Engines and words: rhetoric, inertia and the subversion of climate science

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(Thesis) M.A.
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Western society embraces scientific technology, yet we are often willing to disregard warnings issued by the established scientific community. This study is an investigation of this paradox. How, in a society that esteems scientific advancement, may empirical conclusions be trivialized? Addressing the issue of climate change, I examine the discursive strategies by which the George Marshall Institute has attempted to discredit climate science, and thereby encourage public apathy and reluctance in government to implement regulatory policy. This organization’s publications are significant because, first, informed civic deliberation depends upon the quality and accuracy of commonly available information, and second, narratives favoured by dominant institutions may profit from broad circulation and uncritical reception. By analyzing the rhetorical strategies deployed by this corporation, I attempt to gain insight into the ways that a broad consensus in scientific research can successfully be portrayed as inconsequential, and then assess the implications of this practice.
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