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The Sciences

Libertarians v. Bethell?

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJanuary 17, 2006 1:44 PM

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Man, the Amazon.com reviewers just keep doing my work for me. Consider the latest takedown of Tom Bethell's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. It's lengthy, thorough, and written by a libertarian who says he's in similar territory to Bethell politicially. But instead, the reviewer says Bethell's book is "of no worth, even for a highschool audience." I particularly liked this bit:

In regards to science-critical journalism--we live in a country in which a fourth of the people believe that the sun rotates around the earth [I thought it was higher--ed]. Thus it is hard to believe we are in dire need of more criticism of science--if there is a white-lab-coated priesthood of which Bethell speaks, it has to be one of the most unsuccessful at carrying its message to the folk in recorded history.

Niiice. And I know this guy isn't the only libertarian who would be dismayed by Bethell's work; serious libertarians like Ron Bailey would assuredly see through it as well (though I don't know if Ron has read Bethell's book yet). Now, if we could only get the people at National Review to wake up and stop taking Bethell so seriously.....come on, conservatives, your credibility is on the line here. Don't you realize that Bethell denies not only evolution and climate change, but even the epidemic of AIDS in Africa ("A Political Epidemic," as he calls it)? Is that a position that the right really wants to be embracing?

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