Along the Tracks

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Sawing Lomborg

It seems the top scientific review board in Denmark has denounced Bjorn Lomborg for “scientific dishonesty” in his widely acclaimed and successful, The Skeptical Environmentalist.

I haven’t read the book myself, only the myriad reviews, but it seems pretty obvious that Lomborg’s offense is not “scientific dishonesty,” but “political heresy.” The specific accusations - studies taken out of context, “one-sidedness in the choice of data and line of argument,” and the lack of “any special scientific expertise” in the area of environmental science - betray the political motivation. Left-leaning environmental writers are commonly guilty of all these “offenses,” yet they are never scolded by any “scientific” oversight boards. Indeed, some have been shown to blatantly fabricate data, but they are always excused because their political hearts are in the right (Left!) place.

Does any critical thinker not realize that statistics and studies can be made to say just about anything, depending on their context, the baselines and, yes, the choices of inclusion? All Lomborg did was prove this to be so in the area of environmental studies. That’s his big crime.

Condensed version

I’m going to try something new. It gets hard for anyone to read all the commentary out there, let alone respond to it, so I’m going to create a new feature, called “Condensed version.” In it, I will summarize a linked writer’s thesis in one sentence - if possible, just a couple words.

And so, we begin:
John Balzer of the LA Times says Bush is popular because Americans are stupid and illogical.

The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd says, no, Democrats are stupid and Republicans are racist liars.

In the Washington Post, David Broder smells a “raw” but tantalizing John Edwards.

Anne Applebaum thinks media coverage of the cult clone story stinks.

The Toledo Blade - one of America’s worst newspapers - takes us on a wacky Iraqi sled ride down the slippery slope of “Blame Bush (and Israel) First.”

The Detroit Free Press’s Brian Dickerson asks us not to answer lunacy with lunacy - that is, the lunacy of Raelian cloning answered with the lunacy of a cloning ban; and the lunacy of the brutal murder of a Michigan jewelry story owner and family with the lunacy of re-establishing capital punishment in that state.

The Chicago Tribune interprets a recently completed study as saying kids on Ritalin don’t take drugs, therefore more kids need to take Ritalin - never mind that Ritalin is a drug.

Finally, a voice of sanity from across the pond. Michael Gove of the Times of London takes three leftist anti-American pitches and hits ‘em out of the park.


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