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Merchants of Doubt Summary

Naomi Oreskes

Merchants of Doubt

by Naomi Oreskes

Merchants of Doubt

Naomi Oreskes

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
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Merchants of Doubt explains how a small but loud group of 'researchers' were able to mislead the public on global warming, tobacco, DDT, and other important issues for decades.

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Merchants of Doubt

by Naomi Oreskes

Merchants of Doubt

Naomi Oreskes

Overview

Today, we know very well how harmful smoking is for our bodies. A few generations ago, however, the average consumer didn't have a clue.

But here's the kicker: the medical community did. In fact, research documenting smoking's negative effects dates back to the 1950s. So why did it take so long for this news to reach the consumer?

When tobacco companies in the US got wind of the studies revealing the harmful effects of smoking, they banded together to do the only thing they could: spread confusion amongst the general public. To challenge the scientific research that revealed the devastating effects of smoking, companies paid for research to 'prove' that it wasn't harmful. This wasn't the only time that those in a position of power were able to skew scientific results in their favor, and cast doubt among the public.

In Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway explore how industries sow scientific misinformation for profit.

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Favorite Quote

"The industry had realized you could create the impression of controversy simply by asking questions."

Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway

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Merchants of Doubt

Naomi Oreskes

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