Merchants of Doubt

Merchants of Doubt

How A Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Book - 2010
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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.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, c2010.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781596916104
Characteristics: 355 p. ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Conway, Erik M. 1965-

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h
harrissusanc
Aug 30, 2017

The definitive work on the money, methods, politics and publicity that took science out of tobacco harm, nuclear winter, acid-rain, ozone hole, global warming, DDT. Worth parsing the history and players, even if the trail of papers narrative isn't a thriller . Most astonishing, acid-rain.

s
ShasCho
May 07, 2017

Remember those doctors and scientists
we used to see on the evening news
telling us that tobacco-caused cancer was a lie?
The "experts" we see these days
telling us that human-caused climate change is a hoax
are not merely in the same business,
they are often the very same individuals!
It amazes me that intelligent people
are willing to sell their integrity for money,
even when the costs to their own grandchildren are catastrophic.

Meticulously researched and courageously presented,
this is a must-see for everyone
who cares about humanity and the health of the earth.

redban Jul 09, 2015

haha, commenter RobertBoucher and his "lawful enterprises", what a shill.

s
StarGladiator
Jul 02, 2015

If only CBS's Sixty Minutes had the testicular fortitude to report the industry sins against the people the way this lady author has! And to commenter, RobertBoucher, back during Hitler's Third Reich, stuffing humans into gas ovens, and live dissections on them, were lawful enterprises!

p
patcarstensen
Jun 26, 2015

The tragedy of men (mostly) who started out advocating, with hubris, for science and technology that supported their political views, and ended up trying to discredit science itself when their masters didn't agree with what the science says.

c
CJMath
Aug 29, 2014

A well-written and well-reviewed book about how manufacturing doubt became a strategy of the tobacco companies as the link between smoking and cancer became clear. The only people who won't like this book are those who are climate denialists, because it shows the clear pattern between the behavior of special interest groups to cast doubt upon good science and the clear conclusions which can be drawn from it. If you think good scientific studies should guide political and personal action, you'll very much enjoy reading this book.

r
RobertBoucher
Aug 26, 2014

What a waste of time. a 274 page rant and character assassination of some good people. This is an insult to many Americans who run and are employed in lawful enterprises.

d
DonalR
Nov 23, 2011

If you've ever wondered why so many people still think global warming or the ozone hole over the south pole are still being debated in the science community, this book answers that question.

It is perplexing and maddening, how some professionals use their credentials to obfuscate reality, in order to satisfy their own agenda. You may never trust mainstream media again (if you haven't already given up on them).

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