryonic stem cell research. If science were constituted of just those three issues, then the critics might have a point. However, as science writers Hank Campbell and ...more
ebook, 594 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by PublicAffairs
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Science Left Behind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Science Left Behind

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 389)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 27, 2012 Ianw19 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited when I first found out about this book. I hoped that it would incontrovertibly debunk many of progressives' unscientific beliefs by rigorously explaining the evidence regarding the safety of GMOs and other agricultural technologies, the importance of vaccines and other mainstream medical technologies, the complexity of humans' innate psyche (as opposed to the "blank slate"), the pros and cons of different energy policies, etc. I was hoping to leave the book with an enriched un ...more

Not horrible in most places. Some criticism of the loony progressives was justified and interesting . On the other hand discussion on vegetarianism and animal rights was often idiotic and misleading. For example, the way they framed Peter Singer felt especially unjustified. Having read Singer myself, the way his position was represented here felt like a strawman totally lacking in nuance. The section on animal rights also demonstrated, in my opinion, 2nd rate ethical thinking that collapses to
Dec 12, 2012 Giedra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely helpful book. The purpose of the book is to show that conservatives on the far right who deny evolution and climate change do not hold a monopoly on anti-scientific thought, explaining how knee-jerk beliefs that everything natural is wholesome and therefore everything unnatural is unwholesome, and failure to correctly assess risk have led to political standpoints on the left that are often unfounded on any true science (such as the backlash against vaccination).

I liked that the book p
Oct 04, 2012 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on how the left distorts science from anti-vaccine to organic food as better and other science that progressives try distort from the real science in order to make them feel good. A book that needed to be written since it is always the progressives attacking conservatives as anti-science it turns out progressives are just as bad if not worse.
Sep 14, 2012 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent discussion of the scientific blindness of progressives, who focus on evolution on other issues while ignoring their anti-science approach to science that truly improves human lives. The book carefully documents the progressive attack on important, life-saving science like vaccinations, using science to improve crop yields and reduce the need for pesticides and support for feel-good (but failed) technologies like solar power.

The authors, both with deep experience in science (Berezow
Mar 16, 2013 Mimi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was the worst "science" topic book I've ever read. The authors were so fixated on blaming and finger pointing progressives for everything wrong in the world, and it had such a negative connotation that you know there was no open-mindedness to other viewpoints. The book was a huge turn-off, not against progressives from my perspective, but just a poorly written book by two guys who call themselves scientists. The authors' viewpoints were unconvincing because it's a whole book full of rantings ...more
May 22, 2013 Harvey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great complement to The Republican War on Science. Both books do a good job of highlighting the anti-science tendencies of "the other side". Taken together, they demonstrate that both sides of the political spectrum respect science and the scientific method only when it comports with their previously held views. Rarely if ever will being wrong on the facts change their minds.
Bobby Jackson
Mar 22, 2014 Bobby Jackson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book did at first have some good critiques of the psuedoscience that unfortunately a lot of progressives buy including organic foods and homeopathy.

...and then came an entire chapter trying , Instead of even considering patriarchy as a possibility, it goes into several bizarre arguments in essence saying that the smartest men are smarter than the smartest women therefore STEM is dominated by men. I stopped reading the book when it said that women go through semen withdrawls and when it star
Christina Mitchell
Oct 10, 2012 Christina Mitchell marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal
I watched the authors' live book presentation on BookTV web stream. Campbell stated that he disliked individuals who used science for their own extremes. I, however, rail against any scientist who proclaims that data is not subjective. It is subjective. (I'll get back to this point in a moment.)

The authors are correct: there are progressive extremists that go too far in terms of their agendas that they actually harm what they are trying to protect. Extremism by any other name is still extremism.
Malin Friess
Nov 18, 2013 Malin Friess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The common perception when it comes to Science is that the Progressive Left is the most informed (evolution, climate change, and stem cells). While the Libertarians and Conservatives are depicted as fearful of science (Creationists, aversion to clean energy, etc) and its implications to their religion.

Hank Campbell believes that that the Progressives do not deserve the title of being "pro science" and here is why:

1) Organic food (Don't buy that #5 dollar banana from Whole Foods). Whole Food war
Oct 26, 2013 Brad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, my. Where to start? While this book had some good points, I had a huge problem with the premise. What the authors define as "Progressives" (the whipping boy of this tome) most people would define as "Loony Leftwing Fringers". I think anti-vaxxers are pretty equally represented on the left and right wings (not a single mention of psycho right-wing antivax cheerleader Jenny McCarthy!). Climate change deniers are most certainly heavily represented on the Conservative side, and since that will m ...more
Jim Wilson
Jan 21, 2013 Jim Wilson rated it liked it
A really interesting book in which the authors make some excellent points about science and scientific thought on the left side of the political spectrum. They do, however, create and destroy a good many straw men in route to their conclusions. They are also prone to glossing over the omissions and commissions of the right side of the spectrum. Interesting read that causes one to examine beliefs, and opinions that are often taken for granted. Any book that arouses strong passions is a good book.
Mar 30, 2013 Greggd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think one reviewer put it best, these guys were a little sloppy maybe, their tone sounded a bit too much like they had axes to grind. Their larger point that anti-scientific thought is not limited to the right is spot on, but they seem to want to rub the lefts nose in it rather than let science do the talking. However, it's maybe the snarky tone that makes this one readable, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have become engrossed in running down citations. Definitely food for thought.
Amanda Haggerty
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I think science denial is pretty prevalent in our society and can be found among all political persuasions.

