Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

merchants-of-doubt

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

Synopsis: The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.

Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly – some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is “not settled” denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These ‘experts’ supplied it.

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, historians of science, roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.

Published: May 2010 | ISBN-13: 978-1608193943

Book’s Homepage: http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org

Author mini-bio: Naomi Oreskes is an American historian of science. She became Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University in 2013, after 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego. She has worked on studies of geophysics, environmental issues such as global warming, and the history of science. In 2010, Oreskes co-authored Merchants of Doubt which identified some parallels between the climate change debate and earlier public controversies. – Author’s Wiki Entry
Naomi’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/NaomiOreskes

Author mini-bio: Erik M. Conway is the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. – Author’s Wiki Entry
Erik’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErikMConway

Despite the deluge of scientific evidence warning of the dangers of climate change, a few scientists with links to politics and industry are working to foster the appearance of uncertainty. The same tactics, in fact, that were used to challenge the dangers of tobacco smoking. Merchants of Doubt is a fascinating and worrying look at how politics can hijack science, and how bad science can hijack politics. It’s a big book, and at times a rather heavy read, but it’s worth it. – From 10 Great Books on Skepticism and Stuff

The Guardian Book Review
Think Progress Book Review
Climate Science & Policy Watch Book Review
Evolving Thoughts Book Review

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Paperback Edition – Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
Audible Edition – Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
Kindle Edition – Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming