The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science is a 2005 book by Tom Bethell, the third book in the Politically Incorrect Guides series published by Regnery Publishing, after the Guides to American History and Islam. Some parts of the book were later expanded in the Politically Incorrect Guides to The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.
Bethell, a senior editor at American Spectator, and a former editor of the Washington Monthly aims to deal with what conservatives have seen as the politicization of science. He addresses a number of issues, including global warming, nuclear power, DDT, AIDS denialism and control of malaria, cloning, genetic engineering, intelligent design, the trial of Galileo and the relationship between science and Christianity. On all these topics, Bethell argues that the Left have distorted scientific facts in order to advance their political agenda and to increase the size of government, often through scare campaigns like the risk of runaway climate change. He also states that the Left have tried to censor those scientists who disagree with their viewpoints, regardless of what the best scientific evidence might say.
Critics have argued that the positions advanced in the book are contrary to the mainstream scientific consensus on a wide range of issues, and reflect a political rather than a scientific agenda. In a review for Skeptical Inquirer, Chris Mooney noted:
It offers, in one place, a nice catalogue of all the discredited arguments that are ritualistically used to undermine evolution, global warming, and much else that’s well established in modern science. Rather hilariously, if you look closely at the book's cover image on Amazon.com you will see the tagline "Liberals have hijacked science for long enough. Now it's our turn." "Our turn" to "hijack science," presumably.
Mooney concludes that the book is "a very saddening and depressing read", and that mistakes and individual biases notwithstanding, scientists have "thanks to the scientific process--come up with a great deal of important and relevant knowledge", and that Bethel "radically distorts and undermines their conclusions and findings, while whipping up resentment of the scientific community among rank-and-file political conservatives."
Another review described Bethell as "an ultra-conservative, right-wing religious zealot" that...
...takes the research actual scientists have worked on for years and either twists the findings to fit his own narrow-minded agenda or he simply announces to the world that the efforts of dedicated, trained men and women in the fields of medicine, chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, etc. are just “junk science.” He produces reams of type about subjects of which he has no clear understanding and makes no effort to educate himself on matters pertaining to actual scientific method and study.
- "Government vs. Science by Ryan Setliff". Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- "American Thinker Blog: Statists of Fear". Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- "Rusher: The problem of junk science - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News". Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- "Upping the Anti (Doubt and About)". Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
- The cover has since been changed to state "Its time to set the record straight" — The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science at Amazon.com
- "Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY - More research, less ‘junk’ writing". Retrieved 2008-05-13.