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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alice Dreger Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A powerful defense of intellectual freedom told through the ordeals of contemporary scientists attacked for exploring controversial ideas, by a noted science historian and medical activist

An investigation of some of the most contentious debates of our time, Galileo’s Middle Finger describes Alice Dreger’s experiences on the front lines of scientific controversy, where for two decades she has worked as an advocate for victims of unethical research while also defending the right of scientists to pursue challenging research into human identities.

Dreger’s own attempts to reconcile academic freedom with the pursuit of justice grew out of her research into the treatment of people born intersex (formerly called hermaphrodites). The shocking history of surgical mutilation and ethical abuses conducted in the name of “normalizing” intersex children moved her to become a patient rights’ activist. By bringing evidence to physicians and the public, she helped change the medical system.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In activism as in war, truth is the first casualty. Alice Dreger, herself a truthful activist, exposes some of shameful campaigns of defamation and harassment that have been directed against scientists whose ideas have offended the sensibilities of politicized interest groups. But this book is more than an exposé. Though Dreger is passionate about ideas and principle, she writes with a light and witty touch, and she is a gifted explainer and storyteller.”

    Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

  • “Alice Dreger would win a prize for this year’s most gripping novel, except for one thing: her stories are true, and this isn’t a novel. Instead, it’s an exciting account of complicated good guys and bad guys, and the pursuit of justice.”

    Jared Diamond, New York Times bestselling author of The World until Yesterday

  • “If there ever there were a book that showed how democracy requires smart activism and solid data—and how that kind of work can be defeated by moneyed interests, conservative agendas, inept governments, and duplicitous “activists”—this is it. Galileo’s Middle Finger reads like a thriller. The cliché applies: I literally couldn’t put it down. Alice Dreger leaves you wondering what’s going to happen to America if our universities continue to turn into corporate brands afraid of daring research and unpopular ideas about who we are.”

    Dan Savage, founder of It Gets Better

  • “Dreger ends this powerful book by call­ing for her fellow academics to counter the ‘stunningly lazy attitude toward pre­cision and accuracy in many branches of academia.’ In her view, chasing grants and churning out papers now take the place of quality and truth. It is a situation exacerbated by a media that can struggle when covering scientific controversies, and by strong pres­sures from activists with a stake in what the evidence might say. She argues, ‘If you must criticize scholars whose work challenges yours, do so on the evidence, not by poisoning the land on which we all live.’ There is a lot of poison in science these days. Dreger is right to demand better.”

    Nature

  • “Accomplishing deft journalistic storytelling, [Dreger] pursues relentlessly her thesis that neither truth nor justice can exist without the other and that empirical research is essential to democratic society. She challenges readers to recognize that the loudest voice is not necessarily right, the predominant view is not always correct, and the importance of fact-checking and defending true scholarship. A crusader in the mold of muckrakers from a century ago, Dreger doesn’t try to hide her politics or her agenda. Instead she advocates for change intelligently and passionately.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Let us be grateful that there are writers like Dreger who have the wits and the guts to fight for truth.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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