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Skeptical Environmentalist Saga Continues

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the my-model-can-beat-up-your-model dept.

Science 683

belmolis writes "In the latest episode of the The Skeptical Environmentalist affair, The New York Times reports (December 23, p. F2) that the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has issued a critique (five-page English summary [warning: MSWord document]) of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty's condemnation of Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which argued that many of the concerns of environmentalists, particularly global warming, were based on poor science. The Committee had called for Dr. Lomborg's dismissal from the Danish government agency that examines environmental regulations." (Read on below.)

"The Ministry critique holds that the Committee's procedure was unfair. It does not address the scientific issues. Lomborg's book caused outrage among many environmentalists and scientists, while right-wing organizations such as the Cato Institute have defended Lomborg. Scientific American devoted eleven pages of its January 2002 issue to a critique of Lomborg. Lomborg was only allowed to publish a one-page rebuttal, to which Scientific American replied here. When Lomborg defended himself by posting the Scientific American critique on his web site and that of Greenspirit with his commentary [PDF file] interspersed, Scientific American threatened to sue and both sites took it down. It is, however, still available at the iGreens web site."

(Slashdot ran a review of Lomborg's book early last year.)

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Linux users still skeptical of BSD Babe... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805070)

How can people say BSD [freebsd.org] is dying when it has a mascot [freebsd.org] like this?! Linux [debian.org] needs to get its act together if it's going to compete with the kind of hot chicks [hope-2000.org] and gorgeous babes [hope-2000.org] that BSD [openbsd.org] has to offer!

You just can't take Linux [redhat.com] seriously when its fronted by losers [nylug.org] like these. Would you buy software from them? I don't think so! You Linux [suse.com] groupies need to find some sexy girls like her [hope-2000.org] ! I mean just look at this girl [wigen.net] ! Doesn't she [pipboy2002.mine.nu] excite you? I know this little hottie [pipboy2002.mine.nu] puts me in need of a cold shower! This guy looks like he is about to cream his pants standing next to such a fox [spilth.org] . As you can see, no man can resist this sexy [spilth.org] little minx [spilth.org] . I mean are you telling me you wouldn't like to get your hands on this ass [dis.org] ?!

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Join the campaign for more cute [pipboy2002.mine.nu] open source babes [pipboy2002.mine.nu] today!

Re:Linux users still skeptical of BSD Babe... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805319)

Get a life, Ceren and try Gentoo. *BSD is dying, don'tcha know? Netcraft confirms it!

he's all true (1, Insightful)

kiwipeso (467618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805073)

sceptical environmentalist rocks

kkk (-1)

penis fish (671987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805074)

yeah but does it run linux?

What would you call it? (5, Funny)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805083)

If he doesn't believe in warming, does that make him a cold danish?...

Xmas Lights (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805088)

Control Christmas lights... click here! [komar.org] - courtesy of Alek Komarnitsky, the craziest guy in the universe. But he can do one mean xmas light display.

Re:Xmas Lights (-1, Offtopic)

bunkie (221331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805314)

4. Beefed up web server and faster ISP connectivity!...... So when/if the Slashdot crowd comes around again, we are much better equiped to handle it! methinks that this person needs to be taught a lesson, that nobody can withstand the /. effect... mwah ha ha ha

Skeptical smokers too (-1, Troll)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805107)

This story reminds me of what I hear many smokers say when they're challenged over smoking. They say that there has never been any proof that smoking causes lung cancer, just that it's circumstantial. When A happens, then B happens, this doesn't mean that A caused B. If B happens after A in 95% of cases, that's not proof, and merely circumstantial (although compelling).

So, has there ever been a true proof that smoking causes lung cancer? It sounds, on the surface, as dubious as the fact that 'pollution causes global warming'.. where's the non-circumcised proof? when Frodo dies at the end.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (2, Insightful)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805151)

You mean like the .95 correlation between sunspot activity and global temperatures over the last 100 years?

Re:Skeptical smokers too (1)

dfeist (615612) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805245)

Modded as Insightful? Could you even prove what you said?
Do you even know that increased solar activity (i.e. more sonspots) actually means _less_ energy reaching the earth?

