Chapter two talks
about the doubt sold in nuclear war and the possibility of a nuclear winter.
The United States does not want to ever enter into a nuclear war, but if one
started, the government wanted to make sure that we would win. A group of CIA
members called Team B scared the United States, saying that the Soviets were
armed and ready for a nuclear war. The Soviets were said to be a big threat and
tons of nuclear weapons were created in response to the Soviets “Superiority.” Team
B were the merchants of doubt: everything that they said was supported by little
to no evidence. The Soviets were not a big threat and did not want to engage in
a nuclear war at all. This proves to show that someone can have no evidence for
a claim and can still get a large number of people to believe in the claim. The
United States government concluded that there is no way to fully prepare for a
nuclear war and scientists were saying that there would be no winners of a nuclear
war due to nuclear winter. After a nuclear attack, a nuclear winter would
happen, which is when the Earth’s temperature would drop drastically causing the
world to either freeze or become chilly. Nuclear winter was a hot topic in the science
community and the amount of degrees that the Earth’s temperature would drop too
was argued about. Either way, the science community supports that a temperature
change would detrimentally affect the environment.
Doubt can be a powerful feeling that
can take over peoples’ intuition of a certain product or a person. Someone can
doubt the harmfulness of alcohol because a powerful figure stated that alcohol
is safe to use daily and or a beer company creates a persuasive ad. In the first
two chapters of the book, “Merchants of Doubt,” it talks about how some big
companies sell doubt to people to make their products or ideas seem superior.
The scandals of the tobacco companies were talked about in chapter one. Not
only did the tobacco companies sell tobacco products, but their most profitable
product was doubt. The companies did everything in their power to make sure
that people did not know the dangers of smoking, so that they would continue make
money from tobacco. Although there was evidence that tobacco causes cancer, the
evidence was shut down because the correlation between smoking and cancer was “unclear.”
The tobacco companies said that air pollution, genetics, prions, and stress are
potential causes of cancer, tobacco not being one of them. Scientists for the tobacco
companies worked tirelessly finding other ways people can get cancer so that
they can put the blame for cancer on those other ways rather than tobacco. Since
the tobacco company never gave up on defending tobacco and that they generously
donated tons of money to medical research institutes, people had the doubt that
tobacco is deadly.
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