With articles featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Scientific American, Slate, and many other outlets, science journalist Dave Levitan discusses his eye-opening debut book, Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science. Dave will be in conversation with Dave Gilson, senior editor at Mother Jones.
About Not a Scientist: 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 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 sharp-elbowed humor dismantles our leaders' deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected non-scientists.