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Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy

Shawn Lawrence Otto | Scientific American

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 01, 2012

The United States faced down authoritarian governments on the left and right. Now it may be facing an even greater challenge from within

Republican Meteorologist says 'keep track of who the deniers are today'

Poking a Hornet's Nest

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 31, 2012

My recent Op-Ed gave me a chance to summarize how I feel about the politicization of climate science in recent years - how it's become a bizarre litmus test for conservatism.

Americans Deserve a Presidential Science Debate

In an age when the major US challenges revolve around science, we deserve candidates who will share their views on it

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 19, 2012

America needs and deserves a president who can show that he or she understands the importance of basing public policy on the best available evidence, as the founders intended.

Cherry Blossoms, Ice Boxes, BMWs, and Climate Change

The way to counter antiscience thinking is to make science concrete. Hot enough for you?

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 18, 2012

The way to counter antiscience thinking is to make science concrete. Hot enough for you?

Academic Freedom Wins In Cuccinelli Climate Case

Supreme Court Tosses Virginia Attorney General's Attack on UVA and Michael Mann

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 02, 2012

In a big win for academic freedom over the forces of creeping authoritarianism, the Virginia Supreme Court today sided with the University of Virginia in its fight against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's investigation of former UVA climate scientist Michael Mann.

Why is Heartland Institute's president Joe Bast so concerned?

A revised computer analysis incorporates suggestions from the embattled climate denier

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 29, 2012

It's possible that the program identified Bast as the most likely author because so much of the strategy memo appears to be cut and pasted from other Heartland documents. So I decided to take Bast up on his suggestion and rerun my stylometric analyses.

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

A book review of Michael Mann’s saga from the front lines

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 27, 2012

What makes The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars an important addition is the thread of Mann’s evolution in thinking as he followed the simple logic of science where it led, something we want any graduate student to do, and as a result was increasingly forced to defend his work, himself, and ultimately the future of the planet. A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.

The most likely author of the Heartland Institute climate strategy memo?

A computer analysis may suggest the document's most likely author

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 23, 2012

A lot of fuss is being made about the provenance of the Heartland Institute's climate strategy memo. Heartland says it's a fake. I decided to test that.

They're Coming for Your Kids

Heartland Institute's Plan to Brainwash Children

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 16, 2012

Secret documents reveal the corporate and fossil-fuel-funded Heartland Institute's plan to feed kids propaganda in their science classes

Climate Denial Bombshell UPDATED

Heartland Institute's Budget and Strategy Released Online

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 14, 2012

Internal documents show organization's strategy, including a climate propaganda effort in K-12 schools by "providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science."

Missouri, The 'Stupefy-Me' State?

Six Missouri republicans are working to make their kids stupid

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jan 12, 2012

Six Missouri republicans - "the stupefy me six", let's call them - are hard at work trying to make Missouri kids stupid.

Franken, Whitehouse Expose Climate Deniers on Senate Floor (Video)

Two senators deliver a striking colloquy that is an outstanding resource for civics and science teachers nationwide

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 19, 2011

It is shocking that US Senators actually have to rise to defend science. But two defenders of reason and liberty did a great job of it.

Obama is Just Plain Wrong on Plan B

Eight reasons why Obama should reverse his support of Secretary Sebelius's decision on Plan B

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 15, 2011

The last time this happened, it was under Bush administration FDA commissioner Lester Crawford, and it was a major scandal. It should be this time too, and here's why.

Science loses status as a climate arbiter in Durban

South African Climate Summit erodes the status of scientific knowledge in future negotiations

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 11, 2011

Durban ended with an extension of Kyoto, but an erosion of the status of science as an arbiter of future agreements.

Huntsman Goes "Crazy"

"There are questions about the validity of (climate) science" Huntsman Says At Heritage Foundation Event

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 06, 2011

"The scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description of explanation about what might lie beneath all of this." But former Bush economic chief Doug Holtz-Eakin says GOP politicians are taking "positions that are divorced from any reality on the policy and from their own history.”

Climategate 2.0? Pay no attention to the energy industry behind the curtain

New illegal hacking produces - shock - more of the same

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 22, 2011

A new batch of nearly 230,000 illegally hacked emails is up online in the same old places the last batch went up in November of 2009. It seems like old times. But it doesn't change the data.

Congressman to Witness: 'You Just Be Quiet!' (Video)

Rep. Don Young abuses noted historian Dougles Brinkley in stunning display

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 19, 2011

A heated exchange between two congressmen and a historian they didn't want to hear from shows what happens to democracy when knowledge is no longer the arbiter of what is true, but is simply another "way of knowing."

Republicans Cut Top Science Office by 1/3

"Compromise" cut in Congress down from 55% in House bill

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 16, 2011

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) budget by a whopping 32 percent. The cuts "will have real consequences on OSTP's operations," said spokesperson Rick Weiss.

Rustlings From Republican Environmentalists

By guest blogger Barry Bickmore, a Republican geoscientist at Brigham Young University

By Guest Blogger | Nov 16, 2011

Let’s face it–it’s a bad year for Republican Environmentalists like me. About half of the field of Republican presidential candidates once promoted the idea of addressing climate change in some way, but all but Jon Huntsman have backed off this stance to one extent or another.

Climate scientist wins a round for America

At stake is Americans' freedom to express ideas that run contrary to corporations

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 01, 2011

These actions reflect an all-too-common authoritarian goal, a goal that vested interests have pursued since the days of Galileo: forcibly silencing freedom of speech, thought, inquiry and expression that runs counter to the vested interests. In Galileo's 1633 indictment, it was the Catholic Church, then the seat of world political power. Today the vested interests that are being threatened by the measured facts of science are the current the seat of world political power, the US energy industry. But quashing science is anti-freedom and unAmerican, so the try to do it anonymously, through groups like ATI.