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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Monday, 25 February 2019

Exploring The Concepts Of Science Consensus And Denial With Naomi Oreskes

We hear it all the time. The world's scientists agree that climate change is real, and that it is a consequence of human activities. So if there's a scientific consensus, why is science denial so omnipresent? Well, Naomi Oreskes is just the right person to explain it.

Oreskes is a science historian, Harvard professor, and author. She co-authored Merchants of Doubt, one of the most famous books on science denial. She is also the co-author of a study published in 2017 which proved that Exxon had knowingly used "advertorials" at The New York Times to spread misinformation about climate change.

In this 70-minute conversation, Naomi Oreskes tells the host, Sean Carroll, about the creation of scientific consensus and the rise of denial, using climate change as a case study.

Oreskes started researching whether such consensus actually existed in the mid-2000s, when she noticed discrepancies on the topic of global warming between politicians such as George W. Bush and the scientists around her. It didn't take long for her to start receiving death threats, which led her to write Merchants of Doubt. There she reveals that the deniers of climate change often are the same people who denied the ozone hole, or the relationship between smoking and cancer.

But why? When did it start? Why is it more prevalent in the US? And what does it have in common with child labor? The answers are all within the podcast.

Mindscape is one of my favorite podcasts. It's fun, engaging and Sean Carroll is nothing short of a fantastic interviewer. However, it rarely touches on topics that I work on, so I was really excited to see that I could finally recommend it here. I hope you'll enjoy as much as I do (and check out the rest of the episodes for some mind-bending conversations!).

If you enjoyed this podcast, I'd recommend you also give some time to Drilled.

Exploring The Concepts Of Science Consensus And Denial With Naomi Oreskes
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