First Advisor

Julius McGee

Date of Award


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science




Denialism, Dependency (Psychology), Capital gains, Tobacco industry, Fossil fuels, Energy industries




For many years science denialism has been used to support capital gain. This was first seen on a large scale within the Tobacco industry when evidence came out confirming the effects of secondhand smoke as well as evidence detailing how smoking causes cancer. Over recent years, science denialism has extended into a new branch, climate denialism, and it is being used by the fossil fuel industry in order to deny the scientific evidence which shows the use of fossil fuels are the main contributors to climate change. What has not been talked about much is the connection between these two industries, the tobacco and fossil fuel industry, and how they are using the same tactics to coerce dependency on their products in order to maintain significant capital gain. These two industries have many similarities, not just in their use of science denialism to negate the negative effects of their products, but also in the ways they have created dependency on their products. Current research looks at this phenomenon of dependency on a much broader scale, it does not tie these two industries together based on their coercion tactics, but through the use of the same science denialism tactics. This research will create a deeper understanding of how these industries mimic each other in coercing dependency, thus demonstrating how dependency and denialism are inherently related. The goal of this analysis is to look more closely at how these industries’ playbooks regarding denialism create dependency.


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