A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Merchants of Doubt — insidious propaganda in schools

The book Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes, was made into a box office bomb (it crashed). But, darkly, it has an ongoing life in our schools. Tony Thomas uncovers the push to put propaganda in front of children, dressed up as education. The director of the film tells the world that his aim is to stop skeptics from being broadcast on TV. (Because that’s what you do when you can’t win a fair debate eh?)

This film was never about science, but about doing exactly what it claims to “expose”. (It’s projection all the way down.) The real merchants of doubt are those that seed doubts about honest whistleblower scientists, using character assassination, namecalling, tenuous associations, innuendo and allusion instead of scientific arguments. They don’t find a scientific fault in anything skeptics say, but resort to twenty year old false tobacco smears.

What we need are resources for teachers to help students critically analyze propaganda like this. How do children spot what isn’t said? What clues do we see in this movie that reveal its anti-science, political nature? Is it that they don’t let their skeptic targets talk about climate science at all? Readers suggestions are welcome. How do [...]

“Merchants of Doubt” bombs at box office

“Merchants of Doubt” — the new attack-umentory released last week — has been a box-office bomb. Even the anti-carbon activists can’t be bothered watching the rehashed malevolent fantasy speculation about the scientists who dared stand against the establishment.

Jim Lakely at Heartland reports that total takings were $23,300 last weekend.

It uses 20 year old documents to absurdly try to tie the smoking campaign to the climate debate. Oreskes fights on the side with billions of dollars but tries to paint herself the victim of intimidation. No one is buying it. The Merchants of Doubt is an unwitting self projection of her own obsession trying to sell doubts about honest, upstanding scientists.

Fred Singer got his PhD in 1948 on cosmic ray showers. His thesis committee included J. Robert Oppenheimer and Niels Bohr. I’d like to see Fred Singer discuss atmospheric physics with Naomi. Bring on the debate that matters and let the smear campaign get all it deserves.



Naomi Oreskes, THE Merchant of Doubt herself, uses tactics of the tobacco lobby

Naomi Orsekes’ big intellectual contribution to the climate debate is her fantasy that skeptics copy tactics from the tobacco lobby. It’s a trick to reframe real criticism — Dr A spots a real error, but Oreskes waves the “Tobacco tactic!” red flag. Stop the conversation!

Not only are these ad hom attacks tactics as old as the stone age, bone obvious, and used in every political hot-potato debate, but “tobacco tactics” are the stock and trade of Prof Naomi Oreskes. She’s make a whole career out of mimicking the tobacco industry.

Oreskes wrote an entire book designed to denigrate scientists based on tenuous links on unrelated topics with 20 year old documents. She is The Merchant of Doubt — it’s what she sells — “doubts” about the motivation of skeptical scientists. Her fantasies about skeptics using tobacco tactics is pure psychological projection. Perhaps she isn’t aware?

In a science debate about the climate, the only things that matter are evidence and reasoning about the climate. Those who can’t point out flaws in the science debate launch personal attacks from the gutter instead. What has tobacco got to do with Earth’s Climate? It’s not a forcing or a feedback, but the [...]

Climate Evangelism: The Priestess Oreskes warns of the Evil Fox!

Naomi Oreskes visited Curtin University in Perth last week. Blessed are those who came to bear witness to the true prophecies! Dr Roberto Soria from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, was there at what he so aptly describes as an evangelistic event. His dry satirical report of that day follows, a very enjoyable read for those who have been at the receiving end of similar sermons. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to absorb the Oreskes message. Enjoy! — Jo

Naomi Oreskes preaches hatred of sinners

The Parable of Oreskes is epic!

Guest Post Dr Roberto Soria The glorious banquet is coming to an end. For 150 years hundreds of millions of guests have eaten to their hearts’ content at the Banquet of Gaia. But now, the Son of Man has arrived to deliver the bill. The diners are in shock. Some begin to deny that this is their bill. Others deny that there even is a bill. Still others deny that they partook of the meal, or suggest that they simply ignore the waiter. But there is no way out. The bill is due now, it is time to pay, or we [...]

UWA sponsors world wide junkets for poor research, inept smears: Oreskes

I wondered who was funding Oreskes to fly all the way around the world to deliver two seminars in Perth to audiences of mostly evangelical believers. Michael Kile (Quadrant magazine) reveals more of the details. Presumably she is funded by the Professors-at-large program at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA). We still have no details on the amounts.

UWA think achieving “international excellence” is so important they’ve put it in their logo.

We see below how many of the UWA hosts benefit from climate change grants, and thus would potentially gain from promoting a baseless smear against critics who threaten their funding or status. These hypocrites are happy to promote the untruth that skeptics are funded to speak, when the they themselves are the ones who benefit financially from a dubious scare campaign. The professors-at-large program is supposed to foster public debate, but four of the ten Oreskes hosts signed a letter seeking to silence a skeptic from speaking at another university.

Who would sponsor an expert that is ignorant of 99.99% of their topic?

Oreskes claims skeptics are funded by big-oil, but misses that most oil companies [...]

Oreskes, the Queen of Climate Smear, ignores the big money, has no evidence, throws names

You’d expect a professor to have done the basic research.

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is famous (of sorts) for the book: Merchants of Doubt — it seeds doubts about skeptics by saying that skeptic’s “seed doubts” about climate change.

The skeptics seed doubts by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results (isn’t this known as “discussion”?). Oreskes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts.

The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Oreskes who specializes in … attacking the messengers.

Oreskes’ work is based on a logical fallacy, inept research, and incompetent reasoning.

What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” or journalists can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric.

Oreskes can name virtually no significant funding for skeptics. Skeptics are almost all unpaid volunteers, working out of professional and patriotic duty, appalled by the illogical, anti-science sentiments of people like Oreskes. The enormous “vested interests” are well over a thousand to one in favor of alarmism as measured by funding, yet Oreskes has not even considered them. The largest proactive skeptical organization (Heartland) has [...]