Not a Scientist How Politicians Mistake Misrepresent and Utterly Mangle Science

Not a Scientist  How Politicians Mistake  Misrepresent  and Utterly Mangle Science Author Dave Levitan
ISBN-10 9780393353334
Release 2017-01-17
Pages 208
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An eye-opening tour of the political tricks that subvert scientific progress. The Butter-Up and Undercut. The Certain Uncertainty. The Straight-Up Fabrication. Dave Levitan dismantles all of these deceptive arguments, and many more, in this probing and hilarious examination of the ways our elected officials attack scientific findings that conflict with their political agendas. The next time you hear a politician say, "Well, I’m not a scientist, but…," you’ll be ready.



Not a Scientist

Not a Scientist Author Dave Levitan
ISBN-10 039335332X
Release 2017-01-17
Pages 208
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In 1980, Ronald Reagan created one of the dumbest talking points of all time: I m not a scientist, but . . . Since then, politicians have repeatedly committed egregious transgressions against scientific knowledge prefaced by this seemingly innocuous phrase. Yet, as science journalist Dave Levitan reveals, that line is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to rhetorical tools wielded to attack scientific findings that don t cooperate with political agendas. Just listen to Mike Huckabee dismiss climate change as a sunburn, Donald Trump suggest that vaccines cause autism, or Todd Akin s infamous invention of legitimate rape. With a taxonomer s eye, Levitan captures and categorizes these deceptions by chapter, assigning delightful names like The Butter-Up and Undercut, The Literal Nitpick, The Straight-Up Fabrication, and many more. His sharpelbowed humor dismantles our leaders deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected nonscientists."



Brilliant Blunders

Brilliant Blunders Author Mario Livio
ISBN-10 9781439192375
Release 2014-05-27
Pages 352
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We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. And that includes five of the greatest scientists in history -- Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, Albert Einstein. But the mistakes that these great scientists made helped science to advance. Indeed, as Mario Livio explains in this fascinating book, science thrives on error; it advances when erroneous ideas are disproven. All five scientists were great geniuses and fascinating human beings. Their blunders were part of their genius and part of the scientific process. Livio brilliantly analyses their errors to show where they were wrong and right, but what makes his book so enjoyable to read is Livio's analysis of the psychology of these towering figures. Along the way the reader learns an enormous amount about the evolution of life on earth and in the universe, but from an unusual vantage point -- the mistakes of great scientists rather than the achievements that made them famous.



Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me

Mistakes Were Made  But Not by Me Author Carol Tavris
ISBN-10 9780547416038
Release 2008-05-05
Pages 304
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“Entertaining, illuminating and—when you recognize yourself in the stories it tells—mortifying.” —Wall Street Journal “Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it? When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by years of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. This updated edition features new examples and concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves. “A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we’re honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine



The War on Science

The War on Science Author Shawn Lawrence Otto
ISBN-10 9781571319524
Release 2016-06-07
Pages 514
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"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices. Shawn Otto’s compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.



Zebra Stripes

Zebra Stripes Author Tim Caro
ISBN-10 9780226411019
Release 2016-12-05
Pages 320
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Countless children s books pose the question, Why do zebras have their stripes? Many a researcherfrom Darwin and Wallace to T. M. Carohas attempted to answer the same. Zebra stripes are visually arresting, and scientifically perplexing. Their high contrast is unlike anything else found in mammals. Some have hypothesized that the coloration is an anti-predator defense, to confuse lions that approach a herd of stripes. The stripes aren t likely camouflage or crypsis, which has also been proposed, as zebras are easy to see in the wild, and their movements and tail swishing are obvious at even a distance. The animals themselves seem to use other cues for recognition, so the stripes don t seem to be individual identifiers for the zebras themselves. T.M. Caro, who has been studying zebras for several decades, thinks the stripes may be nature s defense against insect bites There is greater striping in areas of the body in regions of greater fly population. Zebra hair is shorter than a fly s mouthpart, making them more susceptible to the irritation caused by the fly s bite. Researchers have since been studying the flies too, to figure out how the stripes don t serve as fly runways. This is a work that explores the various hypotheses for the existence of zebra stripes, and also shares experiences of field based research. The book allows readers to see how ideas are shaped by research, and influenced by observation and experiment alike. Over 18 serious hypotheses are considered, and herds more of outlandish ideas are touched upon as well. The answer is not so black and white, but the question involves terrific science. "



