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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, January 08, 2003
1:11 PM

Something tells me this didn't happen with Bellesiles... The National Review Online cites stories in the Post and the New York Times today about some Danish science committee condemning The Skeptical Environmentalist, a book said to debunk many environmental activist claims. The stories are printed one day after the committee's report came out. NRO concludes that the Times' version is more fair than the Post's. Of the latter, NRO's Jonathan Adler said:

The Washington Post reports today that Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, was "denounced" for "scientific dishonesty" by the Danish Research Agency in response to several complaints filed by environmental activist researchers. The actual DRA decision, however, is more measured than the Post report, noting a lack of consensus among the reviewers on key points. Largely basing its conclusions on critiques of Lomborg's book by activist researchers published in Scientific American (critiques rebutted here[pdf-PW]), the DRA panel concluded that "subject to the proviso that the book is to be evaluated as science" (because of all those pesky footnotes), the book is "contrary to the standards of good scientific practice" because of its "onesidedness in the choice of data and line of argument."...

And on the Times:

The New York Times has a fairer report on the Danish rebuke of Lomborg. It captures the tone of the report, noting that the report labels the book "scientifically dishonest" but avoids saying the same of Lomborg, and quotes Lomborg's response: "You can't say I'm scientifically dishonest or in breach of good scientific conduct unless you point the finger and say this is the smoking gun. It's like saying you committed murder but we won't tell you who you killed. It's impossible for me to defend myself."...

Then NRO's Jonah Goldberg links to this at Tech Central Station by Nick Schulz:

When Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was published a little over a year ago it caused an immediate sensation in the United States and Europe for its unconventionally optimistic take on environmental matters.

At the time, I asked Ronald Bailey, the author and editor of two books on the environment and the foremost expert in the United States on the intersection of science policy and political controversy, what he thought of the book.

"Lomborg doesn't have a clue what's about to happen to him," Bailey said. "I feel sorry for him."

Bailey was right.

Schulz says Lomborg has been the target of a "smear campaign," and the Danish effort represents a new low.

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