And what about the very high correlation with CO2 as determined by scientific studies from people thinking a little harder than you did? They're all just biased, of course... and it's just coincidential that glaciers are melting? They are as far back as they haven't been for the last few 100k years?

Re:Skeptical smokers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805295)

He never said otherwise. He said activity correlates with temperature.

So far, you just made yourself out to be an asshat without touching a thing he said. Congrats.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (1)

dfeist (615612) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805326)

But, unfortunately, solar activity has increased in the last century. So, if he meant negative correlation (as you implied), it would be just as wrong. Because we know that the temperature has increased.

Skeptical astrophysicists will rush to correct you (3, Interesting)

Tau Zero (75868) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805376)

Do you even know that increased solar activity (i.e. more sonspots) actually means _less_ energy reaching the earth?
Doesn't anybody who reflexively sounds off on these issues read even the popular summaries on astrophysics? Sunspot activity increases the solar constant. See these course notes [gmu.edu] . This page [mmu.ac.uk] gives the mechanism: "Although sunspots are regions of cooler than average Sun surface temperature, their presence is accompanied by brighter (hotter) faculae which more than compensates for the increase in darker sunspot areas".

The first page states a claim that is very difficult for the global-warming denialists: "...since 1980, the solar constant has steadily decreased by 0.02 percent per year."

Re:Skeptical smokers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805280)

Care to share where you saw this info? Of course you can't... MODERATORS ARE STUPID!!!

Re:Skeptical smokers too (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805163)

The mechanism by which cigarette carcinogens cause cancer is reasonably well understood, as it happens, but the more important point is this: smokers have an overwhelmingly higher rate of lung cancer than matched control patients and no other logical factor can explain that correlation. That may not be "proof" (although I'd call it that), but it's hardly a routine confusion of correlation with cause.

Anyway, back to Lomborg -- I call myself an environmentalist and I'm certainly concerned about the possibility of a human effect on climate change, but the more the issue gets turned into a matter of theology they may not be questioned, the more skeptical I get about the whole thing. This simply is not the way science is supposed to work.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (4, Insightful)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805222)

"I call myself an environmentalist and I'm certainly concerned about the possibility of a human effect on climate change, but the more the issue gets turned into a matter of theology they may not be questioned, the more skeptical I get about the whole thing. "

In this case there are billons of dollars at stake. If global warming is real then entire industries will have to change the way they function. None of these people want to spend one more dime then they have to so its in their interest to turn this issue into a theological/idelogical war.

It is inevitable that the global warming issue will be turned into a matter theology. In a way it strikes at the soft underbelly of the theory of capitalism. That being the environmental impact of large scale economic growth. The founders of capitalism never took into account the impact of their theories would have on the global environment because they presumed there would be an infinate aount of trees, energy, clean water, air etc.

The stakes are huge and the war will be bloody however it is also inevitable. This war will be fought whether we like it not. Nobody knows who is going to win but there will be many losers. As in any war however the truth will be the first casualty.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805287)

And, on the other side of the bias wall... Environmentalists feel that they aren't doing their job unless they prove that all business practices are so harmful that they're hurting our planet in irreparable ways...

Re:Skeptical smokers too (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805353)

Yea. Zero tolerance and all that.

capitalism? (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805292)

"The founders of capitalism never took into account the impact of their theories would have on the global environment because they presumed there would be an infinate aount of trees, energy, clean water, air etc."

Prove it :)

My understanding of captitalism is nearly the exact opposite; it's that capitalism assumes scarce resources with imperfect but real fungibility (and inevitable but minimizable tradeoffs) which makes money-based exchanges the least friction-bound way to allocate them.

Which capitalists "presumed there would be an infinate aount of trees, energy, clean water, air etc," and when? This sounds more like Conquistodore theology than Adam Smith.

timothy

Re:capitalism? (2, Interesting)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805341)

Did Adam Smith ever talk of trees or clean water? No he did not. It simply did not occur to him that we might one day run out of either substance.

