Yesterday Amazon delivered Chris Mooney's new book, "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science -- and Reality."
I've only read a few pages so far, but I can tell that I'm going to like it. And not just because Mooney agrees with how I see the two major political parties, Republicans being way more reality-denying than Democrats.
I want to understand why Republican science-deniers do what they do. Like all human behavior, they really can't help themselves. Something in their brains causes them to look upon facts in decidedly unfactual ways.
Us liberals will be ineffective in changing conservative minds if we don't grasp how the Republican brain distorts reality. In his introduction, Mooney promises that he'll give advice along this line.
Here's some right-on quotes from what I read last night.
What's more, no matter how much the fact-checkers strive to remain "bipartisan," it is pretty hard to argue that the distribution of falsehoods today is politically equal or symmetrical. It's not that liberals are never wrong or biased; a number of liberal errors will be described and debunked in these pages.
Nevertheless -- and as I will show -- politicized wrongness today is clustered among Republicans, conservatives, and especially Tea Partiers.
...The cost of this assault on reality is dramatic. Many of these falsehoods affect lives and have had -- or will have -- world-changing consequences. And more dangerous than any of them is the erosion of a shared sense of what's true -- which they both generate, and perpetuate.
...Science. This is the area I care about most deeply, and the denial here is particularly intense. In a nationally representative survey released just as I was finishing this book -- many prior surveys have found similar things -- only 18 percent of Republicans and Tea Party members accepted the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by humans, and only 45 and 43 percent (respectively) accepted human evolution.
In other words, political conservatives have placed themselves in direct conflict with modern scientific knowledge, which shows beyond serious question that global warming is real and caused by humans, and evolution is real and the cause of humans. If you don't accept either claim, you cannot possibly understand the world or our place in it.
The evidence suggests that many conservatives today just don't.