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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Environment

Scepticism vs Denial

A sceptic is someone who needs to examine the evidence before accepting an argument or theory and may not be convinced by that evidence. According to Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine:


Scepticism is integral to the scientific process, because most claims turn out to be false. Weeding out the few kernels of wheat from the large pile of chaff requires extensive observation, careful experimentation and cautious inference. Science is scepticism and good scientists are sceptical.

More cartoons from Polyp

Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee describe denialism:


There is an overwhelming consensus on the evidence among scientists yet there are also vocal commentators who reject this consensus, convincing many of the public, and often the media too, that the consensus is not based on ‘sound science’ or denying that there is a consensus by exhibiting individual dissenting voices as the ultimate authorities on the topic in question. Their goal is to convince that there are sufficient grounds to reject the case for taking action...

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Denial Movement Tactics

walking off cliffDiethelm and McKee identify five tactics common to denial movements:

  1. They claim there is a conspiracy, often aided by the scientific peer review system that enables participating scientists to reject dissenting papers. (see 'Global warming conspiracy theory')
  2. They use fake experts to bolster their own position: "These are individuals who purport to be experts in a particular area but whose views are entirely inconsistent with established knowledge." At the same time, established experts may be denigrated and efforts made to discredit them.
  3. They selectively cite evidence that bolsters their own position, even after it has been discredited; ignore evidence that contradicts their position; draw "on isolated papers that challenge the dominant consensus"; and seek to demonstrate weaknesses in papers that support the mainstream consensus.
  4. They demand unrealistic research findings. "For example, those denying the reality of climate change point to the absence of accurate temperature records from before the invention of the thermometer."
  5. The use logical fallacies, false analogies and misrepresentations to discredit the existing scientific consensus.
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Spreading Disinformation

protestThe global warming denial movement, particularly think tanks and front groups, have played an active role in disseminating every tidbit of information, whether verified or not, that discredits the idea of global warming.


For example, in 2006 Australian columnist Piers Akerman wrote an article labelling global warming warnings as alarmist in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. In it he quoted former head of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Houghton, as having said "Unless we announce disasters no one will listen". Although this quotation appears to have been fabricated, it was subsequently quoted in more than three books, over 100 blog posts and some 24,000 web pages, often attributed to a 1994 book by Houghton, in which it does not appear.


New Scientist correspondent, Jim Giles, describes this phenomenon as an "informational cascade" that is amplified by the "echo chamber" of the internet. He suggests that the more a person hears a piece of information that more they are likely to believe it, particularly if it accords with ones existing beliefs ("confirmation bias").

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