It was the largest grassroots initiative in US history: The “Science Debate” in reaction to the presidential campaign in 2008 (see Wikipedia entry). Among the scientific organizations supporting the campaign were the Carnegie Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Biophysical Society as well as all the main universities, many Nobel laureate, companies and science media. Some of you might have followed the presentations I gave on this issue (in Stanford, Tallin, Madrid (interactive prezi), Vienna (in German!) etc. — or see my blog posting about our own research activities in this area), because I am truly convinced that such an initiative also needs to be facilitated in Europe (which is what we tried with a few colleagues in Germany 2009 at TELI).
The let’s say “father” of the US Science Debate, Shawn Otto, whom I was priviledged to have some excellent discussions with about the prospect of scientific citizenship, has now written a book about his experiences:
Fool Me Twice:
Fighting the Assault on Science in America
(you can order it here)
For those in the US: There will be a publishing party in MN, next week.
Praise — “This book illuminates the alarming hostility to science in contemporary America by exploring the history of that often-tortured relationship. It’s essential background to understanding why such a smart country is, in this regard, so dumb.” (Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor and author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature)
“We’re seeing right now a titanic battle between the power of science and the power of money–and money is winning. This book explains why, and offers some pointers that might get us back on the right track.”
(Bill McKibben, founder, 350.org and author of Eaarth and The End of Nature)
“Otto makes a case that can’t be refuted. Science is important to all of us, especially the US government. He backs it up with peer-reviewed studies, with carefully researched numbers, and with his own extensive experience. He uses the process of science to prove that we need to invest in science. Here’s hoping some voters and Congress members take him seriously– soon.”
(Bill Nye, the Science Guy®, Executive Director, the Planetary Society)
“Before you vote in the next election, read Shawn Lawrence Otto’s FOOL ME TWICE.”
(Ben Bova, Six-time HUGO Award winner, writer & AAAS Fellow)
“Shawn Otto cofounded an effort that is springing up in several countries across the globe – the idea of having candidates for elected office debate the science challenges the current policy makers seem unable or unwilling to discuss let alone resolve. America and the world owes so much to science, to the discoveries that great innovators translated into benefactions for all mankind. Yet today we have policy makers proud to ignore the consequences of ignorance, oblivious to the connection between knowledge and freedom.”
(Sir Harold Evans, author of They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Hundred Years of Innovators and of The American Century; BBC, Columnist, editor at large, The Week Magazine)