Monday, March 10, 2014

The death of intelligence

If you have ever questioned why you are subjected to ceaseless bullshit whenever you watch television or read the newspaper you can most likely thank the tobacco industry.

Its goal was to erode public acceptance of the scientifically proven links between smoking and disease: In the words of an internal 1969 memo legal opponents extracted from Brown & Williamson's files, "Doubt is our product." Big Tobacco's method should not be to debunk the evidence, the memo's author wrote, but to establish a "controversy."  Industries with troublesome products have ever since followed suit.  

The Los Angeles Times published an article yesterday on the work of Robert Proctor, Stanford  science professor and an expert in Agnotology, the study of the cultural production of ignorance, one of the world's great BS detectors. Professor Proctor, ever the optimist, has made it his career to push back against those filling our heads with nonsense.  It is an interesting read.



Marilyn said...

Read the attached article--oh how the intelligence of this country is at risk.

Anonymous said...

"Doubt is our product."

Man that's good. I'm starting to get it. Getting folks hooked on word bait like "better" and "more" and "newer" and "safer" may as well come under the Doubt heading. Is my face cream X ok? or is face cream Y going to be better, I don't know. Doubt-disguised-as-intelligence says, Well I won't know if Y is better than X unless I try Y and compare the two. "Knowing" something, of course, doesn't exist; only the Doubt continuum exists.



Chez Laurel said...

Thanks for the link. I am forwarding it to several of my friends who are concerned about this very issue.

Sheila, in Seattle

NCJack said...

There really is a serious "Flat Earth Society" that will not be convinced the earth is round. And any attorney who was ever asked a question about the law had heard "I know that can't be right"...immediately, and a LOT!. For all the "Great American Dream" BS about the kids getting more education than the parents, I don't think educated people have ever been really trusted by the general populace in this country.