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Scientists as Prophets – A Rhetorical Genealogy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy

Lynda Walsh


Why did an atheist like Carl Sagan talk so much about God? Why does NASA climatologist James Hansen plead with us in his recent book not to waste “Our Last Chance to Save Humanity?” Because science advisors are our new prophets, this book argues. It does not claim that these public scientists push scientism as a replacement for religion. Rather, the book puts forth the argument that prophetic ethos is a flexible type of charismatic authority whose function is to manufacture certainty. Scientists are not our only prophets but science advisors predictably perform prophetic ethos whenever they ne ... More

Keywords: scientists, science advisors, prophetic ethos, Robert Oppenheimer, Rachel Carson, UN, Climategate, scientist-prophet, science-advising system

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199857098
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199857098.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lynda Walsh, author
University of Nevada, Reno