DS: The book title specifically singles out Republican interference with objective science as opposed to The Political War on science or the Democratic War on science. Why so?
CM: Because at least at the present moment in American history, the Republicans are by far the worst offenders. I mean, it isn't even close. Do the Democrats deny plate tectonics or the germ theory of disease? No--but many Republicans are compelled, by their allegiance to the conservative Christian base, to undermine and denigrate evolution, the foundational theory of modern biology.
And this gets to the other way that I explain the title. If it's "politicization of science" that we're worried about, then we need to offer a political explanation for why this phenomenon is happening. And that's what I've done. Science, I say, is being misused and attacked repeatedly by Republican politicians and political appointees, and there's a clear reason for that. In almost all of the major cases that we know of, the attacks on science are clearly traceable to an attempt to appease the Republican political base--either corporate interests on the one hand, or Christian conservatives on the other.
Because of this political dynamic, which is unique to the GOP, "The Republican War on Science" is by far the most accurate title I could have come up with for the book. Of course, I realize that it's also the most controversial. But I think a lot of my readers appreciate that I'm not shying away from explaining what's really going on.
DS: What would you say the biggest threat is to the general public from ideologically driven pseudo-science?
CM: The big picture is this: I fear that policymaking in this country will increasingly become divorced from actual, reliable information about reality. This could ultimately undermine our democracy itself. Remember, most of our elected leaders aren't scientists, which means that they simply must rely upon expertise from others that they themselves do not possess. So if the channels of communication between politicians and scientific experts get corrupted enough, the process of decision-making will be crippled--and disastrous decisions could result.