It’s received both tremendous praise and endless scorn. The president’s science adviser and the National Science Teachers Association extol it. The New Atheists loathe it and have repeatedly attacked it.
And today, after a whirlwind first year in print, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future officially debuts in paperback! Already over at Amazon.com, there are only two paperbacks now left in stock…but we’re assured more are on the way.
The paperback edition contains a new preface, addressing some of the questions and criticisms that earlier editions received. Without giving too much away:
* We consider the latest data on science and the U.S. public.
* We consider the impact of “ClimateGate” on the book’s broader argument about science communication.
* We stand by and defend our “Chapter 8,” about the New Atheism.
* We identify the sector–guess which–where the most positive changes are occurring to bring science and the public into better relations.
*We propose new initiatives–and one in particular that seems to really inspire people–to further advance this goal.
In addition, with the added perspective that a year in print makes possible, it is clear that Unscientific America emerged in the summer of 2009 at the front of a larger incoming wave in the scientific world–which was all about reconsidering and improving scientists’ relations with the public. Thus, although it is very different from these books in many ways, Unscientific America really must be considered alongside other books on science communication that came out in the same year, such as Randy Olson’s Don’t Be Such a Scientist and Cornelia Dean’s Am I Making Myself Clear?
And those books, too, are only the beginning. Not only are more like them coming, but all of these works collectively resonate with another, even larger initiative that Chris has become involved in–as he will soon announce. Suffice it to say that we’re not the only ones putting new onus on scientists to reconnect with the media and public….