The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters, by Mark Henderson
Published by Bantam Press on May 10, 2012
Whether we want to improve education or cut crime, to enhance public health or to generate clean energy, science is critical. Yet politics and public life too often occupy a science-free zone.
Just one of our 650 MPs is a scientist. Ministers ignore, and even sack, scientific advisers who offer inconvenient evidence. The NHS spends taxpayers’ money on sugar pills it knows won’t work, while public funding for research that would boost the economy is cut. Groundless media scares, taken up by politicians who should know better, poison public debate on vaccines and climate change, GM crops and nuclear power.
In this agenda-setting book, Mark Henderson builds a powerful case that science should be much more central than it is to government and the wider national conversation. It isn’t only that scientific understanding is passed over as decisions are made; the experimental methods of science aren’t applied to evaluating policy either.
Politicians, Henderson argues, pay lip service to science for a very simple reason: they know they can get away with it. And that will change only when people who care about science get politically active. It’s time to mobilise the geeks.
Something is stirring among those curious kids who always preferred sci-fi to celebrity magazines. As the success of Brian Cox and Ben Goldacre shows, geeks have stopped apologising for an obsession with asking how and why, and are starting to stand up for it instead.
The Geek Manifesto shows how people with a love of science can get political, to create a force our leaders can no longer afford to ignore.
The geeks are coming. Our countries need us.
Mark Henderson is Head of Communications at the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Geek Manifesto contains his personal views, not those of the Wellcome Trust.
Before joining the Trust in January 2012, Mark was Science Editor of The Times, where he built a reputation as one of Britain’s foremost science journalists and commentators.
Mark’s first book, 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know, was published in 2009 by Quercus