Q&A: Chris Mooney – The Republican Brain

Written on October 22nd, 2014



Aired 05/16/12

Crazy though it may be, I assume many have accepted the fact that the Republican party has a problem with science and ultimately with evidence facts — reality. It is now a matter of politics for them to deny science. Among their presidential primary candidates, only Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney accept that warming is happening and humans are a contributing factor.

CHRIS MOONEY has been on this trail for years. In 2005, he wrote the best-selling
THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE. By the time their anti-science, anti-reality bias was established, MOONEY was asking a deeper question. Did science have anything to teach us about why? And it turns out, recently, science does. That brings us to Chris’s new book, The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

According to Mooney, from climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing. Not only that, so is denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy, and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why do they fight facts? He writes that the political parties reflect personality traits and psychological needs -Republicans wedded to certainty, Democrats to novelty – and this is the root of our divide over reality.

Hopefully, understanding how or why Republicans deny science and facts should suggest ways to interact and work with that “reality” differently in order to be more effective moving forward.



Q&A: STEWART BRAND, Author and Editor

Written on November 16th, 2009


Aired 11/08/09

STEWART BRAND's Whole Earth Catalog introduced millions to new ways of thinking and doing and probably contributed to the birth of environmentalism in the US. Confronting today's challenges to global civilization in his new book, Brand questions environmental positions against GMO foods, Geo-engineering, and nuclear power.

In 1968 a totally original cultural item appeared. It owed something to old time catalogs perhaps akin to the Farmers almanac. Its style was funkily low-fi while its content had one foot in a simpler past and the other in a high tech sci-fi future. It was called the Whole Earth Catalog and subtitled "Access to Tools."

STEWART BRAND was its founder, editor and publisher, and Brand has been at the founding of several other cultural entities, events, and movements. Today, in his '70s, STEWART BRAND is no less curious, no less purposeful, and no less forward looking. His new book, WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE: An EcoPragmatist Manifesto, confronts the challenges we face as a global civilization - population, urbanization, resource depletion, peak oil, and most profoundly climate change, by issuing challenges of his own to what has passed for years as environmental orthodoxy. Brand characterizes many in a movement he helped to create and inspire as being anti-science, and anti-intellectual in their opposition to GMO foods, Geo-engineering, and nuclear power.

Forty years ago, Brand could say in the Whole Earth Catalog, "We are as gods, we might as well get good at it". Today in WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE, he says, "We are as gods and have to get good at it."