Show 413: Merchants of Doubt: When Scientists Lie

Merchants of Doubt:  When Scientists Lie w/ Naomi Oreskes and Joel Kovel

Science is most likely our best way of knowing and navigating our universe. It is a self-correcting method by which bias is filtered through research, experimentation, and via objective means so that we can get as close to “truth” as any human endeavor might. But science is also a human construct, so it can’t help being influenced by not only our own human brains, but by the cultures our species develop in which science operates. And while science is our best method of separating human bias from fact, there can often seem to be a very thin line between each of these.

Today we want to focus on a relatively new book called Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.  Merchants of Doubt focuses on how some scientists have, and still do, misuse and misrepresent science itself – for either ideological or economical reasons – in such grave areas such as concerning the effects of tobacco smoke on human health, the Star Wars missile defense program President Reagan championed, and the current concerns around global warming.

Also joining us today will be Joel Kovel, an American politician, academic, writer, and eco-socialist.  Kovel feels the rapid economic growth encouraged by globalization has caused our current, acute ecological crises. He argues that capitalism’s expansion “exposes ecosystems” to pollutants, habitat destruction, and resource depletion. He is the author of the environmentally focused book, The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World.

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