verb (used with object)
1.to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
3.Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
verb (used without object)
4.to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.
5.a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
7.a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
8.Obsolete . fear; dread.
Sometimes doubts can be useful, when they compel us to investigate things more thoroughly, but industry financed doubt has had a lot of harmful impacts
“Doubt is our product,” a cigarette executive once observed, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”
We are having our minds (and bodies) messed with in so many ways
and it can become overwhelming when we learn how bad some things really are.
Understanding what is happening can empower us so we can change course.
Read on to see some of the ways we are being had (globally), how some things are interconnected, and some tools we can use to help us work through our doubts.
Corporate Counterfeit Science
Both Wrong and Dangerous
Andrew Rosenberg, director, Center for Science & Democracy
“Last week, a New York Appeals Court ruled unanimously that that Georgia Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, must hand over internal documents pertaining to the publication of 11 studies published in reputable scientific journals between 2008 and 2012. At issue in the case: whether the firm can be held accountable for engaging in a “crime-fraud” by planting misinformation in these journals intending to show that the so-called chrysotile asbestos in its widely used joint compound doesn’t cause cancer.”
… “Asbestos is but one case of “ghost-writing” of counterfeit science for academic publications in an effort to market or cast doubt on scientific results. Recently, the editors of the Public Library of Science (PloS) Medicine, a respected open-access scientific journal, published a series of articles highlighting how widespread the problem has become in the pharmaceutical field and the difficulties academic journals are facing as they try to combat the problem. …
As a scientist, it goes against my teaching and experience to accept that ghost-writing of fraudulent scientific papers in the name of commerce should be allowed to continue unabated. Not only does it undermine the entire scientific enterprise, it poses an enormous potential threat to the public.” …
Dr Margaret Chan
Director-General of the World Health Organization
“Under the pressure of these forces, chronic noncommunicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of morbidity, disability, and mortality. …
The globalization of unhealthy lifestyles is by no means just a technical issue for public health. It is a political issue. It is a trade issue. And it is an issue for foreign affairs.
In another disturbing trend, inequalities, between and within countries, in income levels, opportunities, and health outcomes, are now greater than at any time in recent decades. We increasingly live in a world of rich countries full of poor and sick people. The rise of noncommunicable diseases threatens to widen these gaps even further. …
Efforts to prevent noncommunicable diseases go against the business interests of powerful economic operators. In my view, this is one of the biggest challenges facing health promotion.
As the new publication makes clear, it is not just Big Tobacco anymore. Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation, and protect themselves by using the same tactics.
Research has documented these tactics well. They include front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits, and industry-funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt.
Tactics also include gifts, grants, and contributions to worthy causes that cast these industries as respectable corporate citizens in the eyes of politicians and the public. They include arguments that place the responsibility for harm to health on individuals, and portray government actions as interference in personal liberties and free choice.
This is formidable opposition. Market power readily translates into political power. Few governments prioritize health over big business.
As we learned from experience with the tobacco industry, a powerful corporation can sell the public just about anything.” …
I am deeply concerned by two recent trends.
The first relates to trade agreements. Governments introducing measures to protect the health of their citizens are being taken to court, and challenged in litigation.
This is dangerous.
The second is efforts by industry to shape the public health policies and strategies that affect their products.
When industry is involved in policy-making, rest assured that the most effective control measures will be downplayed or left out entirely.
This, too, is well documented, and dangerous.
In the view of WHO, the formulation of health policies must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests.
“Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena. In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what you already believe, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce your beliefs.”
How Companies Learn Your Secrets
By CHARLES DUHIGG
… “When they got back to P.& G.’s headquarters, the researchers watched their videotapes again. Now they knew what to look for and saw their mistake in scene after scene. Cleaning has its own habit loops that already exist. In one video, when a woman walked into a dirty room (cue), she started sweeping and picking up toys (routine), then she examined the room and smiled when she was done (reward). In another, a woman scowled at her unmade bed (cue), proceeded to straighten the blankets and comforter (routine) and then sighed as she ran her hands over the freshly plumped pillows (reward). P.& G. had been trying to create a whole new habit with Febreze, but what they really needed to do was piggyback on habit loops that were already in place. The marketers needed to position Febreze as something that came at the end of the cleaning ritual, the reward, rather than as a whole new cleaning routine.
