When Science and Politics Collide

The Public Interest at Risk

by Robert O. Schneider


Four in 10 Americans deny evolution, and a similar number are unaware of the scientific consensus that climate change exists.

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Cover image for When Science and Politics Collide

March 2018


Pages 228
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/U.S. Public Policy and Administration

This book explains why science and politics collide, why this is an especially critical problem at this precise time in U.S. history, and what should be done to ensure that science and politics coincide.

The United States is waging a political war against science, and the stakes are increasing. When it comes to areas in which science and politics must interact, such as genetics, climate, and energy, there are always political interests pushing to spin the relevant science, but this becomes problematic when Americans abandon rationality for ideology or misinformation manufactured to confuse and persuade them.

In a series of five contemporary examples, When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk makes the case that none of the ways in which science and politics currently communicate serve the public interest and that some of them actually result in great harm. It explains that whether disagreements are about climate change, vaccines, pandemics, or fracking, experimentally proven and reproducible data and evidence can save lives—and poor, politically motivated policies can doom them. The book concludes with recommendations for creating a more perfect union between scientific facts and political agendas.


  • Shows the contentious science/policy relationship through examples of current controversies
  • Argues that America’s historic commitment to scientific progress, human rights, and democracy is at risk
  • Emphasizes the importance of science to intelligent public policymaking
  • Offers suggestions for how to improve the communication between science and politics
Author Info

Robert O. Schneider holds a PhD in political science and is professor of public administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He has researched and written on leading policy issues where science and politics intersect; his recent efforts have extended to emergency management (practice and policy), with a particular focus on sustainability and hazard resilience. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed articles, he has written and published two books: Emergency Management and Sustainability: Defining a Profession and Managing the Climate Crisis: Assessing our Risks, Options, and Prospects.

In the News

UNC Pembroke, UNCP professor publishes new book ‘When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk’ , 3/20/2018

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