The Triumph of Doubt

Dark Money and the Science of Deception

David Michaels

Format: Hardcover
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Well-heeled American corporations have long had a financial stake in undermining scientific consensus and manufacturing uncertainty. In The Triumph of Doubt, former Obama and Clinton official David Michaels details how corrupt science becomes public policy -- and where it's happening today.

Opioids. Concussions. Obesity. Climate Change.

America is a country of everyday crises -- big, long-spanning problems that persist despite their toll on the country's health. And for every case of government inaction on one of these issues, there is a set of familiar, doubtful refrains: The science is unclear. The data are inconclusive. Regulation is unjustified. It's a slippery slope.

Is it?

The Triumph of Doubt traces the ascendance of science-for-hire in American life and government, from its origins in the tobacco industry in the 1950s to its current manifestations across government, public policy, and even professional sports. Amid fraught conversations of "alternative facts" and "truth decay," The Triumph of Doubt wields its unprecedented access to shine a light on the machinations and scope of manipulated science in American society. It is an urgent, revelatory work, one that promises to reorient conversations around science and the public good for the foreseeable future.

David Michaels

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Hardcover: 344 pages; 1st edition (2020); ISBN: 9780190922665
Publisher: Oxford University Press
1. Introduction
2. The Science of Deception
3. The Forever Chemical
4. The NFL's Head Doctors
5. A Spirited Denial
6. The Deal with Diesel
7. On Opioids
8. Deadly Dust
9. Working the Refs
10. Volkswagen's Other Bug
11. The Climate Denial Machine
12. Sickeningly Sweet
13. The Party Line
14. Science for Sale
15. Future in Doubt

What Legal Leaders Are Saying

David Michaels lays bare the dark money and the corporate science racket that kept the lethalities of tobacco, asbestos, lead, silica, pesticides, and scores of other life- and health-destroying products on the market and in the workplace, escaping the reach of the law. He names names of people and companies fronted by their so-called 'product defense' business and its corporate attorney enablers; delays, obfuscation, falsehood, and retaliation against ethical whistleblowers are the coins of their insidious realms. This book is written to get you angry enough to want to learn how to defend yourselves, your communities, and our vulnerable planet. Let it grip you toward detection and defiance.

— Ralph Nader

It takes real courage to speak out against entrenched corporate interests and big industry. I saw that courage firsthand when I worked alongside Dr. Michaels in the Obama administration to protect workers at construction sites from cancer-causing silica dust. The Triumph of Doubt doesn't just tell the story of how we overcame the falsehoods of industry-funded studies, it shines a disinfecting light on the ways corporations obscure the truth and downplay risk to pump up their bottom line. This is a must-read.

— Tom Perez, former U.S. Labor Secretary

A compelling and necessary work for anyone interested in the truth and those who seek to bury it. Michaels details the methods used by those in power to hide the truth-and the moral bankruptcy at work when they do so.

— Demaurice Smith, National Football League Players Association Executive Director

David Michaels provides well-written evidence in his book about how corporations that produce dangerous products-tobacco, big oil, chemicals, pharmaceuticals-use 'product defense' science to sow doubt about the hazards hidden in their products to consumers. His evidence highlights the important role unbiased government scientists play in protecting the public health of Americans and our environment from exposure to toxic materials and from corporate deceit.

— Senator Tom Udall