Michael Specter is a staff writer for the New Yorker. His new book, Denialism, asks why we have increasingly begun to fear scientific advances instead of embracing them.

Why you should listen

Michael Specter's new book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives, dives into a worrisome strain of modern life -- a vocal anti-science bias that may prevent us from making the right choices for our future. Specter studies how the active movements against vaccines, genetically engineered food, science-based medicine and biotechnological solutions to climate change may actually put the world at risk. (For instance, anti-vaccination activists could soon trigger the US return of polio, not to mention the continuing rise of measles.) More insidiously, the chilling effect caused by the new denialism may prevent useful science from being accomplished.

Specter has been a writer for the New Yorker for more than a decade; before that, he was a science writer and then the Moscow bureau chief for the New York Times. He writes about science and politics for the New Yorker, with a fascinating sideline in biographical profiles.

What others say

“Denialism is a virus and viruses are contagious.” — Michael Specter

Michael Specter’s TED talks

Michael Specter on the TED Blog

News

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February 9, 2013

Here, some staff picks of smart, funny, bizarre and cool stuff on the interwebs from this (and last) week: The true story of Kid President: Watch this behind-the-scenes video of everyone’s favorite new politician. [YouTube] And make sure to watch his pep talk, posted on TED last week. An absolute must-read by Michael Specter, on […]

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Science

The danger of science denial: Michael Specter on TED.com

April 12, 2010

Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010 in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 16:29) Watch Michael Specter’s talk on TED.com, where you can […]

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