Must we be equal opportunity critics in all cases, or should we blunt our barbs lest they injure our friends?
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Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, podcaster, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of four books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science and The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.
Chris blogs for “Science Progress,” a website of the Center for American Progress. He is a host of the Point of Inquiry podcast and was recently seen on BBC 2 guest hosting a segment of “The Culture Show.”
In the past, Chris has also been visiting associate in the Center for Collaborative History at Princeton University, a 2009-2010 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and a Templeton-Cambridge Fellow in Science and Religion. He is also a contributing editor to Science Progress and a senior correspondent for The American Prospect magazine.
Chris has been featured regularly by the national media, having appeared on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and “The Last Word,” CSPAN’s Book TV, and NPR’s Fresh Air With Terry Gross and Science Friday (here and here), among many other television and radio programs.
Among other accolades, in 2005 Chris was named one of Wired magazine’s ten “sexiest geeks.” In addition, The Republican War on Science was named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in the category of “Science and Technology,” and Chris’s Mother Jones feature story about ExxonMobil, conservative think tanks, and climate change was nominated for a National Magazine Award in the “public interest” category (as part of a cover package on global warming).
Chris’s 2005 article for Seed magazine on the Dover evolution trial was included in the volume Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006. In 2006, Chris won the “Preserving Core Values in Science” award from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. His 2009 article for The Nation, “Unpopular Science” (co-authored with Sheril Kirshenbaum) was included in Best American Science Writing 2010.
Chris was born in Mesa, Arizona, and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana; he graduated from Yale University in 1999, where he wrote a column for the Yale Daily News. Before becoming a freelance writer, Chris worked for two years at The American Prospect as a writing fellow, then staff writer, then online editor (where he helped to create the popular blog Tapped).
Chris has contributed to a wide variety of other publications in recent years, including Wired, Science, Harper’s, Seed, New Scientist, Slate, Salon, Mother Jones, Legal Affairs, Reason, The American Scholar, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, Columbia Journalism Review,The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. In addition, Chris’s blog, “The Intersection,” was a recipient of Scientific American’s 2005 Science and Technology web award, which noted that “science is lucky to have such a staunch ally in acclaimed journalist Chris Mooney.”
Chris speaks regularly at academic meetings, bookstores, university campuses, and other events. He has appeared at distinguished universities including the Harvard Medical School, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Rockefeller University, and Duke University Medical Center; at major venues such as the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and Town Hall Seattle; and at bookstores across the country, ranging from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida to Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. In 2006, he was the keynote speaker for the 43rd Annual Dinner of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties and the Edward Lamb Peace Lecturer at Bowling Green State University. In 2007, he was the opening plenary speaker at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne, Australia.
And then came the powerful defenses of Gore, the skewerings of the Gore deranged, and just general voicing of reason. Alas, the Gore defenders, while being broadly accurate about Gore's “broadly accurate” film, also seem to have missed some key matters that bear addressing.
So let's add some needed perspective here.A DeSmogBlog exclusive weekly column by best-selling author and science writer, Chris Mooney.
I have a confession to make. In a weird sort of way, I actually find it kind of fun to whale on various U.S. Republicans–like James “Flat-Earth-Doesn't-Only-Refer- to-Oklahoma” Inhofe–for their out-of-touch stances on global warming.
But in truth, as I recently surveyed the various presidential candidates' stances on global warming–helpfully compiled here–I actually found considerable grounds for optimism.
Even when it came to the Republicans…no, especially when it came to the Republicans.
At least to my mind, last week was extremely significant. Last week, George W. Bush for the first time believably acknowledged that human beings are the principal cause of global warming.
Now, I know, I know: There are a few instances from the past where if you listen really, really closely, Bush sorta kinda said as much. But then he would come out and say something else different and contradictory–or Dick Cheney would.
Or Bush would get revealed to have gotten his science advice from Michael Crichton.
Anyways, something would always happen to make you slide the administration right back into the “skeptic”/denialist camp again.
You probably heard already: The “Death of Environmentalism” guys are back, once again explaining the follies of the green movement.
Their new book, Break Through , has created a lot of chatter with its argument that enviros are too darn pessimistic, and repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot with command-and-control regulatory thinking and doom and gloom talking.
Poor Jack Marburger.
He’s played science adviser to an anti-science president for a long, long time. First, in 2001, Marburger was appointed very late to his post with a reduced and less than cabinet-level rank—a status considerably lower than that of his science advising predecessors from the Clinton administration. This led even Marburger’s presumptive allies in the scientific community to single him out as an ominous example of how the new administration seemed inclined to approach science. So before he even started his job Marburger was on the defensive.
That can’t have felt good.
Watching the latest brouhaha over science historian Naomi Oreskes' now almost three-year-old article in Science–which found an extremely strong consensus on human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature–something struck me.
It occurred to me the global warming “skeptics” who repeatedly attacking Oreskes' study are, in their own way, dramatically dependent upon it. They need to have this study around to criticize. If it didn't exist, they'd probably have to invent it.
Chris Mooney's weekly DeSmogBlog dispatch.
The Danish environmental apostate Bjorn Lomborg is at it again.
Lomborg has a new book out, and just like his last one (The Skeptical Environmentalist), it's drawing strong criticism. Lomborg's argument isn't that global warming is a hoax–thank goodness, we're mostly past that. Instead, he merely argues that climate change is not as big a deal as some think (e.g., Al Gore)–and further, that it doesn't make good economic sense to take dramatic steps to address the problem by imposing mandatory emissions caps.