How You Were Taken In : The Manufacture of Doubt

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/naomi_oreskes_on_merchants_of.php

Please do watch Naomi Oreske’s magristral (not “magisterial”, since she’s female) presentation on her new publication “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming” in the YouTube above.

The presentation is somewhat marred by poor audiovisual capture, but it’s fascinating, all the same, and good to hear her logical argumentation; and be reminded of what has been happening for the last 50 years in the public “debates” on Science.

The Media have still not gotten to grips with what Science actually is, and how to present it, and how to research it, and often end up interviewing and reporting people who are either not expert in the field they are asked about, or have an underlying agenda for misinformation being published.

Why do we not have a School of Science for journalists and others in the Media ? Where can journalists go to complete their knowledge on what Science is and what Science does ?

Why do some Media workers end up with the view that explanations from Science cannot be relied on, and that everything is relative ? If everything were really only relative, and we couldn’t know anything about how the Universe actually works, then I wouldn’t be typing into a computing machine and it wouldn’t be relaying the information on the World Wide Web.

There are evidential facts in the Universe, there are causes and effects. And then there are opinions. The opinions do not always match the evidence, no matter how strongly those opinions are held or how in-depth a self-validating framework they have.

For example : homeopathy and astrology are invalid, hypothetical explanations and/or predictions of evidential facts. The explanations given only work within the parameters set by the frameworks. They don’t relate to actual evidence of causal relationships, and they cannot be used to change or predict future evidence (apart from influencing the minds of people, which may influence the future).

As counter examples, we know, without any real uncertainty, that tobacco smoking causes a range of human disease; and that increased atmospheric Carbon Dioxide causes increased Global Warming.

I feel duty-bound to be polite to people who believe in homeopathy or astrology, but I don’t accept what they say as it has no basis in Science.

Why can’t the Climate Change “sceptics” be more polite and reasonable about those of us who know what the Science says, and know what the evidence means ?

Why are these obstructers of Climate Change Science so obnoxious, insistent and intransigent ?

It has something to do with the techniques they have been learning to de-rail the progress of Science :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/08/global-warming-science-debates-teach-the-controversy/

One thought on “How You Were Taken In : The Manufacture of Doubt”

  1. Read this article from the BBC. The EU is beginning to build a carbon based protectionist case against China and any other exporter. This is just as predicted by the skeptics.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8557461.stm

    Surely people, you can’t seriously want the US involved in this kind of unproductive bureaucratic cr@p. And over the years, Cap & trade will be spread out to every individual, so that we all must engage in carbon trading as part of our normal lives. And the scientific basis for it all is weak.

    [ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM

    IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS.

    THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE SHOWS THE EVIDENCE THAT THE EARTH IS WARMING AND HABITATS AND CONDITIONS ARE ALTERING, ACCENTUATING THE WARMING EFFECTS. THAT IS SCIENCE AND IS ENTIRELY FACTUAL.

    CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE IS STRONG AND I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU LOOK INTO IT.

    THE NOTION THAT PRICING CARBON IN A MARKET FRAMEWORK WITH DICTATED QUOTA RESTRICTIONS (CALLED CAP-AND-TRADE) WILL SOMEHOW REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS IS ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL AND NOT BASED ON ANY SOUND EVIDENCE FROM THE ECONOMIC FACTS. ECONOMIC POLICY IS NOT SCIENCE.

    LIKE YOU, I AM A SCEPTIC ABOUT ECONOMIC POLICY.

    UNLIKE YOU, I TRUST CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE.

    THERE IS A VERY STRONG CASE FOR THE MANAGEMENT AND REDUCTION OF CARBON IN THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN OF TRADED PRODUCTS.

    THERE IS NO CASE AT ALL FOR PRICING CARBON. IT WILL MERELY CREATE INFLATION, IN MY VIEW, AND WILL NOT NECESSARILY CONTROL CARBON EMISSIONS. ]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.