Original Proposal - Merchants of Doubt


Our focus will be the long-time NY Times best-seller “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.M. Conway – Paperback 5/24/2011 ($12.16 from Amazon.com + shipping – 274 pages).

Naomi Oreskes is one of the world’s leading historians of science. Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, her PhD is in Geological Research and the History of Science.

Her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. She has won numerous prizes for her work, and has lectured widely in such diverse venues as the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” cited by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, led to Op-Ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and to Congressional testimony in the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Erik Conway is the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He examines the intersections of space science, Earth science, and technological change. He most recently received the 2009 NASA History award for “pathbreaking contributions to space history ranging from aeronautics to Earth and space sciences,” and the 2009 AIAA History Manuscript Award for his fourth book, “Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.”

Conway became a historian after serving as an officer in the US Navy in the early 1990s, where he had minor roles in planning the US withdrawal from Somalia and the non-combatant evacuation from Rawanda. He met Oreskes at an International Commission for the History of Meteorology meeting in Polling, Germany, in 2004, and began a long conversation about the denial network. This book is one product of that dialog.
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Original Proposal - Merchants of Doubt

Post by UtahOwl »

Originally proposed by UtahOwl » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:22 pm -- 22 views before being transplanted here.

The subtitle is: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. The SAME coterie of scientists have created pseudo-controversies by denying a series of scientific claims ranging from 'smoking causes cancer' to 'mankind is causing global warming.' The scientists in question are extreme anti-Communists and committed to laissez-faire capitalism, and their attacks on a variety of scientific evidence bearing on defense strategy and industrial regulations have distorted public debate for a generation. "The tobacco road would lead through Star Wars, nuclear winter, acid rain, and the ozone hole, all the way to global warming." And if you think that any scientist, no matter how brilliant, can be expert in all these areas, I have some underwater land in Florida to sell you.

[Reading Liberally Editorial Comment: = Utah Owl’s original proposal also referenced two book reviews, both of which are posted in their entireties in the section below on this bulletin board entitled “Reference Materials.”]

The first book-review reference was from The (London) Observer and included an excerpt =

The answer – provided by Oreskes and Conway in this painstakingly assembled but nevertheless riveting piece of investigative reporting – is simple. The far right in America, in its quest to ensure the perpetuation of the free market, is now hell-bent on destroying the cause of environmentalism. According to this distorted view of life, environmentalists are watermelons – green on the outside, red on the inside – who want to impose regulation, "the slippery slope to socialism", on the use of tobacco, ozone-destroying chemicals and greenhouse gases.

The second reference was to a book review in Psychology Today but included no excerpt. [As already mentioned, this book review in Psychology Today, as well as the book review in The Guardian, are posted in their entireties in the section below on this bulletin board entitled “Reference Materials.”]

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