Matt's Reviews > Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives

Denialism by Michael Specter
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Oct 20, 2011

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Read from October 20 to November 22, 2011

An interesting read and Specter makes a lot of good points about the irrationality of people when it comes to new technologies/foreign capabilities. That said, the writing style was not my favorite and Specter can come off as an ivory tower douche at times, though not as much as is possible with a book like this (which I guess is an achievement).

There were some issues I had with Specter's reasoning. I thought his talk about vaccines was spot on, but when he spoke about Monsanto he framed it as people freaked out about genetically modified foods. That's part of it, for sure, but I find it disingenuous to talk about Monsanto and their haters without talking about the company's actual business practices.

The last chapter also seemed quite out of place. It was a good 20 pages of describing building organisms from scratch, 2-3 pages of why some people are worried about it, and then going into a conclusions for the book. The previous chapters followed a formula of a new technology, why it worried people, and a rebuttal with seemingly equal space for the three components. The last chapter threw this out the window and kind of threw me off as a reader.
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