Lomborg Attacker Misuses Science

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Jeff Harvey, a researcher at Netherlands Institute of Ecology and a rabid green, is apparently the self-appointed harpy pursuing environmentally incorrect author Bjorn Lomborg. Harvey was one of the prosecutors in the low dishonest attack on Lomborg and his book The Skeptical Environmentalist in front the kangaroo court called the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty. Harvey apparently has a lot of free time on his hands so he has been flaming Lomborg defenders recently. The New Zealand Institute for Liberal Values has an excellent response to one such Harvey screed. And Canadian software engineer Mark Wickens does a superb job of deconstructing how Harvey, like so many other green fanatics, misuses and misquotes scientific data in support of his ideological environmentalism.

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  1. If one views the EnvironMental Patient? as a religous zealot, then there is no amount of misuse or misquoting that is over the top. Religion, even earth worship, always disregards science.

  2. The whole Lomborg debate has been a textbook example of how people’s political ideologies determine what they choose to believe. Not one person I know has actually personally examined the data in any detail (myself included), but nearly all of them have come down conclusively on one side or the other anyway. Not surprisingly, these conclusions correspond perfectly with said individuals’ politics.

  3. Hi LI: Which came first the politics or the data? It’s true that people do tend to line up on basis of which authorities they choose to trust–after all, few of us have time to “personally examine” the data. But in my case, I can honestly say that what happened to me is that in the 1970s, I read and was taught the Population Bomb, Limits to Growth and Silent Spring among others and largely believed them. My future and the future of the planet wasn’t just bleak, it was apocalyptic. What happened is that nearly 20 years later I was working at Forbes and notice that the planet was still here and that things around me like air and water pollution had gotten better. So I talked my editor into letting me do a series where I would re-read the environmental classics and then interview their authors to see where they stood, now. I thought that perhaps they would qualify or change their minds about what they had said in light of new evidence. No such luck. It came as a revelation to me that what Ehrlich, the Club of Rome, and Carson were up to wasn’t science. Ehrlich essentially told me in 1989, “I just got my timing wrong–the famines will occur in the lst decade of the 21st century.” It turns out the environmentalism is politics and has always been politics–not science. Once I realized that I have actually spent the last 15 years personally examining the data and writing and editing 4 books on the topic and it turns out the Lomborg (who is a man of the Left after all) is far more right than he is wrong.

  4. Ron:

    Regarding Ehrlich, et al…most people are pathologically incapable of admitting that they’re wrong. You can pile up all the data you want and they’ll pick some small part of it and twist it to meet their expectation. Human nature.

  5. That last sentence would be better written “… how Harvey, like so many people, misuses and misquotes scientific data in support of his ideology.” Unfortunately, misuse of data isn’t confined to one issue.

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