Use Of Pseudoscience By Big Businesses
Use Of Pseudoscience By Big Businesses
The term pseudoscience refers the intellectual reasoning, beliefs and practices that people either hold and claim to be scientifically true, while no scientific methods or norms support the claims. The knowledge used in pseudoscience lacks any scientific explanations or evidence that is accurate and reliable based on the facts, and has in some cases been viewed as “false knowledge”. In pseudoscience, the knowledge used appears to be scientifically correct, but it deviates from adherence to the scientific methods and norms. In most cases, pseudoscience is seen to provide inaccurate and deceptive.
Pseudoscience has been considered to support claims that are exaggerated and not testable. Furthermore, the findings or results that are considered correct in pseudoscience lack an appropriate development of theory (Bauer, Henry . 2000). Those who use pseudoscience are always reluctant when it comes to allowing other experts in the same field to test their theories for approval or disapproval . In science; research conducted about an issue is very instrumental in providing relevant evidence and reliable results which support a scientific claim or belief.
Other scientists, researchers or experts in the same field are allowed to carry out their investigations about scientific theory, so that the findings are adopted as relevant scientific knowledge or falsified. To ensure that accurate and reliable information or results are given, scientists are expected to follow certain scientific methods and norms that are accepted within the professional field in order to avoid being bias. After getting the results, information based on the findings is then presented to the other experts for scrutiny, often done through documentation.
This allows further studies to be carried out to either support or disapprove the claims. Other actors that are determined during the study include the margins of error, confidence intervals, and the statistical significance. The scientific results or reported findings that fail to follow the scientific methods are considered inaccurate, unreliable invalid and false. Such findings are not considered useful enough to guide any action or decision within the scientific field. Though pseudoscience integrates consistency in scientific research accepted norms, it fails to follow the norms and the scientific method.
Different individuals, organizations, and big businesses employ pseudoscience to manipulate scientific facts for their own selfish interests. Thesis statement Global warming is an environmental problem that has been experienced in the past and has been predicted to continue. Due to its effects on the globe, increased awareness and research in this field has been promoted in order to develop means through which the problem can be tackled. The scientific findings that have been presented and relate to global warming have motivated political and economic debates, which have focused on how greenhouse emissions from industries should be reduced.
This has in turn fuelled a controversy. The weighing of costs and benefits by big companies or businesses has shown that business activities that may mitigate or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases from the industries may be very costly. Adopting alternative energy sources in the companies so that the carbon emissions are reduced is a proposal that has not been received well by the big businesses. Instead, the big companies support climate change control measures that are conservative, by pointing out that the economic costs of strict global warming control measures are far too high.
In their efforts to obscure the reality of global warming and to confuse the people, the businesses have turned to pseudoscience as a tool of manipulating the truth about the climate changes (Hines, Terence . 1988). A good example of a big business that has employed pseudoscience to mislead people about the climatic changes is the Exxon Mobil oil company. This giant corporation is a business industry leader in providing oil and gas products, and is one of the largest companies in the world ($404. 5 billion revenue). The company has been accused of manipulating scientific facts for its own business interests.
For instance, it has been involved in practices that attempt to convince the public that global warming is as a result of natural trends. The company by doing this tries convince people that the havoc it creates on the environment is very minimal. Furthermore, the company has supported anti-climate change pseudoscience and has attempted to interfere with scientific facts about global warming. The paper will look at pseudoscience as used by big businesses, with the oil corporation Exxon Mobil used as an example. Discussion Contribution of Big Businesses to Global Warming
Big businesses have continued to contribute greatly to global climate changes up to date through the activities that they undertake. The climatic changes have been linked to anthropogenic activities, where man either contributes directly or indirectly to these changes. For example, the high concentrations of green house gases in the atmosphere have enhanced the “greenhouse effect” which is a major contributor to the climatic changes. However, natural trends have also been proved to contribute to the changes though human activities have been greatly responsible.
For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has echoed similar sentiments (IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Scientists after conducting research have stated clearly that the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased by 31%, while those of CH4 (methane) by 14% since the period of industrial revolution in the 1700s. Three-quarters of the atmospheric carbon dioxide that has increased over the last two decades has been caused by fossil fuel burning.
