Category:Scares and Hoaxes
Global warming is not the first case of a widespread fear based on incomplete knowledge turned out to be false or at least greatly exaggerated. Global warming has many of the characteristics of a popular delusion, an irrational fear or cause that is embraced by millions of people because, well, it is believed by millions of people! Charles Mackay described dozens of similar scares and hoaxes in 1841 in a still-influential book titled Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Other popular delusions that resemble the global warming delusion include astrology, eugenics, and witchcraft. Recent scares concerning the environment that turned out to be exaggerated or at least questionable include asbestos, dioxin, lead, mercury, pesticides, PCBs, chlorine, and endocrine disrupters. Recalling these past scares and hoaxes helps to put the fear of global warming in perspective.