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Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America







Fool Me Twice book coverwinner mn books awardWinner 2012 Minnesota Book Award.


"Whenever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.”

But what happens in a world dominated by complex science? Are the people still well-enough informed to be trusted with their own government? And with less than 2 percent of Congress with any professional background in science, how can our government be trusted to lead us in the right direction?

Will the media keep them accountable?  Don't count on it.  In early 2008, of the 2,975 questions asked the candidates for president just six mentioned the words "global warming" or "climate change," arguably the greatest policy challenge facing America.  To put that in perspective, three questions mentioned UFOs.

Today the world’s major unsolved challenges all revolve around science. By the 2012 election cycle, at a time when science is influencing every aspect of modern life, antiscience views from climate-change denial to creationism to vaccine refusal have become mainstream.

Faced with the daunting challenges of an environment under siege, an exploding population, a falling economy and an education system slipping behind, our elected leaders are hard at work ... passing resolutions that say climate change is not real and astrology can control the weather.

Shawn Lawrence Otto has written a behind-the-scenes look at how the government, our politics, and the media prevent us from finding the real solutions we need - and offers suggestions about what we can do to change course. Fool Me Twice is the insightful, outraged, and frightening account of America’s relationship with science—a relationship that is on the rocks at the very time we need it most.



A gripping analysis of America's anti-science crisis.

Starred Kirkus Review


publishers weekly

In this incredible book, Otto explores the devaluation of science in America.

Starred Publishers Weekly Review


steven pinker 

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; author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of Our Nature

bill mckibben 

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

bill nye 

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, carefully researched numbers, and 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 congressmembers take him seriously—soon.

—Bill Nye (the Science Guy®)
Executive Director, the Planetary Society

harold evans 

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 The American Century; BBC Columnist, editor at large, The Week Magazine

ben bova 

"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


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