Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science
A pull-no-punches guidebook, a la How to Lie with Statistics, to the many ways our elected officials distort science to serve politics.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan created one of the dumbest talking points of all time: "I’m not a scientist, but..." Since then, politicians have repeatedly committed egregious transgressions against scientific knowledge prefaced by this seemingly innocuous phrase. Yet, as science journalist Dave Levitan reveals, that line is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to rhetorical tools wielded to attack scientific findings that don’t cooperate with political agendas. Just listen to Mike Huckabee dismiss climate change as "a sunburn," Donald Trump suggest that vaccines cause autism, or Todd Akin's infamous invention of "legitimate rape."
With a taxonomer’s eye, Levitan captures and categorizes these deceptions by chapter, assigning delightful names like "The Butter-Up and Undercut," "The Literal Nitpick," "The Straight-Up Fabrication," and many more. His sharpelbowed humor dismantles our leaders’ deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected nonscientists.