Creating Doubt


The Dark Side of Politics

The new documentary Merchants of Doubt knocks down the lies one by one.

And then the film knocks down the assumptions, one by one.

But it’s hard to know what’s worse: the lies we tell each other, or the lies we tell ourselves?

Merchants of Doubt shatters the first lie by exploring the scientific, peer-reviewed studies about global warming.

Widely-spread rumors that scientists disagree is actually false.

Nearly all scientists agree that the earth is warming as a result of human activity.

So when the movie-makers decided to explore the science published about global warming they found no disagreement: no one had published in a peer-reviewed journal a study that challenged the fact that we are bringing about our own demise.

Once the lie crumbles, what’s left to deny?

If the science is right, then why do folks cleave to their beliefs that the globe isn’t warming?

According to one view examined in Merchants of Doubt, folks simply don’t want to part with their political—not scientific—beliefs.

Several of the opinion leaders interviewed for the documentary dispute climate change on political grounds.

For example, Paul Gallo, a talk-show host in Mississippi, questions how any conservative can share a belief with a liberal.

“To me every fiber in my body is saying [if] you’re a conservative, you can’t believe this,” Gallo says about climate change.

“I don’t believe humans are creating this—and neither do a vast majority of climate scientists.”

But you’re wrong, Mr. Gallo: scientists do believe human actions affect the environment.

On camera, when his guest tells Gallo he is wrong about the science, Gallo ends the conversation.

Clearly we humans have our blinders in place, and the shades go down when a light shines the truth.

Sometimes we’d rather cling to our beliefs than wrestle with truths.

And as Gallo confessed, he’s rather embrace a lie than be called a Liberal.



About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, Climate change, framing, journalism, merchants of doubt, Native Science, science, science communication and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Creating Doubt

  1. Stevie B says:

    O the things we tell ourselves to make “our world” a better place. Ignorance is bliss, Whats the biggest lie you tell yourself to maintain your happy place? nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, the desire to hold on to one’s political beliefs, and thus one’s understanding of the world, is shared by people on most of the political spectrum. Perhaps that is just human nature. Even so, we need to change many of our assumptions if we are to have a viable world.

    Liked by 1 person

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