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The Age of American Unreason

I started listening to the audiobook for this on Saturday, and was awake most of Saturday/Sunday night listening to it. While it's true that my sleep schedule has become increasingly bizarre, it really was also that good. I found myself listening to the naration, thinking frequently that I know dozens of otherwise intelligent people who really need to read this book. This was particularly true during her discussion of junk science. I find this to be one of the most frustrating aspects of trying to have intelligent coversations with my fellow Mensans, even atheists. The ideology, particularly the anti-expert sentiments and global warming denying, and so on, are particularly bad. The sexism is sometimes also irritating, but it doesn't come up nearly as often as the anti-science sentiments.

But also bothersome are the anti-intellectual sentiments of those who pretend to be intellectuals. Frankly, yes, I consider myself to be an intellectual (certianly with plenty more to learn, of course). I have an absurdly broad education, both self-taught and from actual degrees, and I get a little ticked at people who suggest that I can't talk intelligently about something closely related to one of my fields of study, or that I can't read a book and reliably report and discuss information gleaned from a non-fiction book related to the topic under discussion. And the objections almost always come in the form of claims based on ideology (that I apparently just contradicted), or because of wrong "facts" that they have no evidence for, but just happen to believe because it supports their ideology, or because they've heard it so often on Fox News that it must be true.

Unfortunately, I doubt that the people who really need to read this book the most would take any of it to heart even if they did.

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