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Bjorn Lomborg

A reprieve for free speech
Dec 18th 2003
From The Economist print edition


The scourge of the greens wins a round

All smiles for Dr Lomborg

NEW developments to report in the saga of Bjorn Lomborg and “scientific dishonesty”. Dr Lomborg, currently the director of Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute, is the author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, a global bestseller that embarrassed green groups by documenting their systematic exaggeration of the Earth's environmental problems. Furious environmentalists brought a complaint about the book before a body called the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), which, as we reported on January 11th of this year, found that: “Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration [Dr Lomborg's book] is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty.”

This finding, and the total absence of evidence or argument to support it, struck many as bizarre. Having read the DCSD's report, we ourselves concluded, “The panel's ruling—objectively speaking—is incompetent and shameful.”

On December 17th, Denmark's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation published its own response to the DCSD's finding. It is more politely expressed than ours, but comes to much the same conclusion. The ruling is thrown back to the DCSD with instructions to think again. Among a long list of telling criticisms, the ministry says this: “the DCSD has not documented where [Dr Lomborg] has allegedly been biased in his choice of data and in his argumentation, and...the ruling is completely void of argumentation for why the DCSD find that the complainants are right in their criticisms of [his] working methods. It is not sufficient that the criticisms of a researcher's working methods exist; the DCSD must consider the criticisms and take a position on whether or not the criticisms are justified, and why.”

Quite so. What kind of panel is it that purports to be concerned with scientific dishonesty, but needs somebody else to point this out?








Climate change and early civilisation
Dec 18th 2003

Bjorn Lomborg and scientific dishonesty
Jan 9th 2003

The truth about the environment
Aug 2nd 2001

Country Briefing: Denmark

More about...

The environment

Websites

Click to buy from Amazon.com: “The Skeptical Envioronmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg (Amazon.co.uk).

The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty's ruling has been questioned by the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation.




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