"it's that capitalism assumes scarce resources with imperfect but real fungibility (and inevitable but minimizable tradeoffs) which makes money-based exchanges the least friction-bound way to allocate them."

Not quite true. Capitalism measures the rate at which natural materials are extracted but not the rate at which they are restored. In other words capitalism has no way of measuring sustainibility until it's too late. Let me illustrate with an example.

Let's say that G.W decided that trees cause pollution and ordered all forests logged. The market would be flooded with wood and the price of wood would drop down to nothing. At that point a capitalism would say "the price of wood keeps decreasing so that must mean there are more trees in the world, in fact I predict that in 6 months there will be infinate amount of trees in the world". You see these kinds of arguments all the time "the price of such and such is going down so there must not be a shortage". They are measuring the rate of extraction not long term sustainability.

I once saw Milton Friedman talking about pollution with Charlie Rose and he said "if my shirt gets dirty from pollution then I can sue the factory" (something to that effect). It never occured to him that pollution might cause a deformed baby or cancer. To him pollution means getting his brooks brothers suit cleaned more often.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (2, Interesting)

jgalun (8930) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805258)

Just want to post my agreement:

I am an environmentalist, in that it seems obvious to me that we are destroying much natural beauty and causing damage to human health with pollution. I also suspect (although I am just a layman) that we are causing global warming, and that we should avoid changing the climate until we are more capable of understanding what impact this will have. To me, "first doing no harm" is the truly conservative approach to the environment, not the "we'll do nothing until the proof is overwhelming" argument that some so-called conservatives make.

I do not drive an SUV. In fact, I do not own a car at all, and I take public transportation or walk everywhere.

BUT...I am becoming more and more skeptical of the environmental movement. Too much of it seems to be pushing an anti-capitalist morality with which I do not agree (e.g., I have a friend who once argued that subcontinent Indians are better off in abject poverty than as computer programmers in air conditioned offices). I don't want people to have less goods - I just want to make sure that we all have iPods in such a way that we don't destroy the earth in the process.

More importantly, I am seeing cases where the environmental movement is wilfully exaggerating how bad things are, and is arguing that no matter what the choice, the environment is both the first and the only thing.

Well, I obviously want a clean, healthy environment. But it must be balanced against other needs. And to make the correct decisions, we must have accurate, not exaggerated, accounts of the situation.

That is why I appreciate people like Dr. Lomborg (or Gregg Easterbrook at the New Republic), who bring some balance to the debate between environmentalists and oil-company-sponsored "non-profits."

Re:Skeptical smokers too (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805165)

This is one of the best trolls I've seen in awhile. Totaly ruins LOTR, yet gets modded up.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805166)

Perhaps you're thnking of the fact that, smoking doesn't *cause* lung cancer, but greatly *increases* one's risk of getting lung cancer.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805183)

As an ex-smoker I've never questioned that smoking causes cancer. I am skeptical of laws that seek to protect me from myself and impose rules on private landowners. There are anti-smoking crusaders that want to ban smoking in public spaces (which is fine by me). Others want to claim a public right to control my lifestyle. I will challenge that nanny-state nonsense until the day I die.

Like environmentalism, for some, the anti-smoking crusade is a religion that has nothing to do with science and everything to do with collective control.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (1)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805200)

.. where's the non-circumcised proof?

I'm not Jewish, so I can answer that....

Whooshh.... ;P

Re:Skeptical smokers too (3, Interesting)

azaris (699901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805225)

This story reminds me of what I hear many smokers say when they're challenged over smoking. They say that there has never been any proof that smoking causes lung cancer, just that it's circumstantial. When A happens, then B happens, this doesn't mean that A caused B. If B happens after A in 95% of cases, that's not proof, and merely circumstantial (although compelling).

Disregarding the carcinogen tests on mice, a pure statistical approach should at least tell you if there is some kind of correlation.

If the probability of getting lung cancer for smokers differs statistically significantly (there are tests for this) from the same probability for non-smokers, then you can say with a certain margin of error (say 99% certainty) that smoking and lung cancer are not independent variables but that they are correlated. Yes, correlation does not equal causality, but if the odds of getting lung cancer are less for non-smokers then I certainly know how not to spend my spare change. Others are free to auto-darwinize themselves with tobacco products.

