Merchants of Doubt

How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming

Merchants of Doubt

Product details

Product name: Merchants of Doubt

Reviewer: Caitlin Howlett

Author: Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Price: $39.99

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It’s no light read, but an important one for anyone interested in the intersection between science, politics and economics.

Historians of science, Oreskes and Conway, expose a cadre of influential scientific advisors whose calculated campaigns of misinformation have clouded public understanding of a range of topics, from global warming, to lung cancer, coal smoke, acid rain and CFCs.

Rolling back the rug on a dark corner of the American scientific community, this book shows how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of the some of the most pressing issues of our time, including climate change.

Merchants of Doubt gives examples of scientists being quoted in the media out of their range of expertise, often to pursue their own political agendas. This book is all too relevant to the climate change debate in Australia, where 'shock jocks' on radio have been presenting a biased view of the science involved in the carbon tax debate.

The book also looks into the infamous chapter eight of the Third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report (which discussed the effect humans are having on the climate), describing how some loud voices blew the debate well out of proportion with 'real' science taking a back seat.

Oreskes is coming to Australia as part of the Sydney Writers Festival, giving talks on 19 and 20 May. Click here for more info.

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