The company printed new ads showing open windows and gusts of fresh air. More perfume was added to the Febreze formula, so that instead of merely neutralizing odors, the spray had its own distinct scent. Television commercials were filmed of women, having finished their cleaning routine, using Febreze to spritz freshly made beds and just-laundered clothing. Each ad was designed to appeal to the habit loop: when you see a freshly cleaned room (cue), pull out Febreze (routine) and enjoy a smell that says you’ve done a great job (reward). When you finish making a bed (cue), spritz Febreze (routine) and breathe a sweet, contented sigh (reward). Febreze, the ads implied, was a pleasant treat, not a reminder that your home stinks.
And so Febreze, a product originally conceived as a revolutionary way to destroy odors, became an air freshener used once things are already clean.” …
Febreze Air Effects
This product released 89 air contaminants.
Food & Drink
The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
By MICHAEL MOSS
“In the process of product optimization, food engineers alter a litany of variables with the sole intent of finding the most perfect version (or versions) of a product. Ordinary consumers are paid to spend hours sitting in rooms where they touch, feel, sip, smell, swirl and taste whatever product is in question. Their opinions are dumped into a computer, and the data are sifted and sorted through a statistical method called conjoint analysis, which determines what features will be most attractive to consumers. Moskowitz likes to imagine that his computer is divided into silos, in which each of the attributes is stacked. But it’s not simply a matter of comparing Color 23 with Color 24. In the most complicated projects, Color 23 must be combined with Syrup 11 and Packaging 6, and on and on, in seemingly infinite combinations. Even for jobs in which the only concern is taste and the variables are limited to the ingredients, endless charts and graphs will come spewing out of Moskowitz’s computer. “The mathematical model maps out the ingredients to the sensory perceptions these ingredients create,” he told me, “so I can just dial a new product. This is the engineering approach.”
“This idea — that kids are in control — would become a key concept in the evolving marketing campaigns for the trays. In what would prove to be their greatest achievement of all, the Lunchables team would delve into adolescent psychology to discover that it wasn’t the food in the trays that excited the kids; it was the feeling of power it brought to their lives. As Bob Eckert, then the C.E.O. of Kraft, put it in 1999: “Lunchables aren’t about lunch. It’s about kids being able to put together what they want to eat, anytime, anywhere.”
Kraft’s early Lunchables campaign targeted mothers. They might be too distracted by work to make a lunch, but they loved their kids enough to offer them this prepackaged gift. But as the focus swung toward kids, Saturday-morning cartoons started carrying an ad that offered a different message: “All day, you gotta do what they say,” the ads said. “But lunchtime is all yours.”
If Americans snacked only occasionally, and in small amounts, this would not present the enormous problem that it does. But because so much money and effort has been invested over decades in engineering and then relentlessly selling these products, the effects are seemingly impossible to unwind.
Food and drink industries
‘taking governments for a ride’
Alcohol, drink and processed food industries sponsoring scientists to publish biased and incomplete reports, experts say
Moodie says the multinationals, like the tobacco companies, encourage public opposition to government regulation by emphasising individual choice and the intrusion of the “nanny state” into our lives.
“These companies shouldn’t be around the table when formulating national and international policy,” says Moodie. “There is a fundamental conflict — their legitimate role is to make profit, our role is to protect health.”
The Secret History of the War on Cancer
Dr. Devra Davis shows, decade by decade, how the campaign has targeted the disease and left off the table the things that cause it—tobacco, alcohol, the workplace, and other environmental hazards.
Conceived in explicitly military terms, the effort has focused on defeating an enemy by detecting, treating, and curing disease.