The problem with fighting a theory backed by overwhelming evidence is that you'd really have to come up with your own bulletproof theory that explains all the results as well as predicts something previously unknown. This is where all the crackpot theories usually fail. They attack existing theories and ridicule their shortcomings then introduce new models which explain all the data adequately but do not accurately predict anything new. Worse, they usually introduce new assumptions and special conditions that the old theories didn't need in order to work.

Re:Skeptical smokers too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805257)

hi.

your comment is idiotic, as lomborg doesn't deny anthropogenic global warming.

just imagine ... if you had read the article, you might not have felt the urge to post something so stupid!

Article: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805108)

8 Summary of the assessment of the Ministry
8.1 Regarding statutory authority

Point 5.1.1. Legal basis for the work of DCSD:

The opinion enclosed with the complaint of 13 February 2003 states the view that the legal basis for the DCSD making rulings regarding whether specific researchers have acted with scientific dishonesty is doubtful.

The Ministry considers that the establishment of the DCSD was clearly provided for in the remarks on section 4e(4) of the Danish Act on Research Advice, and that the duties of the DCSD can be included under the advisory function, which was located in the Board of the Danish Research Councils and its sub-committees.

With this background, the Ministry considers that the DCSD did have the necessary statutory authority for its general work.

Point 5.1.2. Basis for statutory authority in Order no. 933 of 15 December 1998 and use of the term 'good scientific practice'

The opinion enclosed with the complaint of 13 February 2003 argues that the authority of the DCSD is exclusively laid down in the Order concerning the DCSD. This means that the DCSD cannot take a position on whether the respondent has neglected standards for good scientific practice. The special aspect of this case is that the DCSD has included its position on breach of good scientific practice in the conclusion to their ruling.

Irrespective of whether or not the Ministry finds that the DCSD has grounds to take a position on the issue of good scientific practice, there is an independent point of criticism if, in its assessment, the DCSD has applied a standard for good scientific practice in the individual specialist area that is not true and fair.

The Ministry considers that the DCSD has not applied a completely true and fair standard for good scientific practice within social sciences in its examination, and that on the current basis it cannot be ruled out that this delusion could have led to an incorrect assessment of the work of the respondent. The seriousness of this situation is emphasised by the DCSD itself in that it makes this issue the pivot for the ruling in its conclusion.

Errors such as these, that can influence the result of a ruling, must lead to the case being remitted so that the situation can be rectified.

Point 5.1.3. The concept of 'objective scientific dishonesty'

The DCSD divides scientific dishonesty into objective and subjective parts. Thus, the Ministry understands that, as part of its working methodology, the DCSD use the concept 'objective dishonesty'. The Ministry considers this the usual legal working methodology.

However, the Ministry does not consider that the methodological division can be repeated in the conclusion, as this could present a misleading picture of the actual conclusion; namely that in the opinion of the DCSD there is no scientific dishonesty in terms of the Order.

In the opinion of the Ministry, it is a mistake that the DCSD allows the methodological division to appear in the conclusion, but not to the extent that the mistake results in the case being remitted.

Point 5.1.4. The ruling has not been made by one of the three committees under the DCSD

With the basis that the complaints were aimed at the specialist areas of all three committees, in the opinion of the Ministry the three committees are jointly competent to address the complaint on the grounds stated. At the same time the Ministry must emphasise that this is a scientific issue, outside the authority of the Ministry. However, the Ministry points out that the procedures chosen to decide whether or not a case should be addressed by the committees jointly was, in the opinion of the Ministry, not correct. According to the information in the DCSD statement of 5 May 2003, the ruling was made by the committees jointly following recommendations from the chairman.

The Ministry finds that the ruling must be made by the individual committee within whose area the respondent works, in that there is otherwise a risk that the relevant committee will be overruled by the two other committees on a question regarding whether the ruling should be made by the committees jointly. However, in this case this has no importance as the ruling was unanimous.

