Chris Mooney | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chris Mooney 

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Journalist Chris Mooney described his hometown's unique vulnerability to hurricanes a few months ago, in a May 23 article for the online edition of The American Prospect that sketched a cataclysmic "Atlantis scenario" for New Orleans. But the Bush administration--with its lethal claims of ignorance of such a possibility--is only one of Mooney's targets in his new book, The Republican War on Science (Basic Books). Choosing to disregard long-standing scientific advice for political reasons is bad enough, he points out, but it's nothing new, and at least it leaves the process of scientific investigation itself intact. The outright suppression and distortion of science now going on throughout the federal government, he argues, is without precedent. On stem cell research, evolution, ballistic missile defense, climate change, condoms, the morning-after pill, and more, the White House and its religious and corporate allies reach predetermined conclusions regardless of evidence. To do so they redefine words, misstate facts, stack advisory commissions, gag government employees, alter scientific reports, set varying standards of proof, and manufacture controversy where there is none. Thus, lacking support in peer-reviewed journals for its denial of global warming, Chicago's Heartland Institute cites the authority of fiction writer Michael Crichton on its Web site. Of course, Mooney acknowledges, some Republicans know better--and liberals' hands aren't totally clean. But their problems with science rarely rise to the level of systematic falsification. Bush and company may not destroy science, but they're doing their best to drive it from our shores. Thu 9/15, 12:30 PM, Barnes & Noble, DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson, 312-362-8792, and 7 PM, Borders, 830 N. Michigan, 312-573-0564.

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