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Publisher's Summary

The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country - all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientific community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.

©2013 Donald R. Prothero (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Donald Prothero is a scientist's scientist.... In this volume you will indeed get a reality check on some of the most important issues of our time." (Michael Shermer, author of The Believing Brain)
"Prothero's treatise will give the science-minded something to cheer about, a brief summary of the real data that supports so many critical aspects of modern life." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Reality Check is sure to piss you off

Would you listen to Reality Check again? Why?

No--only because I rarely re-read (or re-listen) to books twice--there are too many new books I haven't gotten to yet! :-)
That said, it is a good reference tool if I have to challenge a denier on any of the many topics that Prothero covered--so there's a good chance I will revisit parts of the book.

What other book might you compare Reality Check to and why?

"Merchants of Doubt" by James Conway and Naomi Oreskes. Prothero borrows heavily from this book in his first couple chapters.

What about Darren Stephens’s performance did you like?

It was smooth and unobtrusive. Stevens brought a gravitas to the book that often belied the snarky tone Prothero had. Eventually, however, you could occasionally hear some of Prothero's cynicism and snark creep into Stevens' voice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As the title of this review may have clued you in, it does have the ability to piss the reader off--whether you get angry at the science deniers that have infiltrated our culture, our media, and our legislatures, or whether you are an anti-vaxxer conspiracist, climate denier, or believer in homeopathy, Prothero's calling you “ignorant”, “crazy”, “quacks” or “foaming at the mouth loonies”, or whether you are tired of the name-calling in our civil discourse, there is something in "Reality Checks" that is sure to raise the hackles on your neck.

Any additional comments?

Prothero covers lots of ground in this book, with chapters devoted to evolution, tobacco, climate change, vaccines to HIV, the SDI (or Star Wars) Missile Defense System, acid rain, ozone depletion, creationism, population growth, alternative medicines and astronomy, and other advocates of "junk science."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • MANASSAS, VA, United States
  • 07-06-14

A great book for how to identify pseudoscience

If you could sum up Reality Check in three words, what would they be?

thorough, interesting, surprising

What does Darren Stephens bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

the narrator has a easy to listen tone that does not annoy or bore.

Any additional comments?

This book is excellent for anyone interested in why people have unscientific and sometimes harmful beliefs.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Some interesting topics

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes...does a good job highlighting skeptics arguments

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's nonfiction...these questions don't make sense for a book like this

What about Darren Stephens’s performance did you like?

Nothing special

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The chapter on vaccines

Any additional comments?

Pretty good...but very much an introduction for skeptics...nothing too advances

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A book that needs to be read.

It is scary to think that Americans could be so willingly closed minded that we walked off the path to truth into darkness in 2015.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Science vs Pseudoscience

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would recommend this book to a friend because it is very interesting and with her holding a B.A. in Anthropology she would eat this up as they teach evolution in college.

Would you be willing to try another book from Donald R. Prothero? Why or why not?

I think this book was all over the place. Too much back and forth but that doesn't take away the fact that it was an interesting book.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Science is based on methods and theories and pseudoscience is everything else? I think that's what I got from this book. I heard multiple references to science versus creationism. I can agree with what the author said about the Cambrian Explosion but not necessarily the fact that creationists haven't done their homework.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

An unbiased look at both.

Any additional comments?

I received the audiobook free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andre
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-12-15

Interesting but very Left-Winged

Donald Prothero has an interesting way of not blatantly inserting his political stance in his writings while bashing right wingers and libertarians at the same time. I enjoyed this book overall. I decided to listen to it more than once because it was that interesting. I paid special attention to the chapters on global warming denial and the dangers of creationism. The chapter of world resources is also very effective as well. Unfortunately I'm not sure that the ones who need to hear this information will be the message.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful