Political conflict over scientific issues has probably never been as sharp as at present. Issues like global warming and stem-cell research, that came to prominence in the 1990s are being fiercely debated. At the same time, questions that had, apparently, been resolved long ago, like evolution or the US ban on agricultural use of DDT, are being refought. A striking feature of these debates is that, in nearly all cases (the one big exception being GM foods) the fight lines up the political Right, and particularly the US Republican Party on one side, and the majority of scientists and scientific organisations on the other. Chris Mooney’s book, The Republican War on Science is, therefore, a timely contribution to the debate, and we are happy to host a seminar to discuss it, and thank Chris for agreeing to take part.
In addition to contributions from five members of CT, we’re very pleased to have two guests participating in the debate. Tim Lambert has been an active participant in the blogospheric version of some of the debates discussed by Chris. Tim, like the CT participants, broadly endorses Chris’s argument, though with some disagreement on analytical points and questions of emphasis and presentation. To broaden the debate, Steve Fuller was invited to take part in the seminar, and kindly agreed, knowing that he would be very much in the minority. Steve presents a social constructivist critique of Chris’ argument. We’re very grateful to Steve for taking part.
I won’t attempt to summarise the debate since Chris Mooney, in his response, has done an excellent job.
Like previous CT seminars, this seminar is published under a Creative Commons licence, with no prejudice to any material quoted from The Republican War on Science or other texts under fair use principles. Comments are open to all posts; we encourage people with general comments to leave them on Chris’s post. The seminar will be made available in PDF format, once discussion concluded.
If you wish to link to this seminar, use the URL http://crookedtimber.org/category/chris-mooney-seminar/