9 hours ago
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.