- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (2 Aug. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596916109
- ISBN-13: 978-1596916104
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.6 x 24.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 871,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming Hardcover – 2 Aug 2010
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Anyone concerned about the state of democracy in America should read this book (Al Gore)
Brilliantly reported and written with brutal clarity (Huffington Post)
It is tempting to require that all those engaged in the business of conveying scientific information to the general public should read it (Science)
A hard-hitting thriller ... also a meticulously researched history book and a portal into the world of real science ... A fascinating story (West Australian)
Excellent, important (Choice) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The troubling story of how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There is no debate: the basic principles were established long ago. Science is never complete, there is always scope for debate about the details, the rate at which various things will occur, models can always be improved. And this is where confusion is spread. 'Free market fundamentalists' as this book ends up defining the main players in this story use the nature of science; that there is always some uncertainty and more needs to be researched to deliberately confuse issues; to suggest that not knowing precisely how pumping CO2 into the atmosphere will affect the climate in minute detail is the same thing as not knowing that it will cause the world to heat up overall.
This book shows how an anti-science movement began when the tobacco industry recruited scientists to help obscure the harm cigarette smoking caused. (Oddly most of the scientists in this story began as cold war rocket scientists.) There was a calculated strategy of distortion and misleading the public about the harm caused by cigarettes, and the same people went on to argue against almost every ecological threat and for nuclear weapons right up to the present day. It's the same people, the same "think" tanks, the same techniques, the same funders (though in recent years the fossil fuel corporations have played an increasingly large role.)
And it all stems from wishful thinking. 'The invisible hand of the market' will create the 'best of all possible worlds' and any regulation is a bad thing.Read more ›
> on behalf of tobacco companies to deny the adverse health effects of smoking (when the tobacco companys' own scientists had known the truth for decades);
> on behalf of chemical companies to deny the existence of the ozone hole, and when that was established beyond doubt, to pretend that it was not caused by the release of CFCs;
> on behalf of the fossil fuel industry to deny that the burning of coal was the principle cause of acid rain;
> and other issues.
And again and again the same names, Singer, Seitz and Nierenberg in particular, keep cropping up.
This extraordinarily important book describes the history of each campaign in turn, and exposes the techniques of disinformation which proved, and continue to prove, so devastatingly effective, especially when people were being fed things they wanted to hear which allowed them to continue irresponsible behaviour. The power of a few determined mavericks to successfully undermine the combined expertise and authority of mainstream scientific bodies at the highest level is chillingly apparent.
The authority of the book, with its moderate, scholarly tone and its 64 pages of references, is all too evident. Indeed the reader can only wish that its appalling story were not so obviously true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's an incredible book, that bring together plenty of valuable and interesting information, and puts it all simple and understandable. It's diamond book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Luis Riesco Lorenzo
I strongly recommend this book to anyone, old or young, student or professional.
The authors write with candour and thoroughly support their claims through detailed analysis... Read more
Well made but you could can link those on both side of a debate to special interest groups to discredit their arguments if you don't like. Bit of an old approach. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ricky
An eye-opening read, that shows what happens when the interests of big business are at odds to the well being of their own customers, the public and the environment. Read morePublished 16 months ago by TomD
A compelling and disturbing read, authoritatively exposing those in the US who seek to obscure environmental science and deceive the public on issues from cigarette smoke to... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Bryn Higgs
A very good book about how certain scientists with conflicting interests have deliberately obfuscated the truth about various issues, ranging from tobacco smoke to global... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Oksa Jaakko
Detailed and well researched analysis of how a small clique of scientists (and those on the fringes of science) have deliberately misled millions of people. Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2014 by Amy-Cara
A good read for anyone interested in the Anthropogenic climate change debate. Fairly balanced in it's assessment, if a little dismissive of good data purely on the basis it's from... Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2014 by Nicholas J Felstead