Monday, August 07, 2006

The Republican War on Science

I recently finished reading another book that falls into the Coke v. Pepsi genre that I described last week. This in my review of The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney

Like nearly all political books you have to take into account the bias of the author when reading. Even with this in mind Chris Mooney does a very good job at explaining the flawed science that influences public policy. He touches on the abuses of science by liberals and personally I think it would have been a better book if he had shown a little more introspection into these events to add to his credibility. In spite of this Mooney shows issue by issue how the Republicans exaggerate uncertainty on well established science like evolution and then ignore the same rules they used to tear down one theory as they present their own counter theory that has even more uncertainty and is less established. He also fully documents several instances of paralyzing any action by simply regulating it to the point that no action is possible.
In many ways this book is much more eloquent at expressing my opinions about the relationship between science and politics. If you think something is a good policy for social, moral or even religious reasons then have the courage to say that. For instance; It is possible to agree that burning fossil fuels is contributing to greenhouse gases and still think that any policy change is premature. Even if I disagree, I can accept that policy. There is no need to exaggerate and try to debunk well established climate science in order to make your argument seem stronger. If you think that abortion is immoral then base your policy decisions on that alone. Don’t attempt to back up your policy decisions by exaggerating the potential of the existing stem cells in laboratories.
This is Mooney’s first book and a lot of it was rather tedious. However, I would recommend it to any scientist or to anyone who believes that logic and reason should have a place in political policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment