Not a Scientist

How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science

Dave Levitan (Author)


An eye-opening tour of the political tricks that subvert scientific progress

In 1980, Ronald Reagan created one of the dumbest talking points of all time: “I’m not a scientist, but . . .” Since then, politicians have repeatedly committed egregious transgressions against scientific knowledge prefaced by this seemingly innocuous phrase. Yet, as science journalist Dave Levitan reveals, that line is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to rhetorical tools wielded to attack scientific findings that don’t cooperate with political agendas. Just listen to Mike Huckabee dismiss climate change as “a sunburn,” Donald Trump suggest that vaccines cause autism, or Todd Akin’s infamous invention of “legitimate rape.” With a taxonomer’s eye, Levitan captures and categorizes these deceptions by chapter, assigning delightful names like “The Butter-Up and Undercut,” “The Literal Nitpick,” “The Straight-Up Fabrication,” and many more. His sharp-elbowed humor dismantles our leaders’ deceptive arguments while illuminating the real science behind the worst soundbites from our elected non-scientists.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming April 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35332-7
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 272 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“A clever, timely guide to the sneaky ways sleazy politicians bamboozle us on climate change and other scientific issues. Ernest Hemingway said every good writer needs a built-in, shockproof BS detector, and now thanks to Dave Levitan we can all have one.” — Dan Fagin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Toms River

“Read Dave Levitan’s bare-knuckled book for insight into the manipulations and distortions by anti-science politicians who have chosen to act as advocates for vested corporate interests rather than the people they’re supposed to represent.” — Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University, and co-author of The Madhouse Effect

“With this compelling and enjoyable book, Dave Levitan may have put the "I'm not a scientist" line out to pasture for good. While I expect politicians may not read it, the public should! Science issues will be at the heart of every important decision our new President makes.” — Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and author of The Greatest Story Ever Told . . . So Far

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