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The Republican War on Science

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  750 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Science has never been more crucial to deciding the political issues facing the country. Yet science and scientists have less influence with the federal government than at any time since Richard Nixon fired his science advisors. In the White House and Congress today, findings are reported in a politicized manner; spun or distorted to fit the speaker’s agenda; or, when they ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Basic Books (first published August 30th 2005)
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The material in The Republican War on Science might have been better served had the book been written by two authors; one focusing on politics and the other on science. Mooney's forte appears to be political journalism, which leaves the book's science somewhat lacking in depth, and renders the work as a whole a bit disjointed. (Also, I often found his sentence structure, particularly when quoting from interviews, to be rather awkward. Instead of writing "Dr. John Smith, a professor of physics at ...more
It's mostly focused on how they bend science in favor of corporate interests. Like Gore's "Assault on Reason," it misses the more interesting story--that conservatism is actually a wholesale critique of the enlightenment, and conservative policies reflect that.
Feb 18, 2008 Summer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in educating themselves.
Recommended to Summer by: Was looking for an interesting read at the bookstore.
I actually read this book twice! Chris Mooney is a journalist specializing in the meeting place of science and legislation. His focus on politics put my current field of interest into better focus. Mooney examines the decisions of the republican executive branch "from FDR to Nixon." Topics covered are extensive, relevant, and powerful. Among such are creation science, global warming, contraception and stem cell research. You have to read this book. It's more shocking than any drama! I couldn't p ...more
I really wanted to like this book. I'm a strong supporter of stem-cell research, women's right to choose, believe humans are responsible for global warming, etc, etc

But this author is just so...uncharismatic. He's condescending, barely touches upon the science of the issues he speaks about and more about the politics (granted, he's a political journalist, but a little more detail on the issues he brings up and less on the completely forgettable names, abbreviations and dates that fill each and e
In February of 2004, this series featured Judith Levine, the author of “Harmful to Minors,” a powerful book about the perils of “protecting” children from sex. In that book, Levine revealed the methods used, and the damage caused by people who take information, twist it to suit particular ends, and in so doing, do damage in real time, and into the future, for a generation of kids growing up ignorant of a vital, primal part of their lives. In her view, truth was immaterial for those obfuscating t ...more
This was so disturbing that I often had to stop reading so that I could catch my breath. Mooney pinpoints exactly what it is about the Christian/Republican Right's habits that infuriate me. They take science - which has managed to give us the best idea we have ever had of where we come from - and pollute the whole process, the whole point, the whole reason why it works. They take a foregone conclusion (abortion is evil, God created the earth in 7 days, etc.) and then cast about for any study/ANY ...more
Jun 17, 2007 Kyle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like science and politics
I really enjoyed this book. It definitely made me think a lot. I could probably write a paper about it. The basic idea of the book is how conservative politicians will manipulate science or lie about science or create false science to fit in their political goals.

For me the most fascinating parts of it were the reasons why conservatives/republicans would make up fake science. For a lot of the issues, it was "big industry" that would fight a claim. Examples include issues like Climate Change and
Sep 15, 2007 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People tired of seeing Science get picked on.
Chris Mooney's "The Republican War on Science" is a fascinating chronicle of the way Republicans (& some conservative Democrats) have manipulated scientific results and statistics to further their own political agendas. Not much can be said about the book that isn't made clear by its title, and it probably is slightly partisan. But the fact is that it would be impossible to write a non-partisan book like this because the record of the Republican Party under George W. Bush is one of complete ...more
Fantastic book. Classic investigative journalism. Chris is somewhat obsessed with evidence and that shows in this book. First, he shows how the Republican leadership has actively participated in or tacitly approved a systematic campaign to undermine the credibility and authority of scientific institutions in our society. You can tell that he's offended by this systematic attack on what we believe to be true based on evidence. But secondly, you can see that he takes this attention to evidence to ...more
This infuriated me. I actually had to pace myself. Of course intelligent design, global warming denial, and the misportrayal of stem cell research were of focus. The ignorant abuse of research to support anti-abortion agendas was extremely shocking to me. I loathe the misrepresentation of research findings.

Uncool, America.

I must mention that Mooney is a gifted communicator and this book is extremely relevant. Definitely read it, but pace yourself...
A great review of the "intelligent design" debacle, the fight against stem cell research, the absurdity of emergency contraception not being approved for over the counter status and a number of other infuriating ways Republicans have undermined science and policy related to it. Highly recommended for anyone who cares about science and politics.
I would have preferred a book written by a scientist, but having a journalist write the book would help someone less familiar with the arguments. Good read for someone who's not a wonk.
Jan 25, 2009 Reb rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
A disturbing account of the active dumbing of this nation. If reading this does not anger you about the future of our nation and our children, I feel sorry for you.
This book is pretty frightening and sad at the same time. You have to wonder about people that Mooney writes about - a lot.
Excellent. Used it to teach my class and it was a big hit. Packed with historical context and recent examples.
Steven Peterson
Chris Mooney begins by noting that (page 11) "When scientific information becomes merely something to be manipulated to achieve a political end, the quality and integrity of the political process inevitably suffer." In addition (page 11), "If Americans come to believe you can find a scientist willing to say anything, they will grow increasingly disillusioned with science itself."

