Don't Politicize Science (Unless You're on My Side): Review of Chris Mooney's 'the Republican War on Science' (Revised and Updated)

10 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2007 Last revised: 14 Feb 2014

Jonathan H. Adler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Abstract

Chris Mooney's Republican War on Science argues that the political right, and in particular the Bush Administration, are guilty of rampant political science abuse, defined as any attempt to inappropriately undermine, alter, or otherwise interfere with the scientific process, or scientific conclusions, for political or ideological reasons. Mooney correctly identifies many example of such abuse by conservative organizations and Republican politicians, but some of his charges are overwrought, if not misleading. Overall the book has three central flaws. First, Mooney has a penchant for characterizing some legitimate science-related policy positions with which he disagrees as abuses of science. Second, he exhibits a blind spot to the misuse and politicization of science by those who espouse political agendas with which he agrees. Third and most important, Mooney pays little attention to the larger institutional context that generates political pressures on science. The politicization of science is a real problem, yet lacking any serious consideration of the broader institutional context in which such politicization occurs, Republican War ultimately fails in its diagnosis and prescriptions.

Keywords: Science politicization, scientific policy, scientists, policymaking process, Bush Administration, political pressures on science, political science abuse, sound science, public science, private science

JEL Classification: K10, K23, K32

Suggested Citation

Adler, Jonathan H., Don't Politicize Science (Unless You're on My Side): Review of Chris Mooney's 'the Republican War on Science' (Revised and Updated). Regulation, Forthcoming; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958826

Jonathan H. Adler (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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