Unscientific America

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Overview

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future is a book written by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum and published in 2009. Its premise is that scientific illiteracy and anti-science sentiment are serious problems in the United States. It appears to be arguing that the solution is for scientists to spend more effort on public relations and diplomacy towards groups who feel threatened by science, especially those who are religious – rather than the active atheist stance submitting them to the same standards of criticism to which science is subject. The book deals harshly with those who advocate the latter position.

There appears to be a consensus in at least part of the scientific community that although the book's espoused cause is worthy and noble, its conclusions are poorly argued and unsupportable, and the attacks on atheist-scientists such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers are inaccurate at best (verging on ad hominem in the case of Myers); the authors' apparent willingness to give a free pass to those who are clearly hurting the cause of science further weakens the book's credibility.

The most charitable interpretation of the book seems to be that they do have some positive ideas which they explain with incomplete success but which some like-minded individuals nonetheless find novel and inspiring.

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