My rating: <a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/399953716″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
The book may be subtitled “Why Science Matters’, but actually it’s about a whole lot more than that. The book tackles how science is being used and abused in our political system (and a little about the US political system). However, in taking us through the problems in various areas – such as science in the media, policy making, education, justice and healthcare – it talks about much more than the simple (or rather complex) interface of scientific evidence and method with politics. It talks about expertise, voices that carry more weight than they should and misguided campaigning that actually does more harm than good.
I think the most impressive thing about this book (apart from the references list at the end which is COMPREHENSIVE), is that it doesn’t necessarily cast government as the big bad wolf, and science as red riding hood. It’s not as simple as that. If science expects government to engage with research and use evidence appropriately, then science needs to listen to government and find out how to provide that evidence in the most helpful and timely manner.
In terms of readability, this is a good read. There is nothing complex, convoluted or monotonous in this. You can sit and romp through at whatever pace you like. The chapters are a touch long for my liking, but there’s nothing wrong with the pace of the writing. And even though there is a lot of in depth information about government and policy, the language is not dry or jargon-ified.
If you can get past the conceit of this being a manifesto calling all geeks to action, it is a really enjoyable and informative read.
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