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
Congress debates climate change that images make plain
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 03, 2012
Beyond these Orwellian arguments, for a true taste of problems inherent in this discussion tune in to the exchange that happened as Boxer brought the first portion of the hearing to a close.
In an age of growing antiscience politics, fifteen US science and engineering organizations take a stand
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 19, 2012
Fifteen of the top U.S. science and engineering organizations today released a list of the most important science policy questions that presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney should be debating on the campaign trail.
Book Review: Cures for Hunger by Deni Béchard
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | May 16, 2012
A gripping, evocative memoir of the writer's childhood love for his criminal but all-too-human father
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.
Today's antiscience politicians are not going to take America where we need to go
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 27, 2011
America didn't keep the world safe for democracy by pandering to ideological dark agers - we got ahead by using hard-headed science. It's time we get back to it, and start putting America first again.
GOP hopeful joins nutty crowd in revisionist history and denial of science
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 14, 2011
Making a move in GOP presidential primary politics has come to include taking obligatory antiscience positions. Candidates are making increasingly outlandish statements - statements that once would have disqualified serious candidates for president but now are oddly celebrated. You stop in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and then you swear on the bible that global warming is poppycock.
Newt Gingrich, a supporter of Science Debate, goes antiscience
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 04, 2011
I was surprised last week when Gingrich argued that embryonic stem cell research is “killing children in order to have research materials.”
Two of the three leading GOP candidates for president increasingly appear to be unable to discern fact from fiction.
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 15, 2011
The HPV flap is just the latest in a GOP flight into unreason. Bachmann and Perry frequently take policy positions that fly in the face of science.
Garry Trudeau has some fun with Louisiana's classroom creationism kookiness
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 10, 2011
When the Louisiana state legislature adjourned on June 23, 2011, Senate Bill 70 — which would have repealed the antievolution law in effect in the state since 2008 — died in committee. The driving force behind the repeal effort was Baton Rouge high school senior Zack Kopplin, working with the Louisiana Coalition for Science.
We live in a day when students lead the charge for truth, while parents want to sacrifice their childrens' education to satisfy their political affiliation.
Today's GOP seems increasingly anti-science, but it wasn't always so. 80 years ago, the antiscience social conservatives were Democrats.
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 07, 2011
Today the party that most stands for freedom, openness, tolerance, caution, and science is the Democratic Party, which may explain why fifty-five percent of scientists polled in 2009 said they were Democrats, while only six percent said they were Republicans, compared to thirty-five and twenty-three percent of the general public, respectively. Early in the twentieth century this situation was almost reversed. Republican Abraham Lincoln had created the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. Republican William McKinley, who is admired by Karl Rove, won two presidential elections, in 1896 and 1900, over the anti-evolution Democrat William Jennings Bryan.
We have to shame antiscience thinking into submission just like we did racism
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 18, 2011
Yesterday I spoke on the Netroots Nation 2011 panel Science Policy in Unexpected Places with some amazing copanelists here here here and here.
My comment that “Science is never partisan, but science is always political,” and that “we need to shame antiscience thinking into submission, just as we shamed racism” was picked up, tweeted and posted by Think Progress's Brad Johnson. It caused quite a discussion.
At the same time, my old state senator Michele Bachmann spoke at the other end of the Mississippi and reiterated her old position about intelligent design and how "we should teach the controversy."
Nienstedt's misstatements about children erode credibility
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 13, 2011
The Catholic Church doesn't exactly have a great track record on matters of science - for example, the shameful and ridiculous indictment of Galileo:
The proposition that the sun is in the center of the world and immovable from its place is absurd, philosophically false, and formally heretical; because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scriptures.
The proposition that the earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal action, is also absurd, philosophically false, and, theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith.
After that day, science passed Italy by and it faded as a world power.
So it's surprising to see Saint Paul-Minneapolis Archbiship John Nienstedt's latest effort to promote a proposed Minnesota state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage relying on science:
New numbers show the press is doing a lousy job of reporting climate facts
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 08, 2011
Anthony Leiserowitz is out with the Yale Project on Climate Change's annual polling data on Americans' beliefs about climate change.