'The War on Science' with author Shawn Otto
This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.
It's easy to imagine a golden age in America when science led the way to discovery and democracy. Maybe it's not imagination. Science writer Shawn Otto explores the founding of a nation and how a well-informed citizenry and science-based policymaking created, and could create once again, a more perfect union.
Otto's book The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It serves as a well-researched tribute to reason, the laws of nature, and self-evident truths. (Yes, Otto argues, the addition of the word "self-evident" in our founding documents was nothing short of ... ahem ... revolutionary.)
The book discusses science and religion (was America really founded as a Christian nation?), science and art (how does film fuel science skepticism?), and science and despair (how the atomic bomb left a generation of Americans craving adult supervision).
Otto also offers "battle plans" for journalists, politicians, and everyday citizens, alongside a plea for scientific debate and strong science reporting and education.
The book was published in 2016 and serves as a prescient reminder of the cost of sidelining science.
Lori Walsh is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.