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Who would be the best moderator for a presidential science debate?

Who has the media presence, debate chops, policy understanding and science literacy to lift America to a new standard?

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Apr 06, 2012

Both Obama and McCain attended the Saddleback faith forum because, some say, it was an honor to be associated with Pastor Rick Warren among the mainstream grassroots faith communities. Who could moderate a presidential science debate?

Huntsman Goes "Crazy"

"There are questions about the validity of (climate) science" Huntsman Says At Heritage Foundation Event

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 06, 2011

"The scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description of explanation about what might lie beneath all of this." But former Bush economic chief Doug Holtz-Eakin says GOP politicians are taking "positions that are divorced from any reality on the policy and from their own history.”

Congressman to Witness: 'You Just Be Quiet!' (Video)

Rep. Don Young abuses noted historian Dougles Brinkley in stunning display

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 19, 2011

A heated exchange between two congressmen and a historian they didn't want to hear from shows what happens to democracy when knowledge is no longer the arbiter of what is true, but is simply another "way of knowing."

Republicans Cut Top Science Office by 1/3

"Compromise" cut in Congress down from 55% in House bill

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 16, 2011

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) budget by a whopping 32 percent. The cuts "will have real consequences on OSTP's operations," said spokesperson Rick Weiss.

Rustlings From Republican Environmentalists

By guest blogger Barry Bickmore, a Republican geoscientist at Brigham Young University

By Guest Blogger | Nov 16, 2011

Let’s face it–it’s a bad year for Republican Environmentalists like me. About half of the field of Republican presidential candidates once promoted the idea of addressing climate change in some way, but all but Jon Huntsman have backed off this stance to one extent or another.

The UnAmerican War on Science

Today's antiscience politicians are not going to take America where we need to go

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 27, 2011

America didn't keep the world safe for democracy by pandering to ideological dark agers - we got ahead by using hard-headed science. It's time we get back to it, and start putting America first again.

A Global Warming Primer for Skeptics

Multiple independent lines of data show similar trends

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 25, 2011

Most skeptical conservatives are reason-minded thinkers who are simply too busy to assess vast datasets. Those people should consider the following charts.

Herman Cain Joins Mad Tea Party

GOP hopeful joins nutty crowd in revisionist history and denial of science

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 14, 2011

Making a move in GOP presidential primary politics has come to include taking obligatory antiscience positions. Candidates are making increasingly outlandish statements - statements that once would have disqualified serious candidates for president but now are oddly celebrated. You stop in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and then you swear on the bible that global warming is poppycock.

Oh, Newt. Newt, Newt, Newt. Seriously?

Newt Gingrich, a supporter of Science Debate, goes antiscience

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 04, 2011

I was surprised last week when Gingrich argued that embryonic stem cell research is “killing children in order to have research materials.”

Is EPA's Inspector General Playing Politics?

Report critical of agency instead raises questions about watchdog

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 28, 2011

A report by EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. that criticizes the agency's greenhouse gases endangerment finding is instead raising questions about Elkins and the integrity of the Office of the Inspector General.

BREAKING: EPA Inspector General Criticizes Greenhouse Gas Ruling Procedure

Report requested by climate change denier James "it's a hoax" Inhofe

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 28, 2011

A new report by the Inspector General of the EPA questions the EPA's procedures in making a 2009 endangerment finding about excess greenhouse gas emissions.

The report "calls the scientific integrity of EPA’s decision-making process into question and undermines the credibility of the endangerment finding," according to Sen James Inhofe, the senate Environment and Public Works committee minority leader.

Conservatives Astroturfing a Brave New World (VIDEO)

There is a propaganda battle being fought on the internet to control what you believe

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 22, 2011

Hilary Clinton was mocked as paranoid when in 1998 she said that there was "a vast right-wing conspiracy" out to discredit her husband Bill Clinton's presidency. Since then the network of right-wing media outfits, conservative think tanks, merchant scientists, propaganda videographers and corporate-funded astroturf organizations has been broadly documented.

A Starred Review from Publishers Weekly for Fool Me Twice

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

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 19, 2011

I'm really thrilled to announce they've given my new book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America not just a passing grade, but a "starred review" which they say "indicates a book of outstanding quality."

I knew Bachmann Would Double Down on Antiscience

The Minnesota Congresswoman will redefine reality to win an argument

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 16, 2011

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is doubling down on her antiscience attack against GOP presidential frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bachmann appeared to have scored points at the Tampa, FL Tea Party debate by attacking the Perry over an executive order requiring 6th grade girls to be immunized against human papillomavirus, a leading cause of cervical cancer, calling it "flat out wrong" to force girls to get a "government injection."

Bachmann, Perry in race to unreason

Two of the three leading GOP candidates for president increasingly appear to be unable to discern fact from fiction.

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 15, 2011

The HPV flap is just the latest in a GOP flight into unreason. Bachmann and Perry frequently take policy positions that fly in the face of science.

Meet America’s antiscience assailants

Antiscience activists have attacked Fool Me Twice - even before it is published

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 01, 2011

Virtually all the climate data we’ve gathered over fifty years points to the same conclusion: humans are warming the planet by burning fossil fuels. But the data have no credibility with global warming deniers, who view science and knowledge as opinions that can be argued into submission. There is a vast Army of Armchair Antiscientists – a shadow AAAS – intent on doing just that across a wide range of science findings they disagree with. They are militant, impassioned, cunning and deceitful, and they seek to quash any messaging that does not agree with their narrative.

Rick Perry's AntiScience Character

Perry again insists on ideology, even when it's demonstrably not true

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 18, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is a skilled politician but he shows poor quality thinking when handling policy challenges using knowledge and science.

Gimme That Old Heartland Religion

Energy Industry-funded Heartland Institute engaging in more religion-style climate science denial proselytizing

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 11, 2011

I got an email from Joel Primack, Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Director of the University of California High-Performance Astrocomputing Center at UC-Santa Cruz. He and his wife Nancy Abrams, a writer and lawyer, have a new book out and were on Extension 720, a Chicagoland radio show. Who should call in, but Maureen Martin, the Heartland Institute's senior fellow for legal affairs, and she engaged them in a discussion of denial.

Republican Science

Today's GOP seems increasingly anti-science, but it wasn't always so. 80 years ago, the antiscience social conservatives were Democrats.

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 07, 2011

Today the party that most stands for freedom, openness, tolerance, caution, and science is the Democratic Party, which may explain why fifty-five percent of scientists polled in 2009 said they were Democrats, while only six percent said they were Republicans, compared to thirty-five and twenty-three percent of the general public, respectively. Early in the twentieth century this situation was almost reversed. Republican Abraham Lincoln had created the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. Republican William McKinley, who is admired by Karl Rove, won two presidential elections, in 1896 and 1900, over the anti-evolution Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

Don't Let Satan Fool You

Why Michele Bachmann's ideas about public education are bad for America

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 05, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has made a career out of waging the values battle in the culture wars. A major part of that battle early on in Bachmann's career was the battle over teaching creationism in public school science classes. In fact, Bachmann got her start in politics on the board of a charter school that got in trouble for teaching biblical principles in class. She ran for school board as part of a group of religious conservatives that sought to take it over. She failed, but it was the last election she has lost. Today, the debate over "teching the controversy" has gone mainstream.