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Publisher's Summary

"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 Lawrence Otto's provocative new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons for why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers a vision, an argument, and some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.

©2016 Shawn Otto (P)2016 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

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couldn’t be timelier

In an emergency, medics are taught to look for those that are not speaking among those who are screaming for help. In a similar light, we may be missing those most important scientific voices because they can’t be heard above the din of media attention some unscientific work gets. In the audiobook, The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It, by Shawn Otto, it’s clear that the issue is complex and he doesn’t shy away from the whole story. In this 20- hour volume, which resembles an eloquent offering from the Great Courses line-up, we get the full story from beginning to end, that we as a country, are often in the dark.

The volume couldn’t be timelier as the new administration, whether you are for or against, puts stops on the dissemination of information from the USDA, the CDC, and EPA. Before tackling the current issues, it makes sense to look back at the rise and decline of our leader's desire for scientific evidence.

Who would want to listen to twenty hours of content? Scientists. policymakers, and those with a vested interest in science and government that want the free and transparent distribution of information. The writing is at a very high and sometimes inaccessible level for many and the sheer depth of research would normally make it difficult to digest. However, the logic is sound, the arguments clear, and well documented. The expectation for many would be to listen from beginning to end, but with multiple parts, chronological movement from a presidential policy of one administration to another, it becomes difficult to follow if in that way. It is really, I believe, a great catalyst for upper-level undergraduate or graduate classroom discussion. The book provides a great return on investment for the single credit Audible charges.

About the Narrator

Peter Berkrot is a veteran narrator with a few hundred titles on Audible.com alone. I first listened to him with The Design of Everyday Things, a classic from Donald A. Norman and his voice works especially well for non-fiction. With his readings of the 30-hour Untold History of the United States and other classics, it’s not just a veteran narrator, but a key fit.

Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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excellent

This book is a great listen , the book is well written and well researched. The author does an excellent job in putting forth information to make the listener think . The narration is also excellent, too many times I find that I am listening to a book and do not like the narrator .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Important Read

This is an important book for politicians, educators, scientists, and all individuals who want to be responsible citizens in a democracy. Shawn Otto diagnoses the problem, explains the importance of change, and provides specific recommendations for a “cure“. He explains that, unless we recover our understanding and appreciation of science, the vibrancy of our democracy and economy is seriously threatened. If that assertion seems extreme, see how you feel after reading this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good not Great

Very informative, but slightly pedantic. The what to do about it section not reasonable. Okay.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Terrifying and a Must Read

As a science lover, mother, and human being, I can't recommend this book enough. I'll be tracking down a physical copy for my library.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Essential

This book is essential to anyone in the fields of science, engineering, technology, journalism, politics, theology, etc. I'm not a scientist, just a concerned citizen, and I reccomend this to everyone I know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Definitely worth listening to.

Excellent book. Takes a much broader perspective than books such as Merchants of Doubt, which focus more specifically on corporate interference with and obfuscation of science to protect industrial interests. Otto covers this, but also looks more deeply at cultural and philosophical threats to science, as well as the failure of science to promote itself and nurture its own relationship with society.

In some places the early chapters are a little thinly argued, but I think that's just a consequence of taking a broad perspective and trying to cover a lot of territory in a single book.

The audio is slightly marred by Peter Berkrot's delivery. His voice is fine, but unfortunately he has the intonation of a video game villain. It really isn't appropriate to the subject matter and was very distracting for the first several chapters, although I eventually got used to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too many words, not enough substance

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

His style of breathless excitement punctuated with pregnant pauses conjures up a vision of a revival preacher- exactly not the tone needed. Way too many "air quotes" phrasing.

Any additional comments?

while I already agree with most of the aim of the book, Otto ironically drops the ball on several issues of fact. e.g. I went back to listen again to Ike's farewell speech- he did indeed warn of the Military Industrial Complex, but that had NO spill-over to the Science establishment. Also- I am part of the Baby Boomers who hid under desks & heard the bomb survival instructions. I am not, as are my classmates, horribly scared into an anti-science trance. Did not happen.
Worst, he several times mentions the Toxic Chemicals things in the environment (Pesticides!! Run!!) with no mention of any science about the actual toxicity or effect on human disease. The Skeptical Community spends a lot of time debunking those kind of rants and try to demonstrate perspective. Otto fails badly.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Heads Up... This a hard left version of the war

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Any additional comments?

In all fairness..... I only listened to about 20% of this book before i stopped... (I am only writing this because there was no review that informed me as to the type of book it is)... from the few hours I did listen... I came away with the following distinct impression:

If you're in the camp that takes AGW (anthropogenic global warming ) as a given, and that anyone who does not agree is a "Climate Denier" (on par with a Holocaust denier), ... then this is your book. If you take it for granted that atheistic materialism is the only a-priori understanding for "Science", and that the big bang and evolution (pre-biotic as well as biological evolution) are a fact.....then this is the book for you.

If you think that Science has some more proving to do before it can make these giant claims --- and therefore be able to argue morally, philosophically and politically how you should understand the world..(predominately from a progressive perspective...where consensus driven Scientism properly informs your world-view) then this book will only frustrate you.

.just and an FYI.

Respectfully

4 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Oneeye
  • Fort Worth, TX, United States
  • 02-15-17

Cut it in half

Way too long and repetitive. Very good information, but says the same thing over and over.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful