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The Deadly Rise of Anti-science

A Scientist's Warning
Table of

Dr. Peter Hotez discusses how an antivaccine movement became a dangerous political campaign promoted by elected officials and amplified by news media, causing thousands of American deaths.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, one renowned scientist, in his famous bowtie, appeared daily on major news networks such as MSNBC, NPR, the BBC, and others. Dr. Peter J. Hotez often went without sleep, working around the clock to develop a nonprofit COVID-19 vaccine and to keep the public informed. During that time, he was one of the most trusted voices on the pandemic and was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his selfless work. He also became one of the main targets of anti-science rhetoric that gained traction through conservative news media.

In this eyewitness story of how the anti-vaccine movement grew into a dangerous and prominent anti-science element in American politics, Hotez describes the devastating impacts it has had on Americans health and lives. As a scientist who has endured antagonism from anti-vaxxers and been at the forefront of both essential scientific discovery and advocacy, Hotez is uniquely qualified to tell this story. By weaving his personal experiences together with information on how the anti-vaccine movement became a tool of far-right political figures around the world, Hotez opens readers eyes to the dangers of anti-science. He explains how anti-science became a major societal and lethal force: in the first years of the pandemic, more than 200,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly died despite the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Even as he paints a picture of the world under a shadow of aggressive ignorance, Hotez demonstrates his innate optimism, offering solutions for how to combat science denial and save lives in the process.

Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD (HOUSTON, TX), is a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology and the founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the codirector of the Texas Childrens Center for Vaccine Development. He is the author of Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science and Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachels Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad.

Preface 1. An Army of Patriots Turns against the Scientists 2. Health Freedom Propaganda in America 3. Red COVID 4. An Anti-science Political Ecosystem 5. Tough Time to be a Scientist 6. The Authoritarian Playbook 7. The Hardest Science Communication Ever 8. Southern Poverty Law Center for Scientists About the Author Index

Dr. Peter Hotez discusses how an antivaccine movement became a dangerous political campaign promoted by elected officials and amplified by news media, causing thousands of American deaths.

The authors short, passionate polemic, dense with studies and charts, provides overwhelming evidence that scientific research benefits humanity and that vaccines are lifesavers.Supremely well-informed.

— Kirkus Reviews

Virologist and vaccine expert Peter Hotez has provided the definitive work on this era....[His] warning about the broader implications of Covid denial must be heeded.

— Arthur Caplan— Science

[A] powerful eyewitness account of anti-scientific activities in the USA.

— Naomi Oreskes— The Lancet

Harrowing and deeply alarming.[Hotezs] analysis of the modern US anti-vaccine movement and its entanglement with the authoritarian right is astute.

— New Scientist

Globally, anti-science is a key part of the far-right, autocratic, populist playbook. Hotezs terrifying but profoundly important book shows how deep the anti-science rabbit hole goes, who is thriving on chaos, and why anti-science is surging everywhere. The book is an eye-opening exposé of the catastrophic consequences of anti-science.

— Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health, McGill University

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