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The Real Conspiracy?

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but should be of interest to many on here.....

Merchants of Doubt

Similar praise in the Sunday Times for anyone who doesn't like the Guardian, although I think you need to subscribe to see it.

"Real science is dismissed as "junk" while misrepresentations are offered in its place. Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued – even though the tobacco industry was, by this time, admitting in private that there was indeed a definite link between smoking and serious disease. Similarly acid rain was blamed not on its real cause, the by-products of burning fossil fuels, but on volcanic eruptions, which were also said to be the cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.

In each case, experts offered briefings to journalists and politicians and their claims were accepted, with little qualification, by an acquiescent media happy to establish the idea that there were real divisions among mainstream scientists where none actually existed. In short, we have been led by the nose and have meekly accepted the outpourings of a small, dedicated group of rightwing propagandists who have found themselves pushing, all too easily, at open doors. As Oreskes and Conway point out: "Who among us wouldn't prefer a world where acid rain was no big deal, the ozone hole didn't exist and global warming didn't matter? Such a world would be far more comforting than the one we actually live in. We may even prefer comforting lies to sobering facts. And the facts denied by our protagonists were more than sobering. They were downright dreadful."

Thus the tactics – the spreading of doubt and confusion – of a small group of cold war ideologues have worked their way across America and have now crossed the Atlantic so that the public in both the US and the UK are more confused than ever about the truth on a series of key scientific issues, in particular global warming, even though scientists have become more certain about the accuracy of their efforts."

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but should be of interest to many on here.....

Merchants of Doubt

Similar praise in the Sunday Times for anyone who doesn't like the Guardian, although I think you need to subscribe to see it.

"Real science is dismissed as "junk" while misrepresentations are offered in its place. Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued – even though the tobacco industry was, by this time, admitting in private that there was indeed a definite link between smoking and serious disease. Similarly acid rain was blamed not on its real cause, the by-products of burning fossil fuels, but on volcanic eruptions, which were also said to be the cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.

In each case, experts offered briefings to journalists and politicians and their claims were accepted, with little qualification, by an acquiescent media happy to establish the idea that there were real divisions among mainstream scientists where none actually existed. In short, we have been led by the nose and have meekly accepted the outpourings of a small, dedicated group of rightwing propagandists who have found themselves pushing, all too easily, at open doors. As Oreskes and Conway point out: "Who among us wouldn't prefer a world where acid rain was no big deal, the ozone hole didn't exist and global warming didn't matter? Such a world would be far more comforting than the one we actually live in. We may even prefer comforting lies to sobering facts. And the facts denied by our protagonists were more than sobering. They were downright dreadful."

Thus the tactics – the spreading of doubt and confusion – of a small group of cold war ideologues have worked their way across America and have now crossed the Atlantic so that the public in both the US and the UK are more confused than ever about the truth on a series of key scientific issues, in particular global warming, even though scientists have become more certain about the accuracy of their efforts."

You mean that governments have been spinning the facts to fool the people? Surely not.

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but should be of interest to many on here.....

Merchants of Doubt

Similar praise in the Sunday Times for anyone who doesn't like the Guardian, although I think you need to subscribe to see it.

"Real science is dismissed as "junk" while misrepresentations are offered in its place. Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued – even though the tobacco industry was, by this time, admitting in private that there was indeed a definite link between smoking and serious disease. Similarly acid rain was blamed not on its real cause, the by-products of burning fossil fuels, but on volcanic eruptions, which were also said to be the cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.

In each case, experts offered briefings to journalists and politicians and their claims were accepted, with little qualification, by an acquiescent media happy to establish the idea that there were real divisions among mainstream scientists where none actually existed. In short, we have been led by the nose and have meekly accepted the outpourings of a small, dedicated group of rightwing propagandists who have found themselves pushing, all too easily, at open doors. As Oreskes and Conway point out: "Who among us wouldn't prefer a world where acid rain was no big deal, the ozone hole didn't exist and global warming didn't matter? Such a world would be far more comforting than the one we actually live in. We may even prefer comforting lies to sobering facts. And the facts denied by our protagonists were more than sobering. They were downright dreadful."

Thus the tactics – the spreading of doubt and confusion – of a small group of cold war ideologues have worked their way across America and have now crossed the Atlantic so that the public in both the US and the UK are more confused than ever about the truth on a series of key scientific issues, in particular global warming, even though scientists have become more certain about the accuracy of their efforts."

Of course, the interesting idea there is that science is the consensus opinions of scientists and not the data from checkable, repeatable experiments they should be performing.

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Not sure if this has been posted before, but should be of interest to many on here.....

