Looking Back: Merchants of Doubt Event
On the 23rd of October the Erasmus Initiative: Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity hosted the showing of "Merchants of Doubt". A documentary that inspects pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change. The documentary is the film version of a book written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. After the film showing, there was be a panel discussion with members of the academic team of the initiative.
About 30 students and academics joined the screening and panel discussion on the "Merchants of Doubt" documentary. During the film they enjoyed a vegan dinner provided by Flower Burger. The documentary shows that there is a small yet potent subset of scientists that lead the world in vehement denial of dangers that other academics have demonstrated. These dangers include landmark studies on DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming.
Merchants of Doubt explains how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.