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Dickinson to Durban » Entries tagged with "Merchants of Doubt"

Weapons of Mass Deception: How the Seeds of Doubt in Climate Change Were Sown, and the Consequences We’ve Reaped

Is there strong scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate? The answer is likely to depend on whether you ask the scientific community or the general public. Why the discrepancy? Because the deliberate efforts of a small few have drastically skewed the public’s perceptions about the science of climate change. The methods involved in generating this misperception are certainly not new. In fact, they bear a striking resemblance to those employed by the tobacco industry to deny and downplay the link between lung cancer and smoking. The strategy used in both cases is a simple one: take scientifically valid facts and give the general public reasons to question their validity; and doing so is not hard given the cautious nature of the scientific method, which rigorously questions facts again … Read entire article »

Filed under: Climate Change, Summer Reading Responses

Hiding Global Warming

Oreskes and Conway contend that a small number of scientists have merchandised doubt on many of the most important issues of our time by fighting scientific evidence and spreading confusion (page 9). In the case of climate change, is the evidence for their contention convincing? Climate change has clearly fallen victim to the same tactics as the other case studies looked at in Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway. When it has been known since 1995 that global warming is a reality and people are still unsure or confused, clearly there is something out of place(169). One of the main themes through out the book is the industries claim that the media needs to keep a balance of the sides of the argument. But just as with the other case … Read entire article »

Filed under: Summer Reading Responses

Attacking Global Warming

What strategies have been used to promote doubt about climate change? Have they been effective? With what consequences? When ideas concerning global warming and climate change circulated during the mid 1900’s they were met with strong opposition from a handful of renowned physicists. These men tried several methods to merchandize doubt about the issue, all of which confused the public and the government and slowed the progress of policy making. In 1989 Bill Nierenberg, Robert Jastrow and Frederick Seitz (As part of the Marshall Institute) began to attack global warming. Their first strategy was to relocate the blame from fossil fuels to the sun. They wrote a small book called “Global Warming: What Does the Science Tell Us?,” in which they picked and organized data to their liking, and presented it to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Climate Change, Summer Reading Responses

Manipulators of Science

The process of science is one of questioning, testing, interpreting results, challenging findings, retesting, reviewing evidence and asking new questions. Are the activities of scientists who are said to be merchants of doubt about climate change different from what constitutes good scientific practice?  In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway expose the fact that ‘scientists’ such as Fred Singer and Fred Seitz are not really scientists at all.  Yes, they challenge findings and constantly refuse to accept studies because they say they need to be retested, but their motives are not to further scientific knowledge for the betterment of people.  Their sole objective is to make money by ensuring that the industries in which they invest and the organizations which fund their ‘research’ are not rejected by society as a result … Read entire article »

Filed under: Climate Change, Summer Reading Responses