Merchants of Doubt

Similar praise in the Sunday Times for anyone who doesn't like the Guardian, although I think you need to subscribe to see it.

"Real science is dismissed as "junk" while misrepresentations are offered in its place. Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued – even though the tobacco industry was, by this time, admitting in private that there was indeed a definite link between smoking and serious disease. Similarly acid rain was blamed not on its real cause, the by-products of burning fossil fuels, but on volcanic eruptions, which were also said to be the cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.

In each case, experts offered briefings to journalists and politicians and their claims were accepted, with little qualification, by an acquiescent media happy to establish the idea that there were real divisions among mainstream scientists where none actually existed. In short, we have been led by the nose and have meekly accepted the outpourings of a small, dedicated group of rightwing propagandists who have found themselves pushing, all too easily, at open doors. As Oreskes and Conway point out: "Who among us wouldn't prefer a world where acid rain was no big deal, the ozone hole didn't exist and global warming didn't matter? Such a world would be far more comforting than the one we actually live in. We may even prefer comforting lies to sobering facts. And the facts denied by our protagonists were more than sobering. They were downright dreadful."

Thus the tactics – the spreading of doubt and confusion – of a small group of cold war ideologues have worked their way across America and have now crossed the Atlantic so that the public in both the US and the UK are more confused than ever about the truth on a series of key scientific issues, in particular global warming, even though scientists have become more certain about the accuracy of their efforts."

So this story starts to get a bit ropey only in it's second sentence and, in fact, the first sentence of the substance of the claim.

"Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued...."

Erm, this is true though, is it not?

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So this story starts to get a bit ropey only in it's second sentence and, in fact, the first sentence of the substance of the claim.

"Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke, it was argued...."

Erm, this is true though, is it not?

It's just part of a quote from the review.

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Sounds interesting and its something that has long been suspected. Hopefully the authors have managed to put together some sort of trail of evidence.

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It's just part of a quote from the review.

I know, the last part of it says;

"...even though the tobacco industry was, by this time, admitting in private that there was indeed a definite link between smoking and serious disease."

Still doesn't change the fact that there are other causes of cancer apart from smoke. The quote when taken as a whole tends to imply that the "non-junk" version of science (ie; the legitimate line) is that only smoke causes cancer.

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Everyone is an amateur oncologist!

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Any medic who stood up at a medical conference and stated that fag smoke wasn't a very powerful cause of lung, mouth, and throat cancer would be laughed out of the lecture theatre.

This wouldn't be because they're edgy mavericks standing up to the evil establishment on behalf of the common man; it would be because they're idiots or liars.

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Any medic who stood up at a medical conference and stated that fag smoke wasn't a very powerful cause of lung, mouth, and throat cancer would be laughed out of the lecture theatre.

This wouldn't be because they're edgy mavericks standing up to the evil establishment on behalf of the common man; it would be because they're idiots or liars.

Not the point I was making. A medical professional who stood up at a medical conference and stated flatly that smoke was the only cause of cancer (which is what that article was implying) would suffer the same fate.

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Not the point I was making. A medical professional who stood up at a medical conference and stated flatly that smoke was the only cause of cancer (which is what that article was implying) would suffer the same fate.

No one either on this thread, in the article, or in the medical establishment (at a medical conference or otherwise) has ever said or implied that smoking is the only cause of e.g. lung cancer. The phrase used was 'there was a definite link between smoking and serious disease'.

The only point worth debating over the last 30 years is whether fags cause, say, 90% of lung cancer cases, or 98%. It's actually a fairly rare disease among non smoking populations.

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No one either on this thread, in the article, or in the medical establishment (at a medical conference or otherwise) has ever said or implied that smoking is the only cause of e.g. lung cancer. The phrase used was 'there was a definite link between smoking and serious disease'.

The only point worth debating over the last 30 years is whether fags cause, say, 90% of lung cancer cases, or 98%. It's actually a fairly rare disease among non smoking populations.

Unless they work in the chemical industry.

Or near sellafield.

Or....etc

There is still no science behind global warming. It's the speculation of scientists, which while informed hasn't had the basic scientific method applied to it. You'd need to build another earth to do that.

Edit - the article does say that smoking is the only cause of cancer. Either badly written or shit logic, but it's there. "Thus cancer is triggered by many different causes, not just smoke"

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Thus the tactics – the spreading of doubt and confusion – of a small group of cold war ideologues have worked their way across America and have now crossed the Atlantic so that the public in both the US and the UK are more confused than ever about the truth on a series of key scientific issues, in particular global warming, even though scientists have become more certain about the accuracy of their efforts."

