But Specter isn’t much interested in the roots of denialism, much less in engaging productively with it. While his book brims with passion and. That Gibbon is not Michael Specter, a New Yorker staff writer and author of the new book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific. The Specter of Denialism. Conspiracy theories surrounding the global HIV/AIDS epidemic have cost thousands of lives. But science is fighting.

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Jan 07, Todd Martin rated it liked it. Specter sees denialism as an anti-science backlash fueled by fear, ignorance, and isolated but highly publicized scandals. There are even some studies which indicate that certain vitamin supplements can do harm. Besides, organic food is itself genetically modified, just because it’s been modified over generations instead of over a couple years doesn’t make it any more natural.

Aug 09, David rated it really liked it. Yes, each of the issues addressed warrant their own book: Jun 05, Anthony Faber rated it really liked it. Specter blithely ignores the political economy of science as it is practiced. The chapter on genomics and the value of having your personal genome sequences was of particular interest to me, as I was unaware that the technology has advanced so rapidly that, contrary to earlier arguments, it actually can offer individuals information that will allow them to take definitive action to address their particular genetic health risks.

Maybe give them what they want, doubled, in a place they will notice its presence. The early chapters bounce from vaccines to Vioxx, Complementa Confirmation bias is a harsh mistress.

Vaccine wars are nothing new in America.

From a political point of view, I’m disturbed that all of these are as far as I can see denialsim things. I found that aspect of the book refreshing because it wasn’t some political rant.

A couple of the people he interviews claim that huge technological breakthroughs are right around the corner, given enough funding. With the world’s population spiraling out of control, genetically modified food may be the only way to feed the world’s hungry. Straddling his two wobbly, undefended givens about GMO and organic yields, Specter leaps to the conclusion that proponents of organic agriculture are dooming millions to starvation. But the author also blithely raises an argument that biofuels will destroy the edible food crop chain, and that is an issue that has been addressed: Or more people begin to have allergic responses to the gene that is now expressed differently—was up- or down-regulated—in the strawberry because of the fish-gene insertion.


Former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy is viewed as a respected source of information, whereas pediatric infectious diseases researcher Paul Offit receives death threats for his scientific contributions. After his son contracted the disease and died at the age of four, he spoke out to urge other parents not to make his same mistake.

But as the population as a whole became less inclined to accept authority on its face, and people witnessed gross scientific missteps such as the Challenger explosion and the Vioxx disaster, public trust began to erode. Two major assumptions underlie it: I always believed that organic was the way to go and “natural” was the way to be, but surprisingly the author did challenge a lot of these assumptions for me and helped me come to terms with a number of ways that this can be taken overboard, out of context, and be just plain wrong.

Interesting review of aspects of modern society where emotional reactions and political positions overwhelm scientific thinking. We live in a world where the leaders of African nations prefer to let their citizens starve to death rather than import genetically modified grains.

Somehow they managed to convince people that snake oil actually constitutes an alternative to medicine based on scientific principles and evidence of effectiveness. He’s not a scientist, but journalists are still perfectly capable of understanding the distinction, if they take the time to figure it out. I’d originally heard the author speak on NPR, and was interested in getting the book, mainly Very, very interesting book to read.

Specter also hates people who are anti-GMO and pro-organic, because they are all denialists by which he says he means people who don’t support science.

The Specter of Denialism | The Scientist Magazine®

Mistrust, in this case, was completely justified. Is that the case? Instead of carefully building up his arguments first, Specter just leaps in and throws spfcter the denialist epithet. It’s also natural that people want to be in control of their own bodies. By contrast, I think of denialism as a style of rhetoric designed to deny the obvious for ulterior motives, or at least introduce enough spurious uncertainty to denialusm decision-makers and delay action.

In this age of instant gratification and online research, so many people are used to getting answers, and the honest truth is that while we are capable specger amazing things, we still are mere mortals. What can be understood and reliably repeated by experiment is what nature regarded as true. Denialism, written by a science writer for the New Yorker, While I agree with the sentiment, the problem with writing a book to call out zealots and denialists is that to do it convincingly and passionately the author comes across as a zealot.


Michael Specter’s new book ‘Denialism’ misses its targets

How do you see through the spin? Denialism is understandable, but that doesn’t make it right. It shows its age a bit—it was published in —by continuing to flay Jenny Denialissm for her hardline stance on the non-existent link between vaccines and autism, rather than flay her for her nearly-as-irresponsible tepid recant.

Diseases such as measles which were nearly eradicated are starting denlalism come back because of people refusing to vaccinate their children. Merck’s own scientists wondered if the drug might cause heart attacks, but Merck never did the research to check, instead it denialiem studies based on cherry picked data to make the drug look safe. May 31, Susan rated it did not like it.

Specter opens Denialism I really wanted to like this book, especially since I agree with the author’s premise that some segments of our society have developed a knee-jerk distrust of all things scientific which is endangering lives, wasting money and distracting us from making scientific progress.

Like the arts, it lives on its patrons—and their interests shape its contours. I could go speecter, but the main point is this: Oct 26, Pages Buy. In the middle part of the century, the authority of science, and our faith in its ability to cure our ills and improve our lives, was much stronger.

He focuses on a different area in each chapter to denlalism about how often fear of rapid change and things they don’t understand plus false correlations cause people to deny the truth in science and technology.

A particular pet peeve of mine – why do people trust politicians or other lay people about climate change more than epecter I have noticed more and more lately that there is a strong anti-science, anti-expert sentiment going around. He first states that 3rd world countries like Africa will not be able to feed themselves without GM.