Saturday, 12 June 2010

Merchants of doubt – Oreskes & Conway

Naomi Oreskes EriK Conway Merchants of doubt global warming tobacco
If the name Naomi Oreskes rings a bell, it’s because she’s the person who wrote the frequently cited article Beyond the ivory tower, the scientific consensus on climate change which appeared in ScienceMag in 2004, an article in which she showed that the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that indeed there is man-made global warming.
In 2008 I already wrote a post in which prof. Oreskes has a closer look at the subject in her presentation The American Denial of Global Warming.
In the new book Merchants of doubt : How a handful of scientists obscured the Truth on issues from Tobacco smoke to Global Warming Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway explain what tobacco, the strategic defence initiative, acid rain, ozone depletion, second-hand smoking and climate change have got in common. All of these issues have gotten politicised by a bunch of free-market fundamentalists who preferred ideology over reality.
Gareth Renowden has good summary, but really i would recommend you to buy the book itself. It will help you to understand how important a person’s bias is, and how a public’s perception can be manipulated. Understanding the tactics used will make it easier to see through the flaws and manipulations. As a result, understanding the book gives a person a better understanding of the functioning of our society !

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