University of California, San Diego
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
Wednesday, May 26, at 6:00 PM
New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center, 40th floor
New York, NY
The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.
This lecture tells the story of how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisors, with effective political connections, ran a series of campaigns to challenge well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly; some of the same figures who have claimed the science of global warming is “not settled” denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it. Here, I explain both how and why.
Naomi Oreskes (Ph.D., Stanford, 1990), is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and the Provost of Sixth College. She is the author of The Rejection of Continental Drift (Oxford University Press, 1999); Merchants of Doubt,
forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press in June 2010 (with Erik M. Conway), and Science on a Mission: American Oceanography in the Cold War and Beyond, to be published by the University of Chicago Press, and the co-editor of Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (Westview Press, 2001).
To RSVP for dinner with the speaker following the lecture, please contact Gregory Ferguson-Cradler [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Online registration for Professor Oreskes' lecture with the New York
Academy of Sciences is required at http://www.nyas.org/merchantsofdoubt
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