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 Livesdives 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 talk

More news and ideas from Michael Specter


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