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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country--all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Indiana University Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, library, science
A key problem with any kind of polemicist--including the scientific kind--is the matter of audience. Is the author writing to convince the wrong-headed, or to win the acclaim of those who agree? In this case, though Prothero includes a number of useful graphs and charts, his tone is that of preaching to the choir. I especially dislike books that seem to want to educate, yet are filled with sneers and insults directed at those the author considers ignorant. However much I might agree with some of ...more
Robert Sparrenberger
I agree with everything this author ranted about for 300 pages. So, four stars for the content. He gets two stars for his presentation. Evolution, global warming, vaccinations and astrology are examined with a few other shorter topics

This author is very angry. He's boiling. As the book progresses he gets even nastier. He hates conservative people and considers them beneath him. He's arrogant and condescending. If you were at a party and were forced to talk to this doctor you would need to run
Peter Mcloughlin
This book covers science denialism and its negative impact on our society and future. Some chapters the denial of science is only a matter of wasting money on quack cures like Homeopathy or Chiropractic medicine or Astrology other times it is a matter of human survival in the near future like Climate Change, Peak Oil, Overpopulation, SDI. The lighter chapters on things like astrology act as comic relief between chapters that are deadly serious like Climate change. The author uses the first ...more
Reality Check is a book primarily about the implications of science denial for the fields of economics, environmental science, sociology, and civics/political science both domestically and internationally. The book is extremely thorough and the author takes pains to clearly explain the scientific conclusions of various topics with extreme implications for the immediate and far future of humanity in such a way that the general public will be able to understand the evidence that supports ...more
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, science
I will summarize my thoughts on this book by quoting a few parts… Richard Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself- and you are the easiest person to fool." So how do we avoid fooling ourselves? How do we avoid getting caught up in weird beliefs and find out what is real? The one method that has worked time and again is the scientific method. The book then covers several political and religious/scientific controversies such as global warming, and evolution.

Justin Powell
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future is a book everyone needs to read. It's a scathing report of what has been labeled as, "denalism" in the United States and also the world at large. What one will quickly learn from this book is that the Untied States stands out like a sore thumb among western, educated, and wealthy nations in regards to denying the reality of science. The book encompasses the topics of global climate change denial, creationism, the anti-vaccine movement, and ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future by Donald R. Prothero

“Reality Check” is an excellent book that covers the most prevalent pseudoscience affecting our planet. Dr. Prothero has a great track record of producing high-quality science books and this one lives up to expectations. This book is a reflection of his professional expertise in geology, biology, medicine and astronomy and his ability to convey said expertise with mastery and clarity. This informative 392-page book
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Close to a Defintive Book on Science Denialism

Donald Prothero’s new book on science denialism, “Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future”, belongs on the shelves of everyone. Not just those interested in the political and policy implications on the latest developments of science and technology, but anyone who is truly literate and seeks to understand contemporary science and technology; in plain English that should be anyone in the English-speaking world. What distinguishes
Bill Leach
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Prothero reviews a number of topics where a significant part of the population does not believe the current scientific view. In each case, he reviews the ideas of the dis-believers and then provides the scientific viewpoint. The book's subtitle is "How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future", and he tries to show the cost of these non-scientific beliefs.

An introductory chapter discusses some of the principles of good science such as correlation versus causation and the relative unimportance of
Bonnie McDaniel
This book is scary and depressing as hell.

Not because it's a bad book. Far from it. It's a full-throated, no holds barred defense of science, reason and the scientific method. The author has no patience for people who don't believe in science, and tears new arseholes in those who don't accept evolution, climate change, peak oil, and other proven scientific concepts. As he points out, if you haven't studied in the relevant disciplines, you simply aren't qualified to comment; therefore, all the
David James
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
There is no getting around the core premise of this book: Americans are scientifically illiterate and we are setting ourselves up for a very painful fall as a result. Also undeniable is the author's openly stated political position that well more than 90% of our national conflict with the existence of demonstrable reality originates in the Republican Party. For those aware of these sad truths, this book will bring righteous rage and deep depression.

Unfortunately this book is dragged down from
David Kent
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
An author of over 30 books on science, Donald Prothero compiles a series of case studies involving denial of science and discusses how they endanger our future. Written in a conversational, colloquial style and a somewhat folksy, often condescending tone, the book lays out each chapter with the denier misinformation and contrasts these with the reality. The book could have used much tighter editing - he's often repetitive and overtly belittling of deniers - but provides exceptional arguments ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oliver Crown
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Although the intentions of the Author are good in principle, his rhetoric and the structure of his arguments are very poorly executed and do not achieve the intended purpose.
The reviewer should have told the author that citing famous people every two pages does not necessarily gets his point across and does not bring immediate validity to his reasoning.

In general, a non-fiction book should never, and I insist on "never", be 325 pages like this one as it obviously becomes extremely redundant.

Jeff Schwartz
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable (for a Layman) matters of science and technology.I really didn't expect too many surprises in this book but, I was pleasantly surprised that in every chapter I learned a new facts but, just as importantly, new insight into how those who, weather due to ideology or their own vested interest, try to marginalize science. The book alternately instilled me with fear and hatred (fear of where our society is headed and anger at those who out of ignorance or ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a dynamite, comprehensive book, with a thorough overview of the landscape of science deniers. Dr. Prothero sets up and then knocks down, one by one, the sometimes jaw-droppingly egregious examples of truly flawed thinking and non-existent science behind the myths used by the clueless and willfully wrong. In this one book there are dozens of excellent examples of bad science, along with hundreds of data points to support Prothero's arguments. I enjoyed discovering and reading this book, ...more
Jo Green
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Prothero explains the loss of scientific literacy in our society and clarifies what science truly is in very understandable language. He also reveals how pseudoscience has prevailed due to financial efforts of large corporations and PR firms (think tobacco companies fighting the cancer link for years). The same tactics are being used to deny science that is essential for progress. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone due to the material covered and the basic language that ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good. What I expected. Preaching to the choir. The one thing missing is what to do about the science deniers. He states, and proves, that it is worthless, even counterproductive, to try and win them over with facts and logic. People are going to believe what they want to believe. So? What do you do? In that sense, I found the book unsatisfying although I agree with almost everything he says about pseudoscience and the deniers.
Brady Clemens
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough; read it, and pass it on to your friends.
Tonya Proulx
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Sep 18, 2013
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Jan 29, 2017
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Feb 20, 2017
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Donald R. Prothero is a Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches Physical and Historical Geology, Sedimentary Geology, and Paleontology. His specialties are mammalian paleontology and magnetic stratigraphy of the Cenozoic. His current research focuses on the dating of the climatic changes that occurred between 30 ...more
“When historian of science Naomi Oreskes surveyed all peer-reviewed papers on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 in the world’s leading scientific journal, Science, she found that there were 980 supporting the idea of human-induced global warming and none opposing it.” 3 likes
“Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence—evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leech down your trousers and pray.” 1 likes
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