RE: NANFA-- Gloom, Dispair & Agony on me

Mark Otnes (
Fri, 10 May 2002 19:40:41 -0500


One of the reasons I brought up Lomborg, his book the Skeptical
Environmentalist, and the forum taking place at is
that I thought it would be an opportunity for knowledgeable NANFA people to
express their knowledge and points of view to an audience (conservative)
that they might not otherwise reach. I also felt it was an opportunity to
publicly question Lomborg on specific items with the participation of that
audience. As I'm sure was clear in my original email, I think that Mr.
Lomborg makes some excellent points in his book. I hope that his detractors
have actually read the book, because to just listen to someone else's review
is never enough, there will always be omissions and distortions, especially
if the review comes from someone hostile to the author.

I can't defend the Skeptical Environmentalist and do it justice. All I can
do is give you the impression it made upon me. The most striking thing to
me, and to me this is the main point of the book, is that no one is immune
from the influence of their own culture and philosophy and furthermore any
culture and philosophy will have biases, i.e. the contentions are not all
based upon solid empirical science. Some cultures and philosophies do a
better job that others when it comes to being objective, but you always have
to be on guard against bias masquerading as fact. Lomborg points out that
too many times many contentions put forth by environmentalists are not
treated with any skepticism at all by certain groups (much of the mainstream
media for example). The Skeptical Environmentalist is not an attack on
science, it is simply an attempt to identify cultural bias that is present
in SOME contentions of SOME environmentalists. Furthermore it examines the
political agenda put forth by some environmentalists and critiques it.
Lomborg doesn't claim to be an environmental scientist and says so right up
front. He is however a statistician and this does give him objective tools
to critique arguments. Lomborg also documents where he gets all of his
figures from.

Anyway, I still recommend the book. If you don't want to buy it for fear of
financing an ideological opponent, then just go check out Andrew Sullivan's
web sight, follow a few links and you can get Scientific American's rebuttal
along with Lomborg's counter arguments.

I guess that's all I have on this subject. Take care everyone.

Mark Otnes
Fargo ND
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