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New Poll: Even religious voters overwhelmingly want candidates to debate science

Consensus among Protestants, Catholics for science debates, science-based policies; Twice as many think the US not spending enough on alternative energy as do defense

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Apr 03, 2012

It turns out that the presidential campaign staffers have it completely, one hundred and eighty degrees wrong when it comes to science. Overwhelming majorities of American voters want the candidates to debate the big science issues facing the country.

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.

The UnAmerican War on Science

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.

Herman Cain Joins Mad Tea Party

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.

Conservatives Astroturfing a Brave New World (VIDEO)

There is a propaganda battle being fought on the internet to control what you believe

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 22, 2011

Hilary Clinton was mocked as paranoid when in 1998 she said that there was "a vast right-wing conspiracy" out to discredit her husband Bill Clinton's presidency. Since then the network of right-wing media outfits, conservative think tanks, merchant scientists, propaganda videographers and corporate-funded astroturf organizations has been broadly documented.

A Starred Review from Publishers Weekly for Fool Me Twice

"In this incredible book, Otto explores the devaluation of science in America."

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 19, 2011

I'm really thrilled to announce they've given my new book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America not just a passing grade, but a "starred review" which they say "indicates a book of outstanding quality."

I knew Bachmann Would Double Down on Antiscience

The Minnesota Congresswoman will redefine reality to win an argument

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 16, 2011

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is doubling down on her antiscience attack against GOP presidential frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bachmann appeared to have scored points at the Tampa, FL Tea Party debate by attacking the Perry over an executive order requiring 6th grade girls to be immunized against human papillomavirus, a leading cause of cervical cancer, calling it "flat out wrong" to force girls to get a "government injection."

Bachmann, Perry in race to unreason

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.

Science and Antiscience at the Reagan Debate

Continued republican party relevance may hinge on science

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 07, 2011

GOP hopefuls are increasingly stuck between a rock and a hard place: how to satisfy the antiscience foot soldiers recruited into the base because of their passionate energy without alienating general election voters who view those positions as irrational. The battle over science - between Huntsman, Gingrich and Romney on the one hand, and Bachmann, Santorum, Perry and Paul on the other, may determine the relevance of the republican party going forward.

Meet America’s antiscience assailants

Antiscience activists have attacked Fool Me Twice - even before it is published

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 01, 2011

Virtually all the climate data we’ve gathered over fifty years points to the same conclusion: humans are warming the planet by burning fossil fuels. But the data have no credibility with global warming deniers, who view science and knowledge as opinions that can be argued into submission. There is a vast Army of Armchair Antiscientists – a shadow AAAS – intent on doing just that across a wide range of science findings they disagree with. They are militant, impassioned, cunning and deceitful, and they seek to quash any messaging that does not agree with their narrative.

Elected Officials Deny Climate Science as Climate-Related Losses Grow

It's Time For The Insurance Industry To Step Up To The Plate

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 26, 2011

When you look at US losses from catastrophic events related to the climate—storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires—in 2010 and compare them to 1980, their number has quadrupled, but remained unchanged in other categories of loss.

Rick Perry's AntiScience Character

Perry again insists on ideology, even when it's demonstrably not true

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 18, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is a skilled politician but he shows poor quality thinking when handling policy challenges using knowledge and science.

Shaming Michele's Thinking

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."

Can Regulation Increase Freedom?

The Tea Party's hatred of government regulation is misplaced

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 15, 2011

If there was a theme to today's Tea Party politics, Adam Smith might be it. Do we really need laws and regulations? Can't private industry take care of everything, and do it better and cheaper?

In 1776, Adam Smith argued in The Wealth of Nations that an individual, who “intends only his own gain” was, in a shared economy, in effect “led by an invisible hand” to promote the greater public interest, since willing buyers and willing sellers will always arrive at a natural price for things, and the highest value and efficiency will be obtained. “Nor is it always the worse for the society that [the individual’s intention to do social good] was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”

The argument was so well made that it has become an axiom of economics: just get out of the way.

But is it true?

T-paw, learn a thing from Mitt - or maybe not

At least one GOP prez candidate isn't pandering to nut jobs, but that doesn't mean he's making any sense

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 04, 2011

Today Mitt Romney admitted what the educated world already knows: global climate change is real, it's human-caused, and we need to do something about it. It's a lesson in good old American courage to lead that the other "moderate" GOP candidate, my old friend Tim Palwenty, could take a lesson from - almost.

American Denialism

Public statements by GOP lawmakers (listed here) show ideology trumps knowledge in America's new anti-science government

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | May 22, 2011

Science is inherently political. If those who disagree with its findings are allowed to harass and intimidate scientists or quash those results, all Americans lose, and democracy loses. Such acts are cowardly, tyrannical, and deplorable. They should be condemned in the same terms used to castigate anyone who seeks to suppress freedom.