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  • 1.Anti-science
    Public Ignorance, Rejection and Denial

2. What does it mean to be anti-science?
Broad range of definitions and meanings in the literature
Includes pseudoscience and junk science
To be actively against the values and process of science
An umbrella term that means many things.
3. Anti-science history
Not new problem
Comes in waves
Persistent rests just under the surface waiting for opportunity
Long term trends of progress and knowledge overrun short term trends against it
4. Resistance to change
Fear of reaching beyond comfortable boundaries
Refusal to acknowledge an uncomfortable reality
Common in all aspects. Examples: new ways of doing things, safety implementation, new knowledge, technology
5. Luddites
Tie between anti-science and neo-Luddism
Stop change, stop progress?
Forward into the past
Fear of consequences
6. Troubled by modern science
Dehumanized, not informed by morality
Mastering nature
Out of control
Removing mystery and transcendent beauty
Esoteric, complicated
Expensive what is the benefit?
Ignorance of benefits
7. Off limits
Stem cells
playing God
8. Troubled by modern science
Narrow, dogmatic
Western, masculine, white
9. Dichotomy of the public
Positive about the good from science
Use to solve world problems
Trustworthiness of scientists as experts
Science is dangerous and causes problems
Scientists are industry shills or greedy
Conspiracy of experts and government
10. Science literacy
Lack of
Distorted view of science process, goals, scientists
Poor foundation prone to deconstructing
11. Religion
Incompatible with what science tells us about the world
Religion more important than science to peoples worldview
12. Politicism
Science as a means to battle about contested values
Moral reservations
Power and control
Use of rhetoric, straw man of science, and the blame game
13. Science and humanities
Two cultures (C.P. Snow)
Gap is wide
Science studies
14. Philosophical anti-science
The academic left
Delegitimizing science
New cynicism
15. Postmodernism
Equal views. Science is a point-of-view.
A social construction, a product of the person and times.
Science is biased and exclusionary
16. Science Wars
Science vs humanities
Gross & Levitts Higher Superstition, conferences, journals
Sokal hoax.
17. Denialism
Dismissing established knowledge
Unmoved by data & evidence
Appeal to fairness
Ignores rules of science
18. Republican War on Science
President Bush
Distortion & suppression
Industry interest to preserve the status quo
Hired guns to contort and manipulate scientific data
19. Creationism
Bible as authority/truth rejection of knowledge
Using science strategically for political gains
20. Environmental extremism
Science has destroyed earth
Data not an issue
Simpler life, eschew technology
21. Global climate change
Climate skeptics/deniers
Confusion/Crisis of public confidence
Attacking science and scientists
Promotion of controversy
Misunderstanding science
Difficult to interpret data
22. Backlash
Is it about science?
Or about the ability of people to understand and be able to participate in society?
Feel science is no longer for the public good but for individual interests.
23. Against more than science
24. Spreading anti-science
Media, Internet
Distrust of science in one area spreads to another
25. Countering anti-science
Outspoken scientists
Exposure of anti-science errors and misinformation
Positive public relations
26. Conclusion
Anti-science is against science values, community and results
Science illiteracy is a factor
Anti-science is only a part of the social rejection of information
The public is easily swayed by rhetoric and deliberate deception.
Call for more scientists to be active in countering these views
What happens when society doesnt use science-based knowledge to inform their decision? People suffer. (Sherman)
27. Bibliography
Agin, D. (2006). Junk science. St Martins Pr.
Ashby, E. (1971). The Bernal lecture, 1971: science and antiscience. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 178(1050), 29-42.
Bailey, R. (2001, July). Rage against the machines. Reason, Retrieved from
Bauer, H. (1996). The Anti-science phenomenon in science & technology studies. Science Studies, 9(1), 34-49.
Borlaug, N. (2000). Ending world hunger: the promise of biotechnology and the threat of antiscience zealotry. Plant Physiology, 124(2), 487-490.
Boslough, M. (2010, April). Mann bites dog: why climategate was newsworthy. Skeptical Inquirer, 34(2), 14-15.
Bourcherds, PH. (1999). Science or anti-science?. Eur. J. Phys, 20, 357-364.
Brain, WR. (1965). Science and antiscience. Science, 148(3667), 192-198.
Broder, John. (2010, March 2). Scientists taking steps to defend work on climate. New York Times.
Bronowski, J. (1956). The Real responsibilities of the scientist. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jan 1956.
Bucchi, M, & Neresini, F. (2004). Why are People hostile to biotechnologies?. Science, 304, 1749.
Civilization and Science: in Conflict or Collaboration?. Amsterdam: Associated Scientific, 1972.
Daniels, GH. (1971). Science in american society.
Ehrlich, PR. (1996). Environmental anti-science. Trends in Ecology & Evol, 11(9), 393.
Finneran, K. (1998). The Two cultures revisited. Issues in Science and Technology, 14(3).
Gieryn, Thomas. (1999). Cultural boundaries of science. University Of Chicago Press.
Gregory, Jane, & Miller, Steve. (2000). Science in public. Basic Books.
28. Bibliography
Gross, BR. (1995-6). Flights of fancy: science, reason and common sense. Academic Questions, Winter 1995-6, 45-52.
Gross, P., Levitt, N., Lewis, M. (2008). The Flight From Science and Reason. NY Acad of Sci.
Haack, Susan. (2007). Defending science - within reason. Prometheus Books.
Holton, Gerald. (1993). Science and anti-science. Harvard Univ Pr.
Levins, R. (1996). Ten propositions on science and antiscience. Social Text, 14(1 & 2).
Lewis, M. (1996). In defense of environmentalism. Issues in Science and Technology, 13(2).
Locke, S. (1999). Golem science and the public understanding of science: from deficit to dilemma. Public Understanding Sci., 8, 75-92.
Mole, P. (2004, May/June). Nuturing suspicion: what college students learn about science. Skeptical Inquirer, 28(3), 33-37.
Mooney, Chris. (2006). The Republican war on science. Basic Books.
National Science Board (2010) Science Indicators 2010 report.
Nelkin, D. (1995). Science controversies: The dynamics of public disputes in the United States. In Jasanoff, S. (ed). Handbook of science and technology studies. Sage Publications, Inc.
Newton, S. (2010, January 6). Science denial on the rise. The Huffington Post, Retrieved from
Nicholson, RS. (1993). Postmodernism. Science, 261(5118), 143.
Overbye, D. (1993, April 26). Who's afraid of the big bang?. Time, 141(17), 74.
Rae, S. (1996, Aug). Seen any Good angels lately, or welcome to the eerie world of antiscience. Cosmopolitan, 221(2), 196.
Sherman, E. (2009, March-April). Science and antiscience in america: why it matters. Skeptical Inquirer, 33(2).
Specter, Michael. (2009). Denialism. Penguin Pr.
von Bayer, HC. (1998). Science under siege. Am. J. Phys., 66(11), 943-4.
Wynne, B. (1995). Public Understanding of Science. In Jasanoff, S. (ed). Handbook of science and technology studies. Sage Publications, Inc.