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Merchants of Doubt

LSHTM Showcases - Vaccines, HIV/AIDS, Climate Change

 

About the film

Based on the unknown book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt is a documentary with a satirical and yet enlightening take on the American magic industry.

Using a professional magician, the film compares science denialist tactics to methods used by magicians to distract their audiences from observing how illusions are performed. The filmmaker, Robert Kenner, explores a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities. And yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. (C) Sony Classics

One example is the tobacco industry, there their tactics successfully delayed government regulation until long after the establishment of scientific consensus about the health risks from smoking.

In another example, the film describes how manufacturers of flame retardants worked to protect their sales after toxic effects of the retardants were reported in the scientific literature. The overal concern of the film is the ongoing use of these tactics to forestall governmental action to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in response to the risk of global climate change.

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