Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why we need a new Enlightenment

More than at any other time since the Enlightenment, we fear science as much as we embrace it. Our technical and scientific capabilities have brought the world to a turning point, in which accomplishments clash with expectations, resulting in a kind of cultural schizophrenia.  We expect miracles, but have lost faith in the scientists, doctors and other experts capable of producing them.  From this contradiction emerges what New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter has written about in his book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. The rejection of reality in favor of a more easily acceptable lie.  It  is a dangerous phenomenon, a contagious one, one fueled by the fear of change.  Where we once celebrated scientific achievement, we now live in a world where denialists wage a war against progress.

My conversation with Michael Specter:

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