The backlash has occurred because the scientific community believe they're in a position instruct the rest of us how to live, they're the new priesthood preaching the values of the left in a bigoted and often aggressive manner.

They need to stick to their day job - collecting reliable data - and leave policy making to the politicians. The confusion has been caused by them forgetting their social role.

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The backlash has occurred because the scientific community believe they're in a position instruct the rest of us how to live, they're the new priesthood preaching the values of the left in a bigoted and often aggressive manner.

They need to stick to their day job - collecting reliable data - and leave policy making to the politicians. The confusion has been caused by them forgetting their social role.

Strongly agree with this.

The basic thrust of the article is "scientist find data, you have to act on it or else."

Tell me that smoking will give me cancer and I might still light up. It's just a choice - relaxation now in exchange for probably cancer later.

And that choice isn't some klingon speaking poindexters to make. It's mine.

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The backlash has occurred because the scientific community believe they're in a position instruct the rest of us how to live, they're the new priesthood preaching the values of the left in a bigoted and often aggressive manner.

They need to stick to their day job - collecting reliable data - and leave policy making to the politicians. The confusion has been caused by them forgetting their social role.

Well yes, the whole point of the book is that a small group of scientists have been trying to influence policy in a right-wing direction.

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Strongly agree with this.

The basic thrust of the article is "scientist find data, you have to act on it or else."

Tell me that smoking will give me cancer and I might still light up. It's just a choice - relaxation now in exchange for probably cancer later.

And that choice isn't some klingon speaking poindexters to make. It's mine.

You're confusing the scientists with the politicians. That's probably for the reasons highlighted in the book - a small group of scientists have been actively trying to influence policy.

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You're confusing the scientists with the politicians.

No, I am not.

That's probably for the reasons highlighted in the book - a small group of scientists have been actively trying to influence policy.

No, it isn't.

Your logic is very poor. Sort it out, please.

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There is pretty clear evidence that the tobacco companies engaged in some sharp practices with regard to cancer and cigarettes.

That said: it is essential that scientists are given freedom to challenge these ideas. It is right that there were scientists being sceptical and playing devils advocate - attempting to provide evidence for the opposite viewpoint. Science doesn't work by groupthink, it works by a diverse set of viewpoints being continually reduced down to a smaller set based on evidence.

The problem occurs when scientists lose a certain degree of objectivity - whilst individual scientists can be partial and have strongly held views (which, as mentioned above, is essential for the normal conduct of science), it is also essential that scientists are rigorously honest with the evidence; they do not hide or withhold data that do not agree with their own findings; they are always up front and honest with the data they have and the shortcomings of that data.

In many ways, the biggest failings of science (e.g. Lysenkoism) stem from a combination of a lack of scientific honesty, coupled with either financial motives or political motives. (Remember, tobacco was about profits, but Lysenkoism was about power - and power is arguably a much more potent cause of distortion of science).

The problem with extending this to climate change, is that it is not so clear cut which side of the argument is the one distorting the science. The sceptics (who potentially stand to benefit through oil companies) or the pro-warming side (who potentially stand to profit through the levers of power, as Lysenko did)

This isn't an easy question to answer. But a word of caution: Naomi Oreskes, the main author of this book, is rather well-known for playing fast and loose with the facts herself. She was well-known for inventing a conspiracy theory with co-author Jonathon Renouf which forced both the Times and the BBC to issue apologies and corrections regarding the American government and global warming. She has continued with her slightly wacky conspiracy theories in Merchants of Doubt, documented here by Nicolas Nierenberg.

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When global warming scientists say things like the following, they lose their right to preach: "To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest."

http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2003/09/19/honest-or-effective/

Science is not what scientists think - it's repeatable experiments. Scientists should remember that before they go hiding data.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/climategate-hide-the-decline-codified/

In fact, the "scientists" trying to hide things in the global warming debate are habitually the alarmists/believers.

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No, I am not.

Clearly you are, since scientists can't tell you to do anything. You can ignore them and do as you wish.

No, it isn't.

Your logic is very poor. Sort it out, please.

Nothing to do with logic, just poking fun - you are claiming to be against scientists trying to change policy and influence opinion. This book points out, with evidence, that such a group have actually been doing this for years, yet you choose to ignore them in favour of joining the attack on mainstream scientists?

I find that quite bizarre, however I can understand that the conclusions of this book could make uncomfortable reading for the 'sceptics', with the possibility that they may have been sold a pup.

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Clearly you are, since scientists can't tell you to do anything. You can ignore them and do as you wish.

As this wasn't what I was talking about, I obviously said nothing of the sort. I outlined a presumption in the article (and which is found elsewhere.)

