25 No. 5
and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/news
from Readers - Regarding H. L. Sentis Review
of The Skeptical Environmentalist
March-April 2003, p. 26
was surprised and disappointed by the lack of balance and
candor in the review by H. L. Senti of The Skeptical EnvironmentalistMeasuring
the Real State of the World by B. Lomborg which appeared
in the March-April issue of Chemistry International.
The dominant tone of the review is that Lomborgs work
is a fair, accurate, and scholarly analysis. Disagreement
with Lomborgs conclusions is dismissed by a single sentence
that implies that any criticism is purely political. CI
readers should know that, in fact, criticism of The
Skeptical Environmentalist is widespread and substantive.
The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty found that
the work violates "the standards of good scientific practice"
by selectively using data that supports his position and systematically
ignoring contrary data. I have no wish to participate in a
debate of whether Lomberg is factually correct in his views.
However, by ignoring the fact that serious and knowledgeable
people take issue with Lombergs work, Senti uses the
same unscientific approach of which Lomberg is accused.
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
from H. L. Senti
is true, as David Shaw writes, that Lomborg's book was criticized.
Especially the doomsayer branch of the ecolo-community expressed
its anger. I am also aware that Lomborg was accused in a "Danish
Committee on Scientific Dishonesty." But what the reader should
know as well is that this committee itself was substantively
criticized for its procedure; some critics mentioned the word
"censure." Danish media, Danish universities, and legal specialists
have also criticized this "court." According to them the court
did not (could not ?) produce one single example of scientific
dishonesty. In their critique of the chapter on the number
of extinct species, two scientists did not shy away from the
analogy of the number of Jews killed by the Nazis (Nature
of 8.11.01). I consider that ugly and it shows that some
criticisms of the book are colored by anger and politics.
This is most unfortunate because Lomborg wanted nothing else
but to launch a discussion about priority setting for combating
environmental problems which he does not deny.
afterthought: In contrast to other sciences, many politicians
have adopted ecological sciences for their own use. In many
countries politicians have made brilliant carriers on ecological
platforms. In my view the "marriage" between politics and
ecological sciences is most unfortunate. Research, detached
and unbiased, becomes difficult. This may be the reason why
the discussion of Lomborg's book has become so political and
L. Senti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
last modified 3 September 2003.
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