Book Review: Merchants of Doubt

In Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change (Amazon,) authors Oreskes and Conway describe how the Big-Tobacco’s efforts to obfuscate evidence against smoking founded an entire industry dedicated to spreading FUD against science.

History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty. It does not provide proof. It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organized accumulation and scrutiny of evidence.

There are always uncertainties in any live science, because science is a process of discovery.

The inherent uncertainties involved in the scientific exploration of a topic provides the opening for the Merchants of Doubt. By highlighting these uncertainties and engaging in relentless campaigns of doubt-mongering, these MoDs have twisted the scientific process and created an anti-science brigade.

With the rise of radio, television, and now the Internet, it sometimes seems that anyone can have their opinion heard, quoted, and repeated, whether it is true or false, sensible or ridiculous, fair-minded or malicious. The Internet has created an information hall of mirrors, where any claim, no matter how preposterous, can be multiplied indefinitely. And on the Internet, disinformation never dies.

Is it any wonder that there are people who still believe that the Earth is flat?

Recommendation: When you read this book along with This Is Not Propaganda, you’ll want to kill-off all social media/messaging companies and see yourself agreeing with the basic plot of Utopia. So, avoid, to preserve sanity.

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