The War on Science Part 4 - Chapters 11-13 Summary

In the fourth and final part of The War on Science, Otto shifts his attention to the goal: winning the war. He first makes it clear that he believes the economy and the greater well-being of humanity and the planet are in direct opposition to each other, individualism vs collectivism. His analogy of the farmer’s adding to their herds only benefiting them but depleting the greater resources lends itself to the assumption that selfishness pays the individual but steals from the world. Otto discusses how if we want to achieve environmental sustainability, we must make environmental resources an economic commodity and value their preservation and sustainability equally to other commodities. Treating our ecosystem just like any other resource that requires nurturing and careful planning in order to maximize and support.

In the 12th chapter, Otto gets practical. After walking us through the promised topics of The War on Science, we now know who’s waging it and why it matters. His plan for what we can do about the war on science in our present political situation contains 14 ‘battle plans.’ These are:

  1. Do Something
    1. Organized and thoughtful action needs to be taken in order to begin to systematically address the issues of climate change, and other science-related political issues
  2. A National Center for Science and Self-Governance
    1. Voters need to be well informed and educated about science initiatives. Media coverage needs to be addressed in order to provide correct and informative information to the average citizen.
  3. Push for Science Debates
    1. We need to know where our leaders stand on political issues regarding science. Debates break down the wall between science knowledge and the community, making science something that everyone should think about and have opinions regarding regulation. With debates, this could start at the top. 
  4. Using Science Advisors More Effectively
    1. Science advisors need to exist at more government levels so as to ingratiate science thinking and reasoning into the entire democratic process.
  5. Preaching in the Age of Science
    1. Church leaders could and should accept scientific discovery as honoring God. Embracing science as congregation could end many oppositions to scientifically influenced progress
  6. Teachers Should Teach Science Civics
    1. Teachers ought to engage students so as to bring students around to being engaged and passionate about science, via debates and fostering scientific literacy.
  7. Granting Bodies Should Require and Fund More Outreach
    1. Science needs to be accessible to the public, and it is the responsibility of the scientific community to make that accessibility happen
  8. Scientists Should Adopt a Scientific Code of Ethics
    1. Such as, do no harm, tell the truth, ensure research is justified/lawful, participate in civic society, etc.
  9. Business Leaders Should Form a Chamber of Progressive Commerce
    1. The voices with vested interests need to be contextualized.
  10. Diplomats and Elected Leaders Should Use Transformative Foreign Policy
    1. So many factors influence our foreign affairs, science should begin to be viewed as one of those factors.
  11. Candidates Should Sign Science Pledges
    1. Politicians should commit to upholding the value of science in our domestic and foreign affairs, economically, and socially.
  12. Editors Should Insist on Pro-Evidence Journalism, and Investigative Journalists should Target the Fraud of Science Denial
    1. By restoring Objectivity and Pro-Evidence Journalism, mainstream journalists can return to being informative and helpful rather than sensational and dramatic.
  13. Scientists Need to Fight Back
    1. Science can no longer sit on the sidelines and be a-political. Scientists need to lobby, influence policy, and assert their knowledge/expertise.
  14. Voters Should Support Candidates Who Support Science - And Reject Those Who Don’t
    1. Science deniers will be unable to solve our problems moving forward


Finally, Otto wraps up this compelling book with a few pages dedicated to inspiring a desire for change and a realistic call to action. With so much divisiveness, he paints a picture of how belief in science ideology can be uniting - religiously and politically. It is through the power of choice that as a society, we can ingratiate scientific thought into our world or reject it. Many more obstacles will need to be faced, but through belief in the power of science and the dream of discovery, we can overcome.

Lindsey Mooney is a graduate student in the UC Davis Psychology Department. For more content from the UC Davis science communication group "Science Says", follow us on Twitter @SciSays.

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