Pros:Very good, rational explanations; Good advice for change
The Bottom Line: This is a very good book for the science activist, offering many viable solutions to the growing problem of science illiteracy and stupidity.
Science has been under attack for some time. What was once regarded as a reliable indicator of the workings of the world is now under scrutiny and the science community often finds itself in a defensive position when all it wants to do is present answers to difficult questions based on evidence and facts. Some in the science community have fought back, pressing to educate the public on the importance of science and pushing the science agenda whenever possible. Education is key, and it is the basis for this book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, a book by science activist Shawn Otto.
Book Facts and Figures:
Fool Me Twice contains 376 pages with the following chapters:
1. Let’s Have a Science Debate
2. Is Science Political?
3. Religion, Meet Science
4. Science, Meet Freedom
5. Gimme Shelter
6. Science, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll
7. American Antiscience
8. The Descent of Thought
9. Teaching Evolution: The Values Battle
10. Climate Change: The Money Battle
11. Freedom and the Commons
12. Talking about Science in America
13. Rethinking Our Religion
14. On Truth and Beauty
Fool Me Twice divides its fourteen chapters into four main parts. Part I includes the first two chapters and addresses America’s science problem; the educational concerns of science and the political ramifications of science in the public sphere. Part II includes chapters three through eight and it addresses the historical problems faced by scientists as they faced religious authorities, monarchs, and others who tried to exert their own authority and prevent scientific knowledge from spreading.
In Part III, the book addresses two of the greatest problems faced today in science: Evolution and climate change. Chapters nine and ten discuss these hot- button issues and show how certain political and religious leaders have turned logic and reason on their heads and tried to push their religion, both as a substitute for science and, in the case of politicians, as a means of vote- getting and control. Part IV and Part V include the final four chapters of the book and they cover the science problems of tomorrow and what needs to be done to solve the science problems and move forward as a nation.
Fool Me Twice is a very good book about a growing problem in America: Scientific illieteracy. It can be seen everywhere, with polls and other official data backing up the fact that Americans continue to sink into deeper levels of stupidity, with many even taking pride in their ignorance. It is a growing problem, and one in deep need of swift action.
Fool Me Twice author Shawn Otto is very concerned about America’s future and he wrote this book as a means to address some of the basic problems faced by America as it struggles to come to terms with science and its place in society. The book first lays down the groundwork by talking about historical confrontations between science and those in authority. The struggles back then are still relevant today- on a more civil and humane level, of course, but still a struggle nonetheless. The frictions are still with us, with politicians and others taking sides in issues that really should not have but one side. The book discusses at length the age- old battles between science, religion, and politics and it points out how science, while certainly not perfect, still has the best overall answers to the Americas and the world’s problems.
Science is an antiauthoritarian practice and in that sense, it fits in perfectly with the American ideals of individuality and freedom. Why, then, are there so many anti- science crusaders in the United States and why do they wield so much influence? The main problems today are purely political and as Shown Otto correctly points out, science activists really have no choice but to enter the poltical realm and fight for the truth. There are also conflicts with religious authorities, businesses, and others, but politics is key and many politicians speak from an anti- science perspective not necessarily because they truly believe what they are saying, but because they think the emotional appeal to religious traditions in many parts of the country will be enough to win votes and win elections. These political motives are unfortunate but they will not go away until the public becomes better educated. Once the public is better educated on science concerns, the politicians will drop the anti- science stand completely because it will no longer win votes. The challenge is educating people and Fool Me Twice offers some good suggestions for ways to improve science education and fight back against those who want to spread ignorance and turn the United States backward several hundred years.
Fool Me Twice presents the problems faced by science very well and it offers many good suggestions for change. One aspect of this book I found very effective is its emphasis on debate and how pro- science individuals can easily win an argument against anti- science authoritarians. This is particularly true when debating against those who try to present relgious beliefs as facts and who try to convince an audience that religion and science are equally valid positions on any issue. This is not true in any way and the book effectively shows why religious and scientific explanations to the world and its interworkings are in no way on the same ground.
Science has an uphill battle to fight as it goes head- to- head with political leaders and others who are determined to dumb- down the populace and use anti- science as a means to win elections. Education is key to winning the fight and it is critical that we fight and fight now to educate and inform individuals on the merits of science and its importance for the future. Scientific illiteracy is a real threat to America’s progress and growth and Fool Me Twice is a very good book for conveying the importance of science and for offering some sound, viable solutions to these many problems.
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