Conservatives Attack and Misunderstand A Book They Haven’t Read…A Book About Flawed Conservative Reasoning

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This would be sad, if it weren’t also so telling.

On Monday I announced my new book The Republican Brain, which will be due out next spring. And I provided a brief description, as well as layering on plenty of nuance, like a good liberal, to make sure it wouldn’t be misinterpreted.

So much for that!

Beginning with Roger Pielke, Jr. (not technically a conservative, but, well…), and then spreading to climate “skeptic” blogs like Watts Up With That and Marc Morano’s Climate Depot, conservatives are claiming that the book is a form of “new eugenics” and that it describes them as “genetically/mentally/psychologically inferior,” and so on.

All of this is completely without foundation, and in fact, contradicted by my own book announcement, which discusses the many strengths (as well as weaknesses) of the conservative psychology, and describes the left-right difference as a kind of necessary yin and yang. 

And none of the people saying these things (including over 100 commenters at Watts’ site) have read the book because it isn’t out yet, and won’t be for 6 months. In fact, it is still being edited.

Chalk up yet another example of conservative factual wrongness! Perhaps I can even fit it into the text.

But that’s not all. These conservatives have somehow gotten the idea that Pielke, Jr., “reviewed” the book, although he did nothing of the kind. Here’s Anthony Watts:

Chris Mooney has come up with new book to explain why people like you and I are “abby-normal” for not unthinkingly and uncritically accepting all aspects of global warmingclimate change climate disruption. I haven’t read it, though the cover itself speaks volumes. I won’t commit the same dumb mistake that Igor Peter Gleick committed when he wrote his bogus non-review of Donna LaFramboise’s IPCC book, so I’ll let somebody who has reviewed it speak about it. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

If this is not committing the “same dumb mistake,” it is definitely pretty close. 

I won’t do any more to defend a book that isn’t even out yet, except to say two things: 1) It is based on solid science from psychology, political science, and other fields; 2) the sort of behavior we’re seeing here—jumping to conclusions based on heuristics (“judging a book by its cover”), misrepresenting opponents’ views based on no evidence…well, it turns out that these are precisely the kinds of things I’m criticizing. For a tiny taste, see this study, about “traditionalists” vastly misrepresenting the views of those who challenge them, in this case about changes to the English literature curriculum.

Thanks for helping to prove my argument, guys—6 months early!

I’m sure I can count on you in the second round, too.

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