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The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--And Reality

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The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--And Reality Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why do so many Republicans believe man-made climate change is a hoax? The two most common explanations are that the deniers are uninformed or that they have been bought off by corporate money. Bestselling author Chris Mooney isn't buying either of those arguments. In fact, as he points out, the better educated a conservative is, the more likely he is to dismiss climate change concerns. How can that be?

Part of the answer lies with motivated reasoning—the psychological phenomenon of preferring only evidence that backs up your belief—but in The Republican Brain, Mooney explains that is just the tip of the cognitive iceberg. There is a growing body of evidence that conservatives and liberals don't just have differing ideologies; they have different psychologies. How could the rejection of mainstream science be growing among Republicans, along with the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy, and much more? Why won't Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts? Increasingly, the answer appears to be: it's just part of who they are.

Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas; are less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.

The answer begins with some measurable personality traits that strongly correspond with political preferences. For instance, people more wedded to certainty tend to become conservatives; people craving novelty, liberals. Surprisingly, openness to new experiences and fastidiousness are better predictors of political preference than income or education. If you like to keep your house neat and see the world in a relatively black and white way, you're probably going to vote Republican. If you've recently moved to a big city to see what else life has to offer, you're probably going to vote Democrat. These basic differences in openness and curiosity, Mooney argues, fuel an "expertise gap" between left and right that explains much of the battle today over what is true.

Being a good liberal, Mooney also has to explore the implications of these findings for Democrats as well. Are they really wishy-washy flip-floppers? Well, sometimes. Can't they be just as dogmatic about issues close to their hearts, like autism and vaccines, or nuclear power? His research leads to some surprising conclusions.

While the evolutionary advantages of both liberal and conservative psychologies seem obvious, clashes between them in modern life have led to a crisis in our politics. A significant chunk of the electorate, it seems, will never accept the facts as they are, no matter how strong the evidence. Understanding the psychology of the left and the right, Mooney argues, should therefore fundamentally alter the way we approach the he-said-he-said of public debates.

Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.

Synopsis:

Praise for the Republican War on Science

"Nothing short of a landmark in contemporary political reporting."

Salon.com

"Mooney has bravely tackled a gigantic and complex topic."

The Washington Post

"The Republican War on Science does score some major hits when it takes on ideological campaigns against embryonic stem cell research and for intelligent design."

The New York Sun

"Mooney's very readable, and understandably partisan, volume is the first to put the whole story, thoroughly documented, in one place."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Addresses a vitally important topic and gets it basically right."

The New York Times

"Chris Mooney [is] one of the few journalists in the country who specialize in the now dangerous intersection of science and politics. His book is a well-researched, closely argued, and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists. In almost every instance, Republican leaders have branded the scientific mainstream as purveyors of 'junk science' and dubbed an extremist viewpoint—always at the end of the spectrum favoring big business or the religious Right—'sound science.' Rightists argue that the consensus itself is flawed. Then they encourage a debate between the consensus and the extremist naysayers, giving the two apparently equal weight. Thus, Mooney argues, it seems reasonable to split the difference or simply to argue that there is too much uncertainty to, say, ban a suspect chemical or fund a controversial form of research."

Scientific American

"A careful reading of this well-researched and richly referenced work should remove any doubt that, at the highest levels of government, ideology is being advanced in the name of science, at great disservice to the American people."

Neal Lane, former Director, National Science Foundation

Synopsis:

Bestselling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality—it's just part of who they are.

From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more. Why won't Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

Science writer Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.  

  • Goes beyond the standard claims about ignorance or corporate malfeasance to discover the real, scientific reasons why Republicans reject the widely accepted findings of mainstream science, economics, and history—as well as many undeniable policy facts (e.g., there were no “death panels” in the health care bill).
  • Explains that the political parties reflect personality traits and psychological needs—with Republicans more wedded to certainty, Democrats to novelty—and this is the root of our divide over reality.
  • Written by the author of The Republican War on Science, which was the first and still the most influential book to look at conservative rejection of scientific evidence. But the rejection of science is just the beginning…

Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.

About the Author

Chris Mooney is the bestselling author of The Republican War on Science, the host of the "Point of Inquiry" podcast, and the author of "The Intersection" blog for Science Progress. In addition to three books, in the past he has written for Mother Jones, the American Prospect, Harper's, the Washington Post, USA Today, and Slate. He has appeared on The Last Word, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Book TV, Science Friday, Morning Joe, and Fresh Air, among other programs.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781118094518
Subtitle:
The Science of Why They Deny Science--And Reality
Author:
Mooney, Chris
Publisher:
John Wiley & Sons
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
General & Introductory Political Science
Subject:
anti-science rhetoric
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
climate change science
Subject:
climate skeptics
Subject:
anti-science
Subject:
GOP anti-science
Subject:
the republican brain
Subject:
republican brain
Subject:
anti-science republicans
Subject:
chris mooney
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20120410
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
242.5 x 165.1 x 27.4 mm 19.2 oz

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars
History and Social Science » American Studies » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Culture
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science

The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--And Reality New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$25.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages John Wiley & Sons - English 9781118094518 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Praise for the Republican War on Science

"Nothing short of a landmark in contemporary political reporting."

Salon.com

"Mooney has bravely tackled a gigantic and complex topic."

The Washington Post

"The Republican War on Science does score some major hits when it takes on ideological campaigns against embryonic stem cell research and for intelligent design."

The New York Sun

"Mooney's very readable, and understandably partisan, volume is the first to put the whole story, thoroughly documented, in one place."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Addresses a vitally important topic and gets it basically right."

The New York Times

"Chris Mooney [is] one of the few journalists in the country who specialize in the now dangerous intersection of science and politics. His book is a well-researched, closely argued, and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists. In almost every instance, Republican leaders have branded the scientific mainstream as purveyors of 'junk science' and dubbed an extremist viewpoint—always at the end of the spectrum favoring big business or the religious Right—'sound science.' Rightists argue that the consensus itself is flawed. Then they encourage a debate between the consensus and the extremist naysayers, giving the two apparently equal weight. Thus, Mooney argues, it seems reasonable to split the difference or simply to argue that there is too much uncertainty to, say, ban a suspect chemical or fund a controversial form of research."

Scientific American

"A careful reading of this well-researched and richly referenced work should remove any doubt that, at the highest levels of government, ideology is being advanced in the name of science, at great disservice to the American people."

Neal Lane, former Director, National Science Foundation

"Synopsis" by , Bestselling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality—it's just part of who they are.

From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy and much more. Why won't Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

Science writer Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things; appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts; and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.  

  • Goes beyond the standard claims about ignorance or corporate malfeasance to discover the real, scientific reasons why Republicans reject the widely accepted findings of mainstream science, economics, and history—as well as many undeniable policy facts (e.g., there were no “death panels” in the health care bill).
  • Explains that the political parties reflect personality traits and psychological needs—with Republicans more wedded to certainty, Democrats to novelty—and this is the root of our divide over reality.
  • Written by the author of The Republican War on Science, which was the first and still the most influential book to look at conservative rejection of scientific evidence. But the rejection of science is just the beginning…

Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.

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