Congressional Member’s Report Card

Doubting Science. Why?

Perspective

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

  • In the classical book by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M.Conway, “Merchants of Doubt” they meticulously document how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming and how the same tactics and narrative continues today.
  • Over a period of 2 decades industry
    funded scientists all physicists by training namely Frederick Seitz, Siegfried Fred Singer, Robert Jastrow, Edward Teller and William Nierenberg associated with think tanks and private corporations challenged scientific evidence on a host of contemporary issues. They used their scientific credentials to present themselves as authorities to try and discredit any scientific findings they did not like.
  • They claimed the link between smoking and cancer remained unproven. They charged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had rigged the science surrounding secondhand smoke. They argued that Acid Rain and the Ozone Hole was caused by volcanoes. Most recently against mounting evidence they dismiss the reality of global warming.
  • The press quoted these men as experts and politicians listened to them, using their claims for inaction. The fact is that these men were never really experts on the diverse issues confronting our current reality. They were physicists, not epidemiologists, ecologists, atmospheric chemists or climate modelers. Modern science is far too specialized for anyone individual having an expertise in all these areas.
  • Given this history the responsibility falls on us the citizens of America to stop these repetitive attacks on our scientiDc community by confronting the perpetrators and insisting that evidence based data provided by scientists be used for our public polices.

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