Nothing to do with logic, just poking fun - you are claiming to be against scientists trying to change policy and influence opinion.

No, I am not. Like I said, your logic is bad.

I'm all for the scientific method to be applied to the area of politics. Rather excellently it leads to the inevitable conclusion that no one should be making policy at all. We've got several hundred years of data to back this conclusion up.

This book points out, with evidence, that such a group have actually been doing this for years, yet you choose to ignore them in favour of joining the attack on mainstream scientists?

False dichotomy. Poor logic.

I find that quite bizarre, however I can understand that the conclusions of this book could make uncomfortable reading for the 'sceptics', with the possibility that they may have been sold a pup.

The default position for anything is unproven. Scepticism is a given.

I've seen no scientific proof for global warming and it's variants, and as I already pointed out there can't be one as there is no repeatable test available.

What there can be (and there is) is plenty of informed opinion based on some known things plus fairly logical conjecture. This however, doesn't pass the high barrier that makes something confirmed science - repeatable tests absent, alternative undismissable hypothesis present and all the rest of it. While the informed opinions of people who are otherwise engaged in proper science is interesting, useful and possibly instructive it's isn't actually science in and of itself.

Scientist is a job title and also a set of behaviours, not a status in society that dispenses truth by mere dint of white coat wearing priesthood. the behaviours are the important bit, and as already stated no proper science is actually able to be done on large scale things like the earths weather system in the future for some very obvious reasons to do with repeatable testing and the fact that it's flat out mystic meg stuff.

Your logic is bad. Sort it out please.

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With respect, I'm not going to bother beyond this post. You've completely circumvented having any sort of discussion by resorting to pulling apart my 'logic' while expecting me to read your mind beyond the few words you have posted.

As this wasn't what I was talking about, I obviously said nothing of the sort. I outlined a presumption in the article (and which is found elsewhere.)

You agreed with chefs post, which did say it. You also said - "And that choice isn't some klingon speaking poindexters to make. It's mine." As I said - scientists aren't telling you to do anything, or making a choice for you.

You obviously understood what I said. If i've misinterpreted your point so badly, then you aren't making it very clearly.

No, I am not. Like I said, your logic is bad.

See above.

I'm all for the scientific method to be applied to the area of politics. Rather excellently it leads to the inevitable conclusion that no one should be making policy at all. We've got several hundred years of data to back this conclusion up.

Fair enough.

False dichotomy. Poor logic.

The default position for anything is unproven. Scepticism is a given.

I've seen no scientific proof for global warming and it's variants, and as I already pointed out there can't be one as there is no repeatable test available.

What there can be (and there is) is plenty of informed opinion based on some known things plus fairly logical conjecture. This however, doesn't pass the high barrier that makes something confirmed science - repeatable tests absent, alternative undismissable hypothesis present and all the rest of it. While the informed opinions of people who are otherwise engaged in proper science is interesting, useful and possibly instructive it's isn't actually science in and of itself.

Scientist is a job title and also a set of behaviours, not a status in society that dispenses truth by mere dint of white coat wearing priesthood. the behaviours are the important bit, and as already stated no proper science is actually able to be done on large scale things like the earths weather system in the future for some very obvious reasons to do with repeatable testing and the fact that it's flat out mystic meg stuff.

Your logic is bad. Sort it out please.

Completely agree on your points about scientific consensus, scientists and their role in society, however you know the point I'm making and you completely ignored it. Your scepticism is targeted - you've completely avoided commenting on the evidence that a group of scientists have tried to influence opinion, despite the fact that this is something you don't agree with (chef said it, you strongly agreed). What is telling is that your views match those of the group of scientists.

To acknowledge that there is a possibility of this book being correct would obviously be uncomfortable in this scenario. If you've 'researched' global warming then you'll have been influenced by this group of scientists and their agenda.

I'm not going to bother getting onto a merry-go-round where I try to guess what you're saying and then you answer yes or no to selected bits of my answers. Please have the conviction to make your point up front and clearly. Have a good day.

P.S. I find that in internet discussions there has to be a certain amount of 'give and take' where I do my best to understand what the other person is trying to say in their post and respond appropriately. When I do this with your posts, I find they are among the best on this forum. Unfortunately you don't extend the same courtesy to others and instead attack their debating ability, logic, or intellect.

Perhaps you think your posts are crystal clear and don't require such interpretation, but they aren't, and blaming the person reading them won't change that. Please don't expect others to live up to a standard of debate that you don't live up to yourself.

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I've seen no scientific proof for global warming and it's variants, and as I already pointed out there can't be one as there is no repeatable test available.

Does that apply to, say, Continental Drift as well?

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  • 149 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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