The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge Author Abraham Flexner
ISBN-10 9781400884629
Release 2017-02-06
Pages 104
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A forty-year tightening of funding for scientific research has meant that resources are increasingly directed toward applied or practical outcomes, with the intent of creating products of immediate value. In such a scenario, it makes sense to focus on the most identifiable and urgent problems, right? Actually, it doesn't. In his classic essay "The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge," Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the man who helped bring Albert Einstein to the United States, describes a great paradox of scientific research. The search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs. In short, no quantum mechanics, no computer chips. This brief book includes Flexner's timeless 1939 essay alongside a new companion essay by Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Institute's current director, in which he shows that Flexner's defense of the value of "the unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge" may be even more relevant today than it was in the early twentieth century. Dijkgraaf describes how basic research has led to major transformations in the past century and explains why it is an essential precondition of innovation and the first step in social and cultural change. He makes the case that society can achieve deeper understanding and practical progress today and tomorrow only by truly valuing and substantially funding the curiosity-driven "pursuit of useless knowledge" in both the sciences and the humanities.



The Seasons Alter How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts

The Seasons Alter  How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts Author Philip Kitcher
ISBN-10 9781631492846
Release 2017-04-18
Pages 288
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A landmark work of environmental philosophy that seeks to transform the debate about climate change. As the icecaps melt and the sea levels rise around the globe—threatening human existence as we know it—climate change has become one of the most urgent and controversial issues of our time. For most people, however, trying to understand the science, politics, and arguments on either side can be dizzying, leading to frustrating and unproductive debates. Now, in this groundbreaking new work, two of our most renowned thinkers present the realities of global warming in the most human of terms—everyday conversation—showing us how to convince even the most stubborn of skeptics as to why we need to act now. Indeed, through compelling Socratic dialogues, Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller tackle some of the thorniest questions facing mankind today: Is climate change real? Is climate change as urgent as the “scientists” make it out to be? How much of our current way of life should we sacrifice to help out a generation that won’t even be born for another hundred years? Who would pay for the enormous costs of making the planet "green?" What sort of global political arrangement would be needed for serious action? These crucial questions play out through familiar circumstances, from an older husband and wife considering whether they should reduce their carbon footprint, to a first date that evolves into a passionate discussion about whether one person can actually make a difference, to a breakfast that becomes an examination over whether or not global warming is really happening. Entertaining, widely accessible, and thoroughly original, the result promises to inspire dialogue in many places, while also giving us a line of reasoning that explodes the so-far impenetrable barriers of obfuscation that have surrounded the discussion. While the Paris Agreement was an historic achievement that brought solutions within the realm of possibility, The Seasons Alter is a watershed book that will show us how to make those possibilities a reality.



Pandora s Lab

Pandora s Lab Author Paul A. Offit
ISBN-10 9781426217982
Release 2017-04-04
Pages 288
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What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating--and significant--missteps: from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria. These are today's sins of science--as deplorable as mistaken past ideas about advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations--e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD--as case studies. For every "Aha!" moment that should have been an "Oh no," this book is an engrossing account of how science has been misused disastrously--and how we can learn to use its power for good.



Scienceblind

Scienceblind Author Andrew Shtulman
ISBN-10 9780465094929
Release 2017-04-25
Pages 320
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"A fascinating, empathetic book"-Wall Street Journal Humans are born to create theories about the world--unfortunately, they're usually wrong, and keep us from understanding the world as it really is. Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In Scienceblind, cognitive and developmental psychologist Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies-around vaccines, climate change, or evolution-that plague our politics today.



