Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook

332p. chron. further reading. glossary. index. websites. ABC-CLIO. 2014. lib. ed. $58. ISBN 9781610693196. LC 2013048129.
Gr 8 Up—Though his base premise—that science and politics exist in "virtually constant conflict in the modern world"—is arguable, Newton assembles a useful, if one-sided, overview of areas, past and present, in which the two have clashed. He also includes profiles of polarizing figures and scientific organizations, from Plato and Todd "legitimate rape" Akin to the Union of Concerned Scientists (a nonprofit science advocacy organization); a gathering of relevant documents and transcripts; and a large, annotated list of resources for further investigation. In the opening chapters, the author tracks ideological conflicts from the ancient world through the (comparable, he notes) examples of Galileo's trial and J. Robert Oppenheimer's security hearings to the more recent debates around sex education, marijuana legalization, and climate change. Several writers then weigh in with largely pro-science essays on specific bones of contention, such as stem-cell research, in a "Perspectives" chapter. Following the alphabetically arranged biographies, the "Data and Documents" section offers a few perfunctory statistics and selected extracts from provocative legislation, government reports, and legal opinions. Finally, the annotations accompanying the print and Web resources in the ensuing chapter will give students solid leads for further research. Science gets more positive play here than politics—faith-based or otherwise—but readers looking for historical and current points of friction between the two will find it a serviceable guide.—John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, New York City

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