By volume, the current atmospheric CO2 concentration is 385ppm (parts per million). The concentration is expected to increase in future due to the expected changing land uses and fossil fuel burning. Big companies or businesses have emitted carbon dioxide through industrial pollution and fossil fuel burning, and the recognition of global warming as an environmental threat has made it an agenda during the United Nations Environment and Development conferences. The member states during the conferences have been urged to cut down gas emissions from their industries or factories, in order to solve the climatic change problems.
For instance, the United Nations Environment and Development conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992(Brazil) and in Japan (1997) encouraged nations to limit carbon emissions from their industries. The Kyoto protocol signing gave all member states the responsibility to minimize carbon emissions. The efforts to minimize these emissions are however being undermined by misleading scientific information that is being disseminated to the public. How Big Businesses are Employing Pseudoscience Big businesses are employing pseudoscience in various ways.
One way through which pseudoscience is being used to obscure global warming reality is through arguments and claims that attempt to convince people that global warming is a result of natural trends. The companies have developed theories that try to disapprove the scientific claims that the companies create havoc on the environment. Like earlier stated, pseudoscience consistently accepts scientific methods. While the businesses may be right to claim that natural trends result to global warming, they fail to acknowledge that the natural trends make very minimal contribution to the climatic changes.
On the other hand, it is the businesses’ activities that make the biggest contribution to the changes. For instance, the Exxon Mobil oil company has in the recent past tried to portray itself as a company that adheres to sound environmental policies. However, its business activities have not been conducted in accordance with sound environmental policies. Like Exxon Mobil, many big businesses have attempted to display themselves as organizations that opposed global warming actions in search of sound science, rather than for their own interests…
They tend to cover their business self-interests using claims that portray them as organizations that seek ‘sound science’ Furthermore, big businesses have tried to raise doubts about proven scientific findings and knowledge, no matter how accurate and reliable the findings might be. This they do by accepting some facts or truths about the scientific findings that have been presented, but they try to use the same facts to disapprove the findings that had earlier been accepted. Another oil company that has tried to portray itself as being sensitive to environmental changes is the BP (British Petroleum) giant.
The adverts about this company have tried to show that the abbreviations BP stand for Beyond Petroleum, to indicate that the company is sensitive about the environment. While this may seem to create the company a positive image by portraying it as being sensitive to the environmental, the company has not done much to practice what it preaches. The Exxon Mobil is considered to have contributed to the Valdez oil spill at Prince William Sound (Alaska) over twenty years ago, and though it promised to contain the oil spill within six hours, it failed to do so.
Instead it contracted someone to steam- clean the beaches, an activity that caused an environmental disaster . This was viewed as a disastrous action to take that the business was given a $5 billion penalty (www. documentaryfilms. net/index. php/out-of-balance-exxonmobil-impact-on-climate-change/). Big businesses fund organizations, individuals or scientist groups that try to misrepresent true scientific findings about global warming. Furthermore, these groups are expected to support the works of climate change contrarians, by either publishing or republishing their findings that refute climate change findings.
Such measures have continued to discredit the work of genuine and reputable climate scientists. For instance, the Exxon-Mobil has been accused of funding the Marshall Institute with $630,000 so that the work of reputable climate change scientists is disapproved. Other groups such as “Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy and Committee for a Constructive tomorrow” have been funded to alter scientific facts. An astrophysicist known as Sallie Baliunas has been linked to Exxon Mobil pseudoscience actions.
In a 2003 paper that she wrote, Baliunas is recognized for her allegations that no climate change had been witnessed in the last millennia. Her work was however has refuted by 13 climate change scientists. Through such activities, big businesses like Exxon Mobil have managed to amplify scientific work that has been rejected by genuine climate scientists. The aim of funding such groups or individuals is to spread wrong information about climate change, so that the companies build a positive image of themselves in relation to environmental conservation.
The businesses can then portray themselves as environmental friendly in their undertaking, while they reap huge profits from degrading the environment. This strategy referred to as the “Big Tobacco Tactic” has been used by big businesses to cloud the scientific facts about climate change (www. ucsuas. org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-Global Warming_tobacco. html). This in turn creates room for the delay of actions that should be implemented to tackle the changes.
