Monday, April 12, 2010

Michael Specter’s new book ‘Denialism’ misses its targets

Book review on, by Tom Philpott

Scientific Denialism is an important topic, but we have to be wary of those who would simply pick winners and losers among those who sponsor denialism; in Michael Specter's book, for example, carbon fuel burners goodorganic food producers bad.  But both make scientific denialism part of their public relations schemes.
But there's another, even more glaring oversight at work here. In a book devoted to "denialism," and "how irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet, and threatens our lives," there is almost no discussion of the most powerful and successful of all the denier cliques: those who insist human-induced climate change is a hoax.
But political and economic power are precisely what elude Specter's gaze. This great defender of science appears to be cursed with something that a love of science should have cured: naiveté. To be sure, the kind of know-nothing, reflexive anti-scienticism that Specter deplores certainly exists; and its adherents need a kick in the pants. Specter's boot misses the target. Moreover, he sees deniers everywhere, except where they are actually powerful and effective: denying climate change.
Unfortunately, to bring seriousness to the issue of climate disruption, it will take just as much work among the "friends" of science as among the "enemies" of science.

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