This book argues that Republicans of late have unduly politicized scientific debates. I think that the work may under
Daniel Solera
My brother bought me this book for Christmas knowing my proclivities for current events, namely as they relate to politics. Originally published in 2005, Chris Mooney’s book is a sweeping condemnation of the Bush Administration’s unethical handling of scientific matters. The book follows certain conservative individuals as they criticize scientific initiatives on moral or ideological ground, using heavily biased industry science to support their claims. With these examples, Mooney shows how the ...more
You don't start reading a book like this without knowing what you're getting into: the title kind of makes the content clear. Normally I can't read something that is so one-sided, no matter which side it's on, and I started this assuming that I could apply many of its arguments to both political parties. I was impressed that the author was willing to admit -- repeatedly -- that the political Left has also misused science in many cases. Having some perspective like that (similar to the last chapt ...more
Koen Crolla
I put off reading this book for years because Mooney lost a lot of intellectual credibility in the accommodationism and "framing" wars that were raging in the atheist movement when The Republican War on Science was at the height of its fashionability, but since those seem to be well and truly over over now—and if Mooney has made an ass of himself regarding the current, apparently much more contentious issue of whether or not women are people, I haven't seen it—I thought it was time to give it a ...more
Nik Bramblett
This book is very dated, and concerns itself primarily and perhaps overly with the precise time it was written, 2004. That said, the absurd reframing and bastardization of scientific data to further a specific political agenda, an ongoing issue that takes place across the political spectrum, but particularly among the far right-wing conservative movement, is well-presented and parsed here. "Intelligent Design" pseudoscience, global warming denialism, the skewing of the science behind stem cell r ...more
Pete Guion
I've always liked the Chris Mooney's articles, and I really enjoyed reading his book. He does an excellent job outlining and then following up with multitudes of examples of that part of the GOP has been progressively eroding the foundations of proper science - which also erodes the benefits and its usefulness - so that they can promote an ideological agenda.

The book itself is divided into very logical sections. They cover the basic patterns and tactics that have been (repeatedly) as well as de
One of the most insidious and underhanded tactics of current political operatives is the use of pseudo-science. As Chris Mooney demonstrates in War on Science, it’s not a new practice, though it has reached a volatile crescendo that’s not only alarming, but often drowning out the voices of real intellectual inquiry.

While Mooney’s thesis primarily targets the GOP, he does give difference to both sides of the aisle as he dissects the historical progression of “junk science” from FDR to Nixon to R
Bruce Reiter
This book chronicles the invasion of politics into science and the science role as an honest presenter of information, data and historical trends. The book touches on the major controversies of the day; tobacco and health, climate change, sugar, fast food and obesity, mercury and fish, the Endangered Species Act, sex education, abortion and the "morning after" drug, stem cell, etc.. The author names names and cites documents in the political battles to control or obfuscate scientific testimony. ...more
A look at some of the controversies and disagreements that arise when politics and science intersect. Mooney discusses the rise of skepticism of science and scientific research through various presidential terms. Topics range from climate change to DDT. Mooney gets into the weeds of where and how various politicians and entities clash.

To be honest I was really bored with the book. Although I would be firmly on the author's side in his stances, the writing seemed very tedious. It also seems not r
Bookmarks Magazine

A book titled The Republican War on Science is bound to court controversy, and whether critics liked the book or not surely reflected their own political views and opinion of the current administration. Nonetheless, most reviewers believed that Mooney makes a convincing case that the GOP has launched a systematic assault against unbiased scientific inquiry and that it allows dogma to drive public policy. But critics viewed with skepticism Mooney's contention that the political right has a virtua

I had a tough time finishing this book and though I found it quite interesting in spots, there were chapters that I skimmed. The politicizing (love that word) of science has been going on for a few years, but it seems recently the topics of science are changing quite rapidly and must be acted upon with corresponding urgency. Topics such as stem cell use, global warming, energy use are also controversial and seems the party in power has opportunity to hand pick the "experts" for committees and th ...more
Mary E
This book covers the presidents from FDR through Reagan and Bush I, but then concentrates on Bush II. How have we gotten into the situation where each side has its own scientists who support its political stances? How has it happened that the conservatives have "junked" real science and set up their own scientists as rivals, so that people are supposed to choose which "science" they want to believe? This book explores how we came to this, with the abolishing congressional and presidential office ...more
Before reading:
A couple of months ago I heard an interview of the first surgeon general in the George W. Bush administration. The in the interview, a common theme was the repression of science by the Bush administration. (The administration strategically ignored scientific findings in order to grease the wheels of big businesses that supported them.) I tried to find a book written by the surgeon general (his name escapes me now), but after striking out I found this one instead.

After reading:
The book chronicles the past few decades of our politics and its intersection with science. While the book very obviously blames one side of the aisle more strongly, Democrats are not given a free pass. I think that attempts at balance have reached a point where people find themselves tolerating sketchy, undocumented ideas simply out of a musguided attempt to be "fair." We forget that science is in no way democratic when it comes to ideas. Some work, others don't. The book does a great job of sh ...more
May 16, 2008 P. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Republicans
There is not a lot new here, but there is more depth and connections made. From the irrational 'Intelligent Design', to the chronic assertion that 'Global Warming' doesn't exist and more. It is all here and there is more. Junk science in support of new drug sales is just one facet of an overall ignorance of and contempt for science. The problem with this Luddite approach is that science works. It details results from inputs, it is not just a good idea, it is the law. Ignore it at your peril. We ...more
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Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science and the forthcoming The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality (April 2012). He blogs for "Science Progress," a website of the Cen ...more
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