1138 1 DECEMBER 2017 • VOL 358 ISSUE 6367 sciencemag.org SCIENCE
impact is necessary to establish an equal
protection violation. He also argues that
implicit bias is used to further the “
milquetoast goal of diversity” favored by diversity
What’s odd is that behavioral realists
have persistently criticized Washington v.
Davis for insisting on self-conscious intent,
which is behaviorally unrealistic. As for diversity discourses used in the private sector, implicit bias emphasizes discrimination
taking place right now in firms; it does not
try to persuade them of any self-interested
“business case” for diversity.
More substantively, Kahn’s fundamental
error is to set up a contest between science
and nonscience in the pursuit of racial justice. By doing so, he obscures that multiple
bases of knowledge, and multiple strategies,
are necessary to effect social change.
Greater clarity comes from seeing the
debate as being between facts and values.
Trying to change society’s values, to care
more deeply about racial disparities, will
undoubtedly move some people. But those
who believe that disparities are caused by
differences in merit and not by discrimination will not be persuaded. Thus, the complementary strategy would be to update
society’s understanding of facts—to show
that we are not so impartial, that discrimination is occurring right now (not in some
ancient past) and in our own minds (not
only in “bad apples” elsewhere).
Between facts and values, Kahn bets on
the venerable strategy of changing values.
He exclaims that science cannot lead the
way. “Rather, its proponents must content themselves with a humbler role for
their technology as a helpmeet to the
broader, democratically based interpretive
enterprise of reshaping the common sense
of racism—of making sure that people
come to fully understand that indeed black
lives do matter.” His desire is admirable
By contrast, behavioral realists bet more
on the facts. They simply ask society to account for the emerging factual consensus
that we are not yet who we claim or aspire
to be. Of course, inconvenient truths never
guarantee reform. But for behavioral realists, mobilizing facts is an important an-tiracist strategy, which is complementary
to—not mutually exclusive of—a much older
conversation about values. This is not to be
seduced by science; it is merely to be pragmatic and unafraid of it. j
1. M. R. Banaji, A. G. Green wald, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of
Good People (Delacorte Press, New York, 2013).
2. J. Kang, Harvard La w Rev. 118, 1489 (2005).
To frack or not to frack
A straightforward guide offers a nuanced look at
unconventional fossil fuel extraction
By Miriam R. Aczel
At a time when everything from an oth- erwise unremarkable scientific report o a seemingly innocuous news item can be subject to intense scrutiny and mistrust, The Fracking Debate, a balanced guide
to the contentious discussion on
fracking, is a welcome resource.
Daniel Raimi has compiled several years’ worth of research, including conversations with key
figures in the shale gas industry,
experts in environmental science
and law, state regulators, members of the public, and advocates
on both sides of the debate. In an
easy-to-read, conversational tone,
he first describes the technical
process of shale development, using a hypothetical company and
helpful illustrations to describe the complete
cycle of well development from site selection to active production. Then he takes the
reader through the history of unconventional fossil fuel extraction technology.
Uncertainty is a central theme in the
fracking debate. Even the very terminology
used to describe the process of unconventional oil and gas extraction is contentious.
The term “fracking” correctly refers only
to hydraulic fracturing or the breaking of
shale rock—just one step in the
process’s many stages. But the
term is often used to denote the
entire process, and often further
complicates a convoluted issue,
especially when it is used to refer to contamination of water
Raimi devotes a chapter to
each of the sticky questions that
form the core of the fracking
debate, providing nuanced analyses of cases using both scientific data and anecdotes. “Does
fracking contaminate water?” he
asks, for example. He then discusses the “flaming faucets” phenomenon,
famously highlighted in the 2010 documentary Gasland. The technical explanation for how this can happen is that “stray
gas” can migrate through improperly con-
The Fracking Debate
The Risks, Benefts,
and Uncertainties of
the Shale Revolution
Press, 2017. 274 pp.
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