How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future
Publication Year: 2013
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 ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientific community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Was 9/11 a conspiracy? Yes, it was. By def_inition, a group of nineteen al-Qaeda members secretly plot_ting to f_ly planes into buildings constitutes a conspiracy. But that is not what the so-called 9/11 Truthers believe. They think that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the Bush admin-istration in order to implement its plan for global domination and a New ...
Preface and Acknowledgments
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This book was originally writ_ten during summer 2010, and extensively rewrit_ten in spring 2012 as events changed many of the points made in the f_irst draf_t. It represents over thirty years of research and teaching on my part, from my f_irsthand familiarity with the issues of creationism and global warming science to the issues of growth, population, and ...
1 Reality Check
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What’s real is what’s real, and, like it or not, no one can change ∙ This scientific consensus on this idea is accepted by 95–99% of all ∙ This scientific topic threatens the viewpoints of certain groups in the United States, so it is strongly opposed by them and those ∙ Their antiscientific viewpoint is extensively promoted by websites ...
2 Science, Our Candle in the Darkness
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Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, Foreign travel is an extremely valuable experience. Not only do you get to see amazing sights that occur nowhere else and receive exposure to languages and foods and cultures very different from our own, but if you travel to the underdeveloped world, you also begin to appreciate how ...
3 Betrayers of the Truth: Selling Out Science
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...with the “body of fact” that exists in the minds of the general As citizens of the early twenty-first century, we have long ago come to terms with the fact that tobacco and smoking are dangerous and addic-tive. Hundreds of studies have shown that smoking and other tobacco use causes a wide variety of diseases (especially cancer, heart disease, ...
4 Making the Environment the Enemy: Acid Rain, the Ozone Hole, and the Demonization of Rachel Carson
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A comprehensive history of great business fortunes would show a disconcertingly large number that were made [in which] the enterpriser devised a silent way to commonize costs while continuing to privatize the profits.Before the 1960s, there was no significant “environmental movement” in the United States. Pioneering writers and thinkers such as Aldo Leopold ...
5 Hot Enough for You? The Heated Debate over a Warming Planet
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Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.On April 8, 2010, former vice-presidential candidate and half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin spoke to the Southern Republican Leader-ship Conference. She mocked the scientific community, calling global warming research “this snake-oil science stuff that is based on the global ...
6 Gimme That Old Time Religion: Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Denial of Humanity’s Place in Nature
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Item: Ten Republican presidential candidates are debating on May 4, 2007. The moderator asks for a show of hands, and three of the ten can-didates (former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former Colorado representative Tom Tancredo, and Kansas senator Sam Brownback) ad-mit that they do not believe in evolution.1 Three men, one of whom who ...
7 Jenny’s Body Count: Playing Russian Roulette with Our Children
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If you want to save your child from polio, you can pray or you can inoculate.Charles Darwin was distraught. His eldest daughter and second child, ten-year-old Annie, was slowly dying of a now-curable disease, scarlet Anne was . . . the apple of her proud father’s eye, his favourite child, he confessed to [his friend and cousin William Darwin] Fox. More than any of the other ...
8 Victims of Modern Witch Doctors: AIDS Denialism
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The whole dissident idea attracted a lot of crazies. And then all of For anyone who was an adult in the 1980s, the specter of AIDS was a horrendous story that transformed the decade and brought an end to the sexual freedom of the Swinging Sixties and Seventies. The issues of the gay community went from being underground to the top of the head-...
9 If It Quacks like a Quack: Snake-Oil Con Artists in an Era of Medical Science
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Nearly all men died of their remedies and not of their illnesses.Before the era of modern medicine and its antibiotics, anesthesia, and antiseptics (which were developed in the late nineteenth and early twen-tieth centuries), medical practices were crude, primitive, and often more dangerous to the patient than going untreated. Doctors were often called ...
10 What’s Your Sign? The Ancient Pseudoscience of Astrology
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Among the weird examples of pseudoscience that are still widely fol-lowed by modern, educated rational people, perhaps the silliest of all is astrology. Its concepts date back to some of the earliest recorded his-tory. The Babylonians were the first known culture to practice a form of astrology over five thousand years ago. Various forms of astrology ...
11 Down the Slope of Hubbert’s Curve: The End of Cheap Oil and Natural Resources
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Item: In response the United States resupplying Israel’s military after their victory over their Arab neighbors in the Yom Kippur (or Ramadan) War in October 1973, the OPEC cartel decides to punish the Western na-tions by slowing down their petroleum sales and production.1 The price of oil quadruples (fig. 11.1) in the United States to nearly $12 a barrel ...
12 Far from the Madding Crowd: Human Overpopulation and Its Consequences
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Democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.All of the issues of resource depletion discussed in the previous chapter ...
13 The Rejection of Reality: How the Denial of Science Threatens Us All
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Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.Blogger and author Farhad Manjoo (2008) paints a chilling (and savagely funny) portrait of how our society has lost touch with reality. Only a decade or two ago, there were just a few media outlets (major newspa-...
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About the Author
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...three years, most recently as Professor of Geology at Occidental University Press, 2013); Earth: Portrait of a Planet; The Evolution Catastrophes! and After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Indiana ...
Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 39 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013