But Specter isn’t much interested in the roots of denialism, much less in engaging productively with it. While his book brims with passion and. That Gibbon is not Michael Specter, a New Yorker staff writer and author of the new book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific. The Specter of Denialism. Conspiracy theories surrounding the global HIV/AIDS epidemic have cost thousands of lives. But science is fighting.

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I cannot deny ddnialism the development of genetically modified foods is scientifically beneficial but he fails to acknowledge the ethics side of scientific discovery emphasizing that he views the issue as black and white even though it is more complex than that. Dec 20, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: Last December Duesberg published a reworked version in an Italian journal,[6.

The issues may be complex but the choices are not: To hear Specter tell it, the only thing standing between the African continent and a future marked by widespread famine is a complete surrender to GMO technology.

Refresh and try again. Please try again later. The book contains good information overall. Two major assumptions underlie it: He does not shy away from discussing the real limits of our scientific feats, but focuses his energy on those places where irrational overreaction to these events has taken over to great detrimental effect. Diseases such as measles which were nearly eradicated are starting to come back because of people refusing to vaccinate their children.

The criticism is not without merit, but while I prefer to hear more dispassionate argumentation, that method is not universally effective. He tries not to be just a cheerleader for science, but he doesn’t end up exploring ethical issues beyond, “We should talk about this” or “We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Oct 29, Pages. Denialism, written by a science writer for the New Yorker, has chapters about the public’s unwillingness to consider all of the evidence on genetically modified crops, vaccines, race-based medical treatment as an intermediate measure until full genomic medicine is available.

Michael Specter’s new book ‘Denialism’ misses its targets

In hundreds of the best universities in the world, laboratories are anonymous, spected, and surrounded by platoons of security guards—such is the opposition to any research that includes experiments with animals. Instead, he plays the role of public prosecutor. From a political point of view, I’m disturbed that all of these are as far as I can see leftie things.


While it is true that waking a sleeping person up is a waste of time, maybe among those who we think pretend to sleep, some are actually sleeping and waiting for the right methods evidence to tackle them to wake up.

But the book was nevertheless disappointing. The next essay covers the contrast between organic and genetically modified GM foods and is a bit of a mess. Mostly focuses on the speccter nutters and organic food and its problems for feeding larger numbers of people.

The Specter of Denialism

I also felt he often did not stay focused on what the book was actually supposed to be about based on its title. Snow’s The Two Cultures are no longer distinct. Also, what sort of pie-in-the-sky future society has created a pocket nagging device that comprehends and interprets how your particular genome will be impacted by every single outside stimuli, but has created no way to assist someone who is genetically predisposed to metabolize caffeine slowly?

In the late 18th century, Edward Gibbon fretted about getting into trouble for his blunt take on the early Christians. If you don’t know something in science, then you are allowed to say that you don’t know. The book, which was written inactually makes the prediction that creating new species using synthetic biology will be a 7th grade science experiment in 3 years. Confirmation bias is a harsh mistress. The early chapters bounce from vaccines to Vioxx, Complementa Confirmation bias is a harsh mistress.

I do appreciate that it gave me some different vantage points to viewing subjects that I thought had only one answer. But the misery is only unimaginable to Americans today because they no longer need to know such diseases exist. Straddling his two wobbly, undefended givens about GMO and organic yields, Specter leaps to the conclusion that proponents of organic agriculture are dooming millions to starvation.

When foreign organizations offered to help the starving people with GMO food, African leaders refused to accept it and instead let the people starve to death.

Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the gap between scientific and technological developments and the public perception of those developments. Michael Specter shows us how to accurately assess the impact of science on these and other essential elements of our daily lives.


I consider myself to be a fairly inquisitive and knowledgeable person when it comes to the things that I endorse. He writes about the lack of evidence denoalism organic food and herbal therapies. Indeed, the few companies involved in GMO seed production have been accorded such extraordinary intellectual property power by the U.

The Specter of Denialism | The Scientist Magazine®

An estimated 88, Americans may have suffered Vioxx-induced heart attacks. It was an okay read. Specter brought up many arguments in this particular book This book is an excellent source of information and proof that our self-inflicted ignorance is limiting progress on denialim massive scale.

Lists with This Book. I admit to having little patience specteg those who ignore all scientific evidence in favor of the anecdotes and non-peer-reviewed information available at the “University of Google”, especially when their ignorance puts others at risk.

I would have loved to read a chapter by Specter on each of these issues and many more. An organic universe sounds delightful, but it would consign millions in Africa and in much of Asia to malnutrition and death. I really wanted to like this book, especially since I agree with the author’s premise that some segments of our society have developed a knee-jerk distrust of all things scientific which is endangering lives, wasting money and distracting us from making scientific progress.

Specter has a good point, but he is so convinced that it’s true that he comes across as shrill in deriding those who don’t believe in the scientific method. Also while he mentions that one reason people are sometimes against GMO is that it gives seed companies greater control farmers have to buy new seed every year instead of re-using seed that they’ve storedhe paints the seed companies are largely benevolent, that it’s a choice to use GMO seeds and that farmers can still continue to use seeds that they can store.

In fact, legally, it means nothing at all.