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Chris Mooney-The Republican Brain: The Science of Why they Deny Science, Reality

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’re too inconvenient, ignored entirely. On a broad array of issues-stem cell research, climate change, evolution, sex education, product safety, environmental regulation, and many others-the Bush administration’s positions fly in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus. Federal science agencies-once fiercely independent under both Republican and Democratic presidents-are increasingly staffed by political appointees who know industry lobbyists and evangelical activists far better than they know the science. This is not unique to the Bush administration, but it is largely a Republican phenomenon, born of a conservative dislike of environmental, health, and safety regulation, and at the extremes, of evolution and legalized abortion. In The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney ties together the disparate strands of the attack on science into a compelling and frightening account of our government’s increasing unwillingness to distinguish between legitimate research and ideologically driven pseudoscience.

Contributing writer Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication, and the host of Climate Desk Live. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science. He is also co-host of the popular podcast Point of Inquiry.

This event will be held at DuVal auditorium and is sponsored by FreeThought Arizona.

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  • Rohn B.

    I fully agree with your last two sentences. The increased use of natural gas is a good bridge to much lower carbon energy sources. As he was mentioning fracking, Chris also mentioned nuclear which conservatives love for all the wrong reasons but appears to me (as an engineer I believe I'm relatively competent to assess the technology) as generally misunderstood by liberals. Likewise, we don't have the space here for the discussion on this point. I've presented my views on nuclear at another related meetup (Tucson Skeptics) and would be glad to discuss them further whenever anyone wants.

    2 · March 12, 2013

  • Jim N.

    I think Chris was a bit weak on some of the Q&A items such as critical thinking and fracing which weakened his cred a bit but some questions may have been out of his field of expertise.

    March 11, 2013

    • Jim N.

      I think David Hosea's summary of his talk which followed our comments was excellent. My

      March 12, 2013

    • Jim N.

      Sorry I hit a the wrong key. The reason I mentioned his fracking example for liberals was because it was a complete disconnect from conservatives on climate change. Fracking is part of the climate change discussion and conservatives embrace fracking the same way they embrace man made climate change. As an engineer I think there is a lengthy list of pros on cons on fracking which we don't have the space here to discuss. It is probably better than coal and tar sands but the full environmental and climate change costs of fracking are substantial. Social costs are high as well.

      1 · March 12, 2013

  • David H.

    As I understand Chris, he was explaining that we are all predisposed to a certain line of thought that is possibly, partly, inherited. It's the old discussion on nature and nurture. Nature is maybe more involved then was once suspected. His data points in that direction though it doesn't entirely eliminate nurture. He also showed that liberals maybe as likely as conservatives to respond inordinately (bias) to certain subjects while lacking sufficient information on the subject despite our vaunted self belief in our superior reasoning skills. He gave some possible examples to support that concept.

    1 · March 11, 2013

  • Jerry K.

    Chris Mooney was a big hit. We had 70 greatful attendees.

    March 10, 2013

  • Susan W.

    I am a maybe.

    March 9, 2013

  • Susan W.

    I am a maybe for this.

    March 9, 2013

  • Jerry K.

    Chris Mooney analyses how Republicans, and to some extent Democrats, look at evidence and reason to make decisions. You will enjoy his presentation of the research that led to his conclusions.

    February 20, 2013

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