cover image Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten our Future

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten our Future

Donald R. Prothero. Indiana Univ., $35 (392p) ISBN 978-0-253-01029-2

Geology professor and prolific author Prothero (Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters) takes on the science deniers, including creationists, climate change naysayers, and AIDS deniers. Prothero addresses nine topics for which a segment of the U.S. population rejects well-supported science research and knowledge; for each, he begins with background information and data and then addresses the argumenta of the deniers, providing additional data and references. "As scientists, we must be careful when we use words such as %E2%80%98truth' and %E2%80%98belief,' because science is not about believing accepted truths, but accepting extremely well corroborated hypotheses about nature that approach truth in the everyday sense." Prothero discusses the impact of corporate and political interests on science, the demonization of Rachel Carson, the credentials of science deniers, the politics of climate change, and the impact of the anti-vaccine movement. He concludes that "the elephant in the room [is]... the stultifying influence of creationism in U.S. science education." Those who hold opposing views may say that he does not break stereotypes about liberal academics; but he does discuss career scientists and academicians addressing why polarization has occurred. Prothero's treatise will give the science-minded something to cheer about, a brief summary of the real data that supports so many critical aspects of modern life. 39 b&w illus. (Aug.)