The Ministry also stresses to the DCSD that the rules for the number permitted to take part in hearing a case must always be observed. With regard to the question of the consequences of not complying with these rules for the case in question, this will require knowledge of the internal discussions within the DCSD, which the Ministry does not have, and, as the case is to be remitted back to the DCSD at all events, the Ministry does not consider that there are adequate grounds to take this matter further.

Point 5.1.5 The territorial delimitation of the competence of the DCSD

In the case in question, the place of publication of 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' is located outside of Denmark, and this may mean that the Danish administrative authorities do not have competence to try the case. Whether the case has such links with Denmark that the DCSD is competent to address the matter anyway cannot be determined by the Ministry on the basis of the information currently available.

In summary, the Ministry considers that, to the extent it has not yet done so, the DCSD should examine its competence in the case, and the results of this examination should be included in the grounds for the ruling. At the same time, in future rules for the work of the DCSD, the Ministry will seek to clarify the territorial competence of the DCSD.

As the question is about the actual competence of the DCSD to address the case, this situation should also lead to a remission.
8.2 Case processing by the DCSD

Point 6.1 The principle of inquisitorial procedure

Here the Ministry must point out that the DCSD has not documented where the respondent (BL) has allegedly been biased in his choice of data and in his argumentation, and that the ruling is completely void of argumentation for why the DCSD find that the complainants are right in their criticisms of BL's 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.

These are precisely the tasks the DCSD has a fundamental duty to carry out and as this has not happened, the ruling must be remitted back to the DCSD, cf. the above quote from the administrative law on the consequences of neglecting the principle of inquisitorial procedure. This type of significant neglect in case processing by the DCSD deserves criticism in itself.

Point 6.2. The complainants' status as parties

The Ministry finds that there is a clear error in that the DCSD has not examined the issue of status as parties, but has merely acted on the grounds that the complainants were parties. This could have had the consequence that the DCSD have attached too great an importance to the relevant complainants' assessments, and this could have meant that the time for case processing was extended as complainants were allowed a longer hearing than they were entitled to. The hearing in cases that do not include parties should also consider the interest of the respondent in having the case concluded.

However, the Ministry does not consider that the circumstances of this specific case are of such a nature, that these alone can lead to a remission. However, complainants I and II in a new examination cannot be afforded authority as parties, while the DCSD must decide the question of complaint III after a specific assessment.

Point 6.3. Should complaint II have been dismissed?

Without taking a position on the actual question of whether the complaint should have been dismissed or not, the Ministry considers that the fact that the DCSD did not take an independent position on this issue disregarded the principle of inquisitorial procedure, which was a mistake. The situation was not of such a nature that it can reason a remission. However, if the DCSD decides that the case should be dismissed, naturally this cannot be included in a new hearing of the case.

Point 6.4. The question of whether BL's book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' is of a nature that could justify an assessment of scientific dishonesty

The Ministry must repudiate that the DCSD has documented that the relevant book falls within the field covered by the DCSD's competence. For this reason the case must also be remitted back to the DCSD.

Point 6.5. The significance of whether or not BL's book 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' has been subject to a peer review.

At all events the Ministry must point out that the question cannot be included in the present assessment of BL's working methods as it has not been investigated by the DCSD. This circumstance cannot lead to a remission in that the Ministry must assume that a circumstance that the DCSD has not investigated cannot be included in the DCSD's assessment of the case in question.

Point 6.6. Hearing of the parties
Point 6.6.1. Should the DCSD have heard BL regarding the position of the working party/sub-committee?

From the rest of the Ministry's review of the case, it does not seem that the sub-committee has carried out an examination that has not been made the subject of a full examination by the DCSD. In this connection, the Ministry refers to the main question for the sub-committee, according to which the sub-committee were to take a position on whether a book of this nature could justify an assessment on scientific dishonesty on the basis of the standards that are otherwise applied to scientific works. Here the ruling by the DCSD deviated from the recommendation by the sub-committee, cf. the ruling by the DCSD pages 11 and 12.

