How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives
By Michael Specter
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143118312, 320pp.)
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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"A superb and convincing work."
At a time when our planet is in dire peril, Americans mistrust science more than ever. Few journalists appreciate what is at stake better than Michael Specter, who has spent the last twenty years reporting on everything from the AIDS epidemic to the digital revolution. In Denialism, he eloquently shows how, in a world where protesters march against childhood vaccines and Africans starve to death rather than import genetically modified grains, we must reconnect with the rational thinking that has underpinned the advance of civilization since the eighteenth century. What emerges is a manifesto that brilliantly captures one of the pivotal clashes of our era.
Michael Specter writes about science, technology and global public health for the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1998. He has twice received the Global Health Council’s Excellence in Media Award, as well as the Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
At the Ocean Charter School near Marina del Rey, Calif., 40 percent of the 2008 kindergarten class received vaccination exemptions. Author Michael Specter says the parents in this upscale enclave are prime examples of what he calls "denialism." More at NPR.org
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“Specter is both provocative and thoughtful in his defense of science and rationality—though he certainly does not believe that scientists are infallible. His writing is engaging and his sources are credible, making this a significant addition to public discourse on the importance of discriminating between credible science and snake oil.”—Publishers Weekly
“A lucid and insightful book about a very frightening and irrational phenomenon—the fear and superstition that threaten human science and progress. A superb and convincing work.”—Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker staff writer and author of Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point
“Denialism tells stories I know well, at least in outline. But Michael Specter very valuably gathers them under one roof and gives them a name. Specter describes the increasing public willingness to deny the hard-won facts of science in favor of myths and shoddy investigation. In the process, the denialists are enabling disease and poverty, denying the advances of science to those in need.”—David Baltimore, president emeritus, Biology California Institute of Technology
“We are bombarded with information and misinformation about the foods we eat, the medicines we take, the water we drink, the very air we breathe. Michael Specter shows us how to accurately assess the impact of science on these and other essential elements of our daily lives. Written in clear and accessible language, this uniquely valuable book explains an often confusing world."—Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think