Consequently, I actually do not disagree with the majority of what the authors present. However, there are many instances where they use some weak arguments (logical fallacies) and a mocking tone to convey his point. This made the book much less enjoyable.
Nick Huntington-Klein
The attitude of a not-insignificant chunk of the left towards science has always bugged me and at times made me feel embarrassed of people I often agree with on a lot. So here's this book to let me wallow in that a while. I get the sense that a few of the things they're critiquing are misrepresented or truly fringe (which they often admit, but then why talk about it?). I can't say I learned too much new in here (except for Obama's environmental record) but feeling affirmed for 250 pages or so ai ...more
Abbie Blumberg
I don't think I can bear to finish this book. Although there are some decent points, overall it is just a whiny retort at progressives calling conservatives anti-science, I think his point could have been made in a 30 page paper and not a 300 page book. It just got annoying.
Richard Kraft
A pretty good debunking of all of the non-science presented by the progressives. They present several areas where progressives and conservatives both abuse science to support their own personal beliefs. As a rational human being, I found this very refreshing.
Ken Silva

Disappointing; talks more about WHAT leftists believe than WHY what they believe is wrong.
Pam Skelton
More science in a science book would have been helpful.
Dec 05, 2013 Yael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Never has this been more true than in the progressive Green movement, thanks to whose good intentions solar energy and other alternative energy projects are routinely scuttled, modern farming practices that are far more efficient and less environmentally harmful than "organic" ones are often sued out of existence, and one of the best protections we have against potentially lethal infectious epidemics, i.e., vaccinations are rejected by scientifica
Danielle Robertson
This book would be fine in small doses but the scope is far too large for one book. There is no long-game, no depth of detail in each topic, and right when I get to the light-bulb moment of each section, we're off to the next topic.
Reading this book on a 6 hour flight really brought the formatting problem to the forefront. Each chapter is based on the format, "This is what you've been lead to believe, and this is why that is wrong/how it was spun to look different". Each topic, be it compostabl
Kyle Bunkers
I decided to read this book mostly to see a different viewpoint. While the authors do tackle and show that there are a lot of anti-scientific viewpoints on the left, I was struck many times by how uncharitable their presentations of opponents' viewpoints was. For example, their treatment of Peter Singer's utilitarian viewpoint was terrible. They didn't even point out that Singer is using an expanded utilitarian viewpoint, instead characterizing it by speciesism alone. Based on this and other are ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The right is not more anti-science than the left; it just has terrible public relations."
"... accusations are founded on a handful of scientific topics on which slightly more conservatives hold slightly more uninformed beliefs than those on the other side. It blatantly ignores all of the uninformed beliefs that those who aren't conservative hang onto."

The authors do a good job of bringing out all the ways in which the left tramples science when it disagrees with ideology, while posturing as "pr
Jan 23, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The authors set out to prove that conservatives aren't anti-science, but in fact, progressives are anti-science. They explain the science and economics of organic food, GMO's, vaccines, clean energy, creationism, ANWR, pharmaceutical research and gender studies. I found this book very interesting, even though I don't consider myself in the science realm. Science has been co-opted by politics and that's not good for the public.

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
Overly bombastic in style and gets a few things hopelessly wrong. In particular the treatment of Peter Singer was horrible, and frequent complaints are made about eugenics. The authors even manage not to get the relationship between Galton and Darwin right (half cousin not nephew!).

That aside the book is a useful summary of leftwing bias in and about science.
Jamie Crouthamel
Apr 09, 2013 Jamie Crouthamel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read and VERY informative. Well written and researched as well, there are plenty of citations for checking in on data. The one problem I had with the books is that it was VERY outright political bashing at some points, which is ok, they stated their intentions in the Introduction and they did just as they said. However, at some points I think there could have been more neutral positioning. It was a turn-off to feel stupid of thinking that perhaps there may be a point to some of the argume ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is nice to hear someone trying to fair to both sides of the political spectrum. I didn't always agree with the authors but I can respect their opinions and in many things they are right. The progressive left does get away with being hostile to science although they can be just as bad as some of the conservatives. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand how science should be treated and how it currently is treated, particularly in regards to progressives.
Charles Lindsey
Bracing but not written for the ages. It makes a noble effort to take political parties out of the question of who propagates scientific stupidity, but since the point of publishing this book is to say "stupid people aren't all Republicans," it really can't be avoided. Nice parsing of the unexamined hypocrisies of the lazy progressive.
Science For The People
Featured on Skeptically Speaking show #193 on December 21, 2012, on our special Book Review episode. This book was reviewed by Ethan Siegel and the review can be heard starting at timestamp 00:09:44.
Sep 23, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you think only conservatives are anti-science (as evidenced by creationism and global warming denial), this book will straighten you out. I wish it wasn't so polemical, but I still enjoyed it. Now if only more conservatives would care about science.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It
  • Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor
  • The Republican War on Science
  • Mad Like Tesla: Underdog Inventors and Their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy
  • The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
  • Science: Good Bad, and Bogus
  • Three A.M.
  • The Eternal Darkness: A Personal History of Deep-Sea Exploration
  • The Secret Family: Twenty-Four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies
  • 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either
  • Here Is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics
  • A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians
  • Time Detectives: How Archaeologists Use Technology To Recapture The Past
  • Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future
  • Across the Pond: An Englishman's View of America
  • Heaven and Earth: Global Warming: The Missing Science
  • Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
  • Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science

Share This Book