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The Republican War on Science

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,105 Ratings  ·  97 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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Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it

This book is a brilliant piece of investigative journalism: it is a disturbing account of the active numbing and dumbing of the USA cultural environment perpetrated by the neo-conservatives, and of their wholesale attack on the value of science and of the post-enlightenment secular culture, of which the USA used to be a very important example.

The new Right's anti-science, anti-intellectual attitude, and its disdain for “liberal” higher education can be clearly detected in several pronouncements
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: journalism
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
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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...
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related
Reading this in 2017 is super depressing because things have obviously only gotten worse. But this is a great overview of the issue, where it came from, some of the confusing language that contributes to its ongoing appeal, and a few ways to try to improve things going forward.
Apr 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Elliott Bignell
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book may ignite a rage to storm the very gates of heaven. (Except that if you like it you probably don't believe in heaven, being a pinko liberal.) I exaggerate, perhaps, but there is sufficient material to disturb anyone who cares about America and the broader English-speaking world's position as leading scientific societies. Mooney documents an outrageous and systematic campaign to discredit, in effect, science itself wherever it delivers politically or religiously inconvenient findings. ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People tired of seeing Science get picked on.
Shelves: history-politics
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
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
May 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Used it to teach my class and it was a big hit. Packed with historical context and recent examples.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is pretty frightening and sad at the same time. You have to wonder about people that Mooney writes about - a lot.
Bill Sleeman
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It would be easy to say in 2018 that this work is out-of-date and while that is true for some of the examples the continuing efforts of President Trump, Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke along with a corporate-funded (and mostly spineless) Congress to decimate environmental and scientific protections makes Mooney’s work of continued relevance! This work remains an excellent history and analysis of the anti-expert and corporate bias of Washington and the disastrous affect that has had, and will have, o ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well done, but some of the info is dated now, as it was published in 2005. There is so much more to add now!
Mar 06, 2017 added it
A somewhat dated read on efforts by government to bias science in favor of its ideology, and of scientists and corporations often willing for a buck to lend their support. While targeted primarily against Bush II era Republicans, the book acknowledges that both parties are guilty of bending science to serve political purposes.

What else is new? Discerning the truth, if there is truth, is getting harder and harder. Have we always been a two tier society of some willing to seek it, and others will
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
Koen Crolla
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: pol-and-soc
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
Steven Peterson
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Nik Bramblett
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This was actually good and detailed, but I found it a little on the dry side. It was a bit of a slog to get through it. Originally published in 2005, it provided updates written around 2006. This focuses mainly on the Bush administration and their systematic of undercutting of scientific studies. One of their main accomplishments seemed to be the adoption of the phrases "junk science" and "sound science." Basically, everything that goes against their preconceived notions is junk science, and ind ...more
Greg Brozeit
A recent article about a Capitol Hill exhibition of scientific research that had been ridiculed by Republicans ( motivated me to review Mooney's cogent arguments. It is so tragic that congressional Republicans who are most hostile to the scientific method are in positions of committee chairmanships. By politicizing science and denying a wide spectrum of issues ranging from women's health to climate change to fracking; by making these partisan issues and a ...more
Pete Guion
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Claudia Turner
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kind of dry but good information on an important subject. 3.5 stars.
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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Chris Mooney is an energy and environment reporter for the Washington Post.
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