Being Wrong

Being Wrong Author Kathryn Schultz
ISBN-10 9781846273704
Release 2011-06-02
Pages 416
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Being wrong is an inescapable part of being alive. And yet we go through life tacitly assuming (or loudly insisting) that we are right about nearly everything – from our political beliefs to our private memories, from our grasp of scientific fact to the merits of our favourite team. Being Wrong looks at why this conviction has such a powerful grip on us, what happens when this conviction is shaken, and how we interpret the moral, political and psychological significance of being wrong. Drawing on philosophies old and new and cutting-edge neuroscience, Schulz offers an exploration of the allure of certainty and the necessity of fallibility in four main areas: in religion (when the end of the world fails to be nigh); in politics (where were those WMD?); in memory (where are my keys?); and in love (when Mr or Ms Right becomes Mr or Ms Wrong).



The Political Mind

The Political Mind Author George Lakoff
ISBN-10 9781440637834
Release 2008-05-29
Pages 320
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A groundbreaking scientific examination of the way our brains understand politics from a New York Times bestselling author One of the world 's best-known linguists and cognitive scientists, George Lakoff has a knack for making science make sense for general readers. In his new book, Lakoff spells out what cognitive science has discovered about reason, and reveals that human reason is far more interesting than we thought it was. Reason is physical, mostly unconscious, metaphorical, emotion-laden, and tied to empathy-and there are biological explanations behind our moral and political thought processes. His call for a New Enlightenment is a bold and striking challenge to the cherished beliefs not only of philosophers, but of pundits, pollsters, and political leaders. The Political Mind is a passionate, erudite, and groundbreaking book that will appeal to anyone interested in how the mind works and how we function socially and politically.



Seeds of Hope

Seeds of Hope Author Jane Goodall
ISBN-10 9781455554485
Release 2014-04-01
Pages 432
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In this wise and elegant New York Times bestseller, Jane Goodall examines the critical role that trees and plants play in our world. SEEDS OF HOPE takes us from Goodall's home in England to her home-away-from-home in Africa, deep inside the Gombe forest, where she and the chimpanzees are enchanted by the fig and plum trees they encounter. She introduces us to botanists around the world, as well as places where hope for plants can be found, such as The Millennium Seed Bank. She shows us the secret world of plants with all their mysteries and potential for healing our bodies as well as Planet Earth. Looking at the world as an adventurer, scientist, and devotee of sustainable foods and gardening--and setting forth simple goals we can all take to protect the plants around us--Goodall delivers an enlightening story of the wonders we can find in our own backyards.



The Blunders of Our Governments

The Blunders of Our Governments Author Anthony King
ISBN-10 9781780742670
Release 2013-09-19
Pages 512
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blunder/ˈblʌndə(r)/, n., A gross mistake; an error due to stupidity or carelessness. There are a handful of cock-ups that we remember all too well, from the poll tax to the Millennium Dome. However, the list is longer than most of us realize – and it’s growing. With unrivalled political savvy and a keen sense of irony, distinguished political scientists Anthony King and Ivor Crewe open our eyes to the worst government horror stories and explain why the British political system is quite so prone to appalling mistakes. You will discover why: • The government wasted up to £20 billion pounds in a failed scheme to update London’s Underground system. • Tens of thousands of single mothers were left in poverty without financial support from absent fathers. • Tony Blair committed the NHS to the biggest civilian IT project the world has ever seen, despite knowing next to nothing about computing. • The Assets Recovery Agency cost far more to run than it ever clawed back from the proceeds of organised crime. • The Coalition government is at least as blunder-prone as any of its predecessors. Groupthink, constantly rotating ministers and a weak parliament all contribute to wasted billions and illogical policy. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Informed by years of research and interviews with senior cabinet ministers and civil servants, this razor-sharp diagnosis of flawed government is required reading for every UK citizen. With its spirited prescriptions for more fool-proof policymaking, it will prove to be one of the most important political books of the decade.



