December 18, 2003

NATURE ABHORS A SKEPTIC:

Skeptical Environmentalist Vindicated! (James K. Glassman, 12/17/2003, Tech Central Station)

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation today severely repudiated a board which, a year ago, had judged The Skeptical Environmentalist, the best-selling book by Bjorn Lomborg, "objectively dishonest" and "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice."

Lomborg's book -- with 2,930 footnotes, 1,800 bibliographical references, 173 figures and nine tables -- powerfully challenged the conventional wisdom that the world's environment was going to hell. When it was published in English in 2001, the book, published by the distinguished Cambridge University Press, was praised in The Washington Post, The Economist and elsewhere.

That reception provoked panic among radical greens. In early 2002, The Economist reported that "Mr. Lomborg is being called a liar, a fraud and worse. People are refusing to share a platform with him. He turns up in Oxford to talk about this book, and the author… of a forthcoming study on climate change throws a pie in his face." [...]

[I]n January, came what enviros figured would be the coup de grace: a report by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSC). The report was, to be charitable, a piece of junk, but its conclusions, coming from an official body, were nonetheless given prominent display in world media. The New York Times headlined its page 7 story by Andrew Revkin, "Environment and Science: Danes Rebuke a 'Skeptic.'"

Now, the Danes have issued a well-deserved rebuke to the rebukers.


Yet it moves.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2003 8:08 PM
Comments

It is a telling commentary on the validity and support of a belief that the methods used in its defense are ad hominem attacks, refusal to share a platform, throwing a pie in the face, and a dishonest committee report.

Posted by: jd watson at December 18, 2003 9:09 PM

This episode, while unsavory, does illustrate how the scientific mindset works and how resilient it is agaisnt antiscientific attacks.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 19, 2003 3:47 PM

Actually it just shows how more quickly things move today--if this were 1300, the correction would have taken a few centuries.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2003 3:50 PM
« BLESSED TAXATION: | Main | BUT HE HAD NO ROLE IN THE RESISTANCE AND WE'RE NOT ANY SAFER »