Overlooked and suppressed was any consideration of how the world in which we live and work affects whether we get cancer.
The result is appalling: over 10 million (in 2008) preventable cancer deaths over the past thirty years.
This has been no accident.
Doubt Is Their Product
“An underlying theme of this book is that capitalism, as currently practiced, prioritizes short-term profits and increased return to investors over human and environmental health.
Businesses are driven by two primary priorities: to increase revenue by building and selling more products, and to maximize profits by externalizing costs to another entity.
Often this other entity is the public or workers.
The public pays for the costs of illness and pollution incurred by workers and the environment; immediate business profits are often valued more highly than the health of workers, public, or the environment.”
Doubt is Their Product:
How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health
“The Orwellian strategy of dismissing research conducted by the scientific community as “junk science” and elevating science conducted by product defense specialists to “sound science” status also creates confusion about the very nature of scientific inquiry and undermines the public’s confidence in science’s ability to address public health and environmental concerns”
Merchants of Doubt
“In their (new) book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades”
How Positive Thinking is Undermining America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
“With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America’s penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out “negative” thoughts. On a national level, it’s brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best—poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science, and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage.”
Useful Websites for Additional Reading and Research:
To Analyze Thinking We Must Identify and Question its Elemental Structures
See the website for interactive tools and info on developing better skills
Cause and Effect
“Cause and effect refers to the philosophical concept of causality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event. The universe and everything in it are in flux, arising and ceasing, appearing and disappearing, in an unending cycle of change conditioned by the law of causation. All things are subject to the law of cause and effect, and consequently nothing can exist independently of other things.”
Life Cycle Assessment
“The life cycle concept: An LCA of a product includes all the production processes and services associated with the product through its life cycle , from the extraction of raw materials through production of the materials which are used in the manufacture of the product, over the use of the product, to its recycling and/or ultimate disposal of some of its constituents. Such a complete life cycle is also often named “cradle to grave “. Transportation, storage, retail, and other activities between the life cycle stages are included where relevant. This life cycle of a product is hence identical to the complete supply-chain of the product plus its use and end-of-life treatment.”
What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
Understanding what is going on can be really helpful, and gives us hope that things can change.
Yet hope alone is not a plan! We have to DO different!
Cradle to Cradle
“Rather than seeking to minimize the harm we inflict, Cradle to Cradle reframes design as a beneficial, regenerative force—one that seeks to create ecological footprints to delight in, not lament. It expands the definition of design quality to include positive effects on economic, ecological and social health. Cradle to Cradle rejects the idea that growth is detrimental to environmental health; after all, in nature growth is good. Instead, it promotes the idea that good design supports a rich human experience with all that entails—fun, beauty, enjoyment, inspiration and poetry—and still encourages environmental health and abundance.”
In the above video we see an alternative way, architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account “all children, all species, for all time.”
There are other ways to change too. There have been entire books written on the topic of caring not only for our environment (which we depend on for life),but about each other and other species too.
1. The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.
2. Common sense; good judgment:
It’s up to all of us. If not us, then who?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
We need to step away from human created constructs and get back to nature too!
Our future depends on it!
Incredible post, Linda, with a wealth of helpful links I likely wouldn’t have found on my own. Have you thought about writing an ebook? You could take all the web content you’ve written and put it into topical chapters. I’d buy it!
If you know someone who is capable of organizing my thoughts, it might happen someday!
Otherwise, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon (soon in my time could imply anything from months to lifetimes – brain time/MCS time is created by /dependent on whether or not my air is full of chemicals and pollution or if it’s clean air!
In other words, not up to me since I have no control over what others in the area do, and most of them use pestiCIDES and herbiCIDES and synthetic fertilizers (despite the cosmetic CIDE ban) and toxic chemical filled laundry products, all of which trespass into the air I have to breathe here, and affect my brain as if I was inhaling things to get stoned (but without the high, I just get the brain damage)…
HOWEVER, if you like what you see here, you can still contribute… check out the DANA page at the top :-)