On the basis of this, the Ministry does not consider that BL should have been heard regarding the recommendation of the sub-committee. However, the Ministry does not know the reason why the chairman of the sub-committee was elected from the health sciences and not from the social sciences, from where the respondent comes. For any new sub-committee, the Ministry must require that the chairman comes from the respondent's main area, unless there are special circumstances.

Point 6.6.2. Should the DCSD have heard BL regarding the draft of the final ruling before it was made?

With regard to the specific case, the Ministry considers that the error lies in the wording of the conclusion and the reasons for the conclusion, cf. point 5.1.2, and that a duty to hear the parties only arises as a consequence of the wrong conclusion. However, it cannot be ruled out that a hearing of the parties could have rectified the conclusion.

As the scope of the non-statutory hearing duty is, however, doubtful, the Ministry does not find that this circumstance alone can give grounds for remission of the ruling, but it is part of the Ministry's overall assessment of the case.

Point 6.7. The choice of language in the ruling

With reference to Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen et.al., Forvaltningsret, Copenhagen, 2002, p. 593, on the requirements for choice of language within public administration, the Ministry finds that much of the wording in the ruling does not meet the linguistic standards of good administrative practice.

Therefore, the Ministry urges the DCSD to follow linguistic standards for good administrative practice in its rulings in the future. These are defined above.

The choice of language in the specific ruling deserves criticism, but it cannot lead to a remission.

Point 6.8 Public disclosure of the DCSD's ruling

With regard to making the ruling public, the Ministry regards it as clearly wrong that BL was not consulted regarding possible public disclosure, and on the basis of the lack of consultation, and thus in the absence of any objections from BL, it is not possible to determine whether the ruling could have been made public in accordance with the rules on additional access. However, it is the Ministry's immediate perception that it would have been possible to make the ruling public, if the conclusion in the ruling had been drawn up in accordance with the Ministry's understanding, cf. above.

As any damage caused by the public disclosure will already have happened, this circumstance cannot lead to a remission, but the Ministry must express its criticism of the lack of consultation.

Point 7.1. The question of legal capacity in connection with remission of the case to the DCSD

In the opinion of the Ministry, the situation where an authority reopens a case generally does not mean that those who worked on the first hearing of the case are not competent to hear the reopened case.

Any questions of legal capacity should be clarified according to section 6 of the Administrative Act, and in practice should be determined by the chairman of the DCSD, cf. section 9(5) of the Order under which the chairman makes decisions on questions of law. The capacity of the chairman is indisputable in the opinion of the Ministry in that the chairman did not take part in the original ruling by the DCSD of 6 January 2003.

Point 7.2 Hearing regarding public disclosure of this ruling

The hearing was carried out with a letter of 15 December 2003. In his letter of 16 December 2003, BL has agreed to a publication of this decision.

Following this the Ministry has decided that........

8.3 The ruling of the Ministry:

On the basis of the grounds mentioned above, the Ministry finds that the case must be remitted to the DCSD with an injunction that the DCSD should allow itself to be advised by the Danish Social Science Research Council in matters regarding good scientific practice. In summary, the Ministry must also state that, in its opinion, the treatment by the DCSD of this case deserves criticism.

A copy of this ruling has been sent to the DCSD for further processing.

Yours sincerely

Thorkild Meedom
Head of division

Appendix: Statement by the Ombudsman of the Folketing (The Danish Parliament) of 5 April 2001, FOB file no. 1999-2401-701.

That reminds me (5, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805109)

Jerry Pournelle posted a link to this on his site.

Aliens Cause Global Warming [sepp.org]
By Michael Crichton

It is a very good read. Crichton claims that the public believes in things like Global Warming and Nuclear Winter for the same reasons that it believes in little green men. He says that science has failed to act as "a candle in the dark."

Re:That reminds me (1)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805240)

Very interesting link and worth a read by all. Thanks for posting it.

Re:That reminds me (4, Insightful)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805263)

"Crichton claims that the public believes in things like Global Warming and Nuclear Winter for the same reasons that it believes in little green men."