Big businesses have and still continue to exert great pressure on the environmental law or policies that are developed and in various nations to mitigate the global warming problems. Through the international bodies, nations have agreed and are encouraged to adopt policies that will reduce gas emissions from their industries. The companies or the big businesses have always shown their fears and discomfort if strict environmental laws and policies were to be adopted. The policies are seen as a threat to the companies’ huge profits.
This is because; the laws would require the companies to spend a lot on funds on measures that would minimize the emissions. The strict laws and policies may give the businesses negative public image if their activities were to be fully exposed to the people. To prevent this, the companies tend to interfere with the development of policies that may threaten their financial gains. The policies are expected to integrate measures that may seem to govern sound environmental management, but they may fail to address the big businesses’ contribution to environmental degradation.
Exxon Mobil has done this by showing its desire to recommend the appointment of top government officials in the government ,who can fund climate change deniers(www. ucsusa. org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-Global Warming-tobacco. html) . The big businesses’ campaigns to promote dissemination of wrong information in relation to global warming has shown these businesses’ lack of accountability for their actions (Ross, Gelbspan. 2005). Furthermore, this measure misleads the public on the contribution of the companies to global warming. The Pseudoscience Intended Audience
In any business, maximum profit generation forms a very important aspect of management. In order for the business to succeed, reduction of the production costs and increased consumer consumption of the products are vital. In climate pseudoscience, the intended audience is the often the public, the governments and the scientists. Since global warming has become an issue of great concern to everyone, people of all walks of life have been dedicated to solving this problem. The businesses are also expected to show their concern about the climatic changes.
In order to project their image as organizations that are participating in solving the global warming problem, the businesses’ strive to have a positive image from the public is very important. This is because; it is only through a positive image from the public that people can support the business. Negative image hurts the business financial gains. Therefore the business will develop and try to maintain good relations with the potential consumer of its products (the public) in many ways, including pseudoscience.
The big businesses have been receiving criticism from the conservation-related organizations and individuals. The international bodies have recommended that greenhouse gases emission be minimized, which means that the cost of production is expected to go up when huge amounts of resources will be used to mitigate or minimize the emissions( Ross, Gelbspan. 2005). To avoid this, businesses are using pseudoscience to create an opinion that they are not responsible for global warming. Furthermore, creating a positive public image wins the support of the public.
Governments are also targeted when the big businesses use pseudoscience. This is because; governments in the modern world have the responsibility to prevent actions that encourage climate changes. Through government policies, the businesses are provided with regulations that they are expected to observe. The laws define what a business company should do or not do. It is therefore very important for the businesses to adhere to the government laws or policies strictly, failure to which one may be punished or penalized.
The business activities are also influenced greatly by other laws. The big businesses have employed pseudoscience to influence governments’ decision-making process so that policies that are developed and adopted have minimal negative effects on the company’s profits. Disseminating wrong information about global warming misleads the policy makers within the government. In this case, pseudoscience may be used to influence the government’s opinion about the company’s contribution to climate changes.
Another group that is targeted by pseudoscience is that of the scientists. The scientists are highly depended on to provide accurate and factual findings about issues. The findings dictate the actions that need to be taken, and also moulds people’s thoughts or opinion about an issue (Hines, Terence . 1988). When the businesses use pseudoscience, they try to mislead other scientists by refuting genuine scientific results. By using groups or individuals who also claim to be scientists, an accurate and genuine result that may be improved on is tampered with.
The misinformation tries to change other scientists’ opinion about the issue. Conclusion Pseudoscience has been used for many years by both small and big businesses or companies to reap huge profits, by covering up some scientific truth about issues that may reduce their financial gains. One issue that has raised a lot of concern in the contemporary world is global warming. Global warming is the increase of the earth’s average temperature which has been attributed to anthropogenic activities, especially those in companies.
Big businesses through their activities have contributed to this problem. The emissions of gases into the atmosphere from industries are considered to be the major contribution to global warming. Global warming has in turn led to severe environmental consequences, an issue that has raised concern in the global community (Ruddiman, William. 2005). However, big businesses in their effort to prevent losses have employed pseudoscience to cover up the reality of global warming.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 November 2016
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