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

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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.
 

About Naomi Oreskes

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Naomi Oreskes is a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her essay "Beyond the Ivory Tower" was a milestone in the fight against global warming denial. Erik M. Conway is the resident historian at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Merchants of Doubt is their first book together.
 
Published June 3, 2010 by Bloomsbury Press. 364 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Computers & Technology, Business & Economics, Nature & Wildlife, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Behind this spreading of disinformation and doubt, the authors claim, is a network of right-wing think tanks and foundations funded by corporations intent on defending the free market and preventing regulation of private enterprise.

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Publishers Weekly

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Oreskes and Conway tell an important story about the misuse of science to mislead the public on matters ranging from the risks of smoking to the reality of global warming.

Apr 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Examiner

Ever wonder how the terms liberty and freedom got all tangled up in fake science, how industry friendly think-tanks got their start, or what motivates scientists to sell out beyond the obvious?

Jun 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Christian Science Monitor

Exhaustively researched and documented, it explains how over the past several decades mercenary scientists have partnered with tobacco companies and chemical corporations to help them convince the public that their products are safe – even when solid science proves otherwise.

Jun 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Daily Kos

Ever wonder how the terms liberty and freedom got all tangled up in fake science, how industry friendly think-tanks got their start, or what motivates scientists to sell out beyond the obvious?

Jun 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Socialist Review

Climate change sceptics once again seem to have triumphed in derailing crucial climate talks and raising doubts about scientific questions which have been widely settled since the first climate talks in Rio in 1992.

| Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Truthout

(Photo: Laura Gilpin / AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives) Merchants of Doubt is a very well-researched book about a small group of scientists and scientific advisers to the U.S. government who transitioned from their role as Cold War warriors supporting nuclear weapons to ideologically-motivate...

Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

Think Progress

Take the journey with them, and you’ll see renowned scientists abandon science, you’ll see environmentalism equated with communism, and you’ll discover the connection between the Cold War and climate denial.

Jul 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

The Ecologist

That year President Jimmy Carter commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to review the available science and the NAS concluded: ‘If carbon dioxide continues to increase, the study group finds no reason to doubt that climate change will result and no reason to believe that these changes will...

Sep 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Han...

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