The Politics of Scale

The Politics of Scale Author Nathan F. Sayre
ISBN-10 9780226083391
Release 2017-03-23
Pages 288
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Rangelands are vast, making up one quarter of the United States and forty percent of the Earth’s ice-free land. And while contemporary science has revealed a great deal about the environmental impacts associated with intensive livestock production—from greenhouse gas emissions to land and water degradation—far less is known about the historic role science has played in rangeland management and politics. Steeped in US soil, this first history of rangeland science looks to the origins of rangeland ecology in the late nineteenth-century American West, exploring the larger political and economic forces that—together with scientific study—produced legacies focused on immediate economic success rather than long-term ecological well being. During the late 1880s and early 1890s, a variety of forces—from the Homestead Act of 1862 to the extermination of bison, foreign investment, and lack of government regulation—promoted free-for-all access to and development of the western range, with disastrous environmental consequences. To address the crisis, government agencies turned to scientists, but as Nathan F. Sayre shows, range science grew in a politically fraught landscape. Neither the scientists nor the public agencies could escape the influences of bureaucrats and ranchers who demanded results, and the ideas that became scientific orthodoxy—from fire suppression and predator control to fencing and carrying capacities—contained flaws and blind spots that plague public debates about rangelands to this day. Looking at the global history of rangeland science through the Cold War and beyond, The Politics of Scale identifies the sources of past conflicts and mistakes and helps us to see a more promising path forward, one in which rangeland science is guided less by capital and the state and more by communities working in collaboration with scientists.



Einstein s Greatest Mistake

Einstein s Greatest Mistake Author David Bodanis
ISBN-10 9780544808584
Release 2016-10-18
Pages 288
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From the best-selling author of E=mc2, a brisk, accessible biography of Albert Einstein that reveals the genius and hubris of the titan of modern physics Widely considered the greatest genius of all time, Albert Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity and helped lead us into the atomic age. Yet in the final decades of his life, he was ignored by most working scientists, and his ideas were opposed by even his closest friends. How did this happen? Einstein's imagination and self-confidence served him well when he was young. But when it came to the new field of quantum mechanics, the same traits undermined him. Bestselling biographer David Bodanis traces Einstein from the skeptical, erratic student to the world's most brilliant physicist—and then to the desolate, fallen-from-grace celebrity. An intimate biography touching on the romances and rivalries of the celebrated physicist, as much as on his scientific goals, Einstein's Greatest Mistake reveals what we owe Einstein today—and how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws.



The Feminine Mistake

The Feminine Mistake Author Leslie Bennetts
ISBN-10 9781401387662
Release 2007-04-03
Pages 384
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Women are constantly being told that it's simply too difficult to balance work and family, so if they don't really "have to" work, it's better for their families if they stay home. Not only is this untrue, Leslie Bennetts says, but the arguments in favor of stay-at-home motherhood fail to consider the surprising benefits of work and the unexpected toll of giving it up. It's time, she says, to get the message across--combining work and family really is the best choice for most women, and it's eminently doable. Bennetts and millions of other working women provide ample proof that there are many different ways to have kids, maintain a challenging career, and have a richly rewarding life as a result. Earning money and being successful not only make women feel great, but when women sacrifice their financial autonomy by quitting their jobs, they become vulnerable to divorce as well as the potential illness, death, or unemployment of their bread-winner husbands. Further, they forfeit the intellectual, emotional, psychological, and even medical benefits of self-sufficiency. The truth is that when women gamble on dependancy, most eventually end up on the wrong side of the odds. In riveting interviews with women from a wide range of backgrounds, Bennetts tells their dramatic stories--some triumphant, others heart-breaking. The Feminine Mistake will inspire women to accept the challenge of figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives in addition to raising children. Not since Betty Friedan has anyone offered such an eye-opening and persuasive argument for why women can--and should--embrace the joyously complex lives they deserve.