A Sea of Uncertainty
This chapter examines in depth the litigious challenges plaintiffs face in the aftermath of disaster. Experts attempt to exclude public knowledge from such ongoing controversies in order to keep knowledge 'pure'. Civil disputes, whether they are about the disposal of toxic waste, potential harm to public health, or other highly charged issues like those outlined in the case studies, are seen as being fit only for expert debate. As a result, many individuals view science as incoherent or too narrowly focused to undertake a holistic approach to solve their dilemmas or address the ontological challenges that they face in a time of calamity. The chapter offers the case studies which provide numerous examples of knowledgeable experts who find their lives directly affected by disasters and the uncertainties that follow. Thus, on the anniversary of events decades old Love Canal, Three Mile Island, and Times Beach there are renewed debates as to whether something of significance actually happened.