Merchants of Doubt (2014)

Merchants of Doubt (2014)

Watch online Merchants of Doubt (2014)

Name: Merchants of Doubt
Genre: Documentary
Rating: 7.7 Stars (7.7 / 10)
Length: 1h 36min
Release Date: 12 December 2014 (UK)



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A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.
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Watch online Merchants of Doubt (2014). Oreskes and Conway write that a handful of politically conservative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have “played a disproportionate role in debates about controversial questions”.[5] The authors write that this has resulted in “deliberate obfuscation” of the issues which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.[5] The book criticizes the so-called Merchants of Doubt, some predominantly American science key players, above all Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer. All three are physicists: Singer was a rocket scientist, whereas Nierenberg and Seitz worked on the atomic bomb.[6] They have been active on topics like acid rain, tobacco smoking, global warming and pesticides. The book claims that these scientists have challenged and diluted the scientific consensus in the various fields, as of the dangers of smoking, the effects of acid rain, the existence of the ozone hole, and the existence of anthropogenic climate change.[5] Seitz and Singer have been involved with institutions such as The Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute and George C. Marshall Institute in the United States. Funded by corporations and conservative foundations, these organizations have opposed many forms of state intervention or regulation of U.S. citizens. The book lists similar tactics in each case: “discredit the science, disseminate false information, spread confusion, and promote doubt”.[7] The book states that Seitz, Singer, Nierenberg and Robert Jastrow were all fiercely anti-communist and they viewed government regulation as a step towards socialism and communism. The authors argue that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they looked for another great threat to free market capitalism and found it in environmentalism. They feared that an over-reaction to environmental problems would lead to heavy-handed government intervention in the marketplace and intrusion into people’s lives.[8] Oreskes and Conway state that the longer the delay the worse these problems get, and the more likely it is that governments will need to take the draconian measures that conservatives and market fundamentalists most fear. They say that Seitz, Singer, Nierenberg and Jastrow denied the scientific evidence, contributed to a strategy of delay, and thereby helped to bring about the situation they most dreaded.[8] The authors have a strong doubt about the ability of the media to differentiate between false truth and the actual science in question; however, they stop short of endorsing censorship in the name of science.[9] The journalistic norm of balanced reporting has helped, according to the authors, to amplify the misleading messages of the contrarians. Oreskes and Conway state: “small numbers of people can have large, negative impacts, especially if they are organised, determined and have access to power”. Free online streaming Merchants of Doubt (2014). The main conclusion of the book is that there would have been more progress in policymaking, if not for the influence of the contrarian “experts”, which tried on ideological reasons to undermine trust in the science base for regulation.[9] Similar conclusions were already drawn, among others on Frederick Seitz and William Nierenberg in the book Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change (2010) by Australian academic Clive Hamilton. Watch Merchants of Doubt (2014) online.