Newspapers and TV often report controversial risk warnings over technological innovations, scientific developments, or environmental hazards that have at their core a dispute between experts who contradict one another not only on preferred policy but also on the scientific facts that underlie decisions about public policy. Recent examples are the disputes about climate change, fracking, vaccination and autism, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Adversaries mobilize constituents with similar interests or ideologies, form opposing coalitions, and compete for media exposure. They articulate arguments and counterarguments. "Facts" become malleable, differently appraised by each side. Uncongenial evidence is ignored or discredited. For many adversaries, winning the policy argument is primary; evaluating the true degree of hazard is secondary. How can we determine which side’s "facts" are right and which wrong? Do news media enlighten the public or worsen polarization? Can policymakers deal with controversial science and technology more cogently than they do now?

part I|28 pages


part II|22 pages

The age of heroic engineering and the age of technical controversy

chapter 3|7 pages

The age of heroic engineering

chapter 4|13 pages

The age of technical controversy

part III|31 pages

Facts in Dispute

chapter 5|19 pages

Disputes between experts

part IV|24 pages


chapter 7|9 pages


chapter 8|8 pages


chapter 9|5 pages

Social links among controversies

part V|67 pages

Protest movements

chapter 10|16 pages

Growth of protest

chapter 11|19 pages

Mass media

Quantity of Coverage Theory

chapter 12|18 pages

The fracking controversy

chapter 13|12 pages

Seriously science-driven policy