Thursday, June 13, 2002

The Skeptical Environmentalist

Bjorn Lomborg's book, the Skeptical Environmentalist, has provoked a cry of outrage from the environmental establishment. E.O. Wilson referred to Lomborg as a "parasite" and his thesis as a "scam." The editor of the Scientific American cried hysterically that science has to "defend itself" against Lomborg.

One would think that the logical response to such a book, which challenges most of the pronouncements made by the environmental community, would be to produce a well reasoned and detailed critique that shows what Lomborg said in the book and exactly why he was wrong. However, one can read reviews of the book written by its most well known and well respected environmentalist opponents including reviews written for Scientific American and Grist Magazine all day, and I must say that it will all be a disappointment. Not a single one adequately addresses Lomborg's book. Many of these reviews are nothing but ad hominem attacks, full of sneering and distain, and the rest pick a few statements out of the book to criticize apparently hoping that will discredit the rest of the book. It is exactly the sort of response that you would expect from a bunch of charlatans who had been found out. Perhaps the environmental movement is a fraud, as Lomborg suggests.

Meanwhile, Lomborg has done his critics the courtesy of responding in a serious fashion to their critiques. There are also the comments he left on his website.

I would challenge the green nabobs to go through Lomborg's assertions seriatum and say whether they are correct or not, and if they are incorrect exactly why they are incorrect. If Lomborg is really mistaken, as they all insist, then this will be a simple matter. If not, then they ought to own up to the fact. I would say to them, put up or shut up.