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Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of…
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Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on…

by Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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My confirmation bias predicted I would like this book, as I am familiar with many of the names and their histories. My bias was correct, but I still needed to check what the authors were presenting, because I like to think I think. Well sourced, and well written, this is another book that needs to be read by everyone...but won't be.

Beyond exposing Fred Seitz, Robert Jastrow, William Nierenberg, and Fred Singer (and a few others) for the despicable disgraces to the scientific world that they are, Ms. Oreskes and Mr. Conway do an excellent job explaining what true peer review and true science really consist of. From defense of smoking, an indefensible Star Wars program, acid rain, ozone depletion, second-hand smoking to denial of climate science, these guys have had devastating effects on US policy. And that was before Fox"News". Now they don't even need to use the pseudo-science bait-and-switch tactics; the right-wing media has devolved to simple gainsaying - and their viewers/listeners don't have a critical thought in their heads to question their confirmation biases.

My one complaint about the book is that the authors more than not used the term "skeptics" (they did also use "deniers"). All science is about skepticism, but these disruptors, obfuscators, ... liars ... are not "skeptics". Singer is lower than low, and still at it.

I'm disgusted. At the "scientists". ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
http://tinyurl.com/gn2ggvd

I actually think there's very little to say about this book, because its impact is rather obvious.

This book was dense. It was also super-important for a large variety of reasons. I knew a ton about peer review and how scientists work going in, and I did NOT know this story. This story is about how a small group of scientists obfuscated the truth about environmental problems ranging from acid rain to global warming, and they did this in a way (through the media and otherwise) that caused the public to doubt the already-proven science. It is incredibly well researched and straightforwardly written, so although it may not be easily digestible, it is eminently readable.

Over 40% of the US population still believes global warming is a hoax. I urge you all to read this book so you can know for yourself why that is utterly ridiculous and be able to inform others who may have questions or concerns. ( )
1 vote khage | Feb 17, 2016 |
Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversialstory 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. The same individuals who claim the scienceof global warming is "not settled" have also denied the truth about 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. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
You knew that there was a concerted, well-funded campaign to convince people that “99 scientists agree, 1 doesn’t” justified reporting issues as controversial, right? This is a book-length exegesis of the past sixty years of such campaigns. The thing that I didn’t know—a lot of the time it was the same guys behind the media blitz defending cigarettes, SDI (Star Wars), acid rain, carbon emissions. The exact same men, with the exact same expertise (a lot of physicists, very little actual field knowledge). It wasn’t just that they developed and perfected the techniques, enough so that our kids are going to suffer for their sins—they themselves just transferred the techniques to new fields when the initial ones were decisively lost (cigarettes) or rendered irrelevant (Star Wars). If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention—but then journalists weren’t. It's useful information, but the repetition eventually just gets really depressing: the techniques that worked on cigarettes continue to work, as Rome burns. ( )
  rivkat | Jan 11, 2014 |
I work for an environmental agency, during a conference on Climate Change, the speaker recommended this book. I immediately downloaded it. It took me a while to get to it and a while to finish reading it.

This is a powerful book, it details the methods used by a group of scientists, physicists to be exact, manipulated the press, the public, and politicians to fit their agenda. To say they were a group of bitter old men is an oversimplification, but that is the feeling I am left with.

These scientists accused others of the very same things they were doing, cherry picking data and results, and molding the research to fit their conclusions.

Tobacco, secondhand smoke, acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer, global warming/climate change and the scientists that researched them were all attacked. They also attacked Rachel Carson and the ban on DDT, claiming millions of African children died of malaria, conveniently leaving out that many may have died because of their work with the tobacco companies convincing people that the connection between smoking and cancer was ‘not proven’.

As I said this is a powerful book, well researched, with quotes that actually name a source. Everyone who lives on the planet earth should read it. ( )
2 vote BellaFoxx | Apr 23, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oreskes, Naomiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conway, Erik M.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Treiner, JacquesTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Hannah and Clara. It's in your hands now.
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Ben Santer is the kind of guy you would never imagine anyone attacking.
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This book 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.
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"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 that link smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole.… (more)

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