Really? What an odd claim to make. There is lots of evidence for global warming and many studies have been done on it. Maybe the evidence is not conclusive but it exists and is widespread.

Lumping global warming with little green men seems like the stupidest thing I have heard in a long time.

BTW over 90% of americans believe in god. If that's not a failure of science to act as a candle in the dark I don't know what is.

Re:That reminds me (1, Insightful)

kevlar (13509) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805305)

Global Warming is a fact. Whether its caused by the greenhouse effect or not is debatible along with whether or not humans are the cause.

Re:That reminds me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805358)

Global warming is absolutely not a fact. Your are either flat out lying or stupid.

Check weather history, average temps are not up enough to even begin to bother with over the last few hundred years. (something like .0001% on average.) Also check the low and high temps for days, most times the record high temps are just about always back in the early 1900's. Record low temps are generally recent to be quite honest.

You global warming freaks are just dumb, I am old enough to remember back in the 70's all the junk scientists were talking about "global cooling" the coming of the next ice age. back then children could actually get a quality education in public schools so the stupidity of their arguments were quickly ignored by all. A generation of the dumbing down of the education system, no wrong answers and all that and poof, they come back with "global warming" same crap, an attempt by these junk scientists to get published (and therefore paid) and of course they try to boot anyone who disagrees with them out of the scientific community because they would never want to stand to debate with real scientists. Plus a large majority of younger people are too stupid to know it.

Re:That reminds me (-1, Flamebait)

kevlar (13509) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805398)

woah there cowboy! I am not a global warming freak. In fact, I do believe the atmosphere is warming, but I don't think there is enough data to remotely assume the cause of it. ... and please don't criticize my education, especially since I went to a private school. It just makes you look like an asshole.

Re:That reminds me (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805346)

What if you view God as the opposite of entropy?

Re:That reminds me (1, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805282)

That's the thing: the easiest answer isn't always the right answer, and people are always willing to believe the worst. If a volcano puts out a decade's worth of our contribution to greenhouse gas every time it blows, we can't be tipping the scales that much.

Of course, even the best of us only use 10% of our brains. But I'd hope that looking at that simple fact most people would realize the junk science that's being put forward here (and hurting more legitimate environmental causes like increasing biodegradability and lowering air pollution by converting to nuclear/solar power).

Re:That reminds me (4, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805349)

"Of course, even the best of us only use 10% of our brains...looking at that simple fact most people would realize the junk science that's being put forward here..."

Heh. The irony is intentional, correct?

Re:That reminds me (2)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805387)

Of course, even the best of us only use 10% of our brains.

My but you're gullible... That claim is nothing but a myth debunked here [washington.edu] That also makes my doubt your claims about volcanoes & decades.

Re:That reminds me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805325)

Sure... but the big question is: can we cancel out Global Warming with a Nuclear Winter?

Global Warming (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805114)

There will always be people who dont believe in global warming, no its just a weather cycle that the world goes through where all the ice melts and the earth becomes waterworld.

Well either way, all i know is that we done our fair share to help out or conspiracy theories that have the global warming as part of some alien plot (no really that was a good movie [imdb.com] ) are true.

Who needs an environment... (2, Insightful)

IcarusMoth (631872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805115)

When you have money.

quick! I need a bigger SUV to pull my smaller but still large SUV down the driveway to check my mail! and where is my free H2!?!?

Re:Who needs an environment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805234)

Typical liberal slander. Perhaps when you stop supporting the murder of babies and stop shedding tears for terrorists like Saddam Hussein -- then you can address questions of morality.

I'm a huge slut.

Sincerely,
Ann Coulter

Re:Who needs an environment... (3, Funny)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805259)

Sincerely,
Ann Coulter


And all this time I thought AC stood for Anonymous Coward...

Re:Who needs an environment... (1)

Nept (21497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805334)

What negligible effect does my SUV have on the environment?

Shhhh! (5, Interesting)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805117)

The Committee had called for Dr. Lomborg's dismissal from the Danish government agency that examines environmental regulations.

That teaches him for questioning orthodoxy.

Lomborg's book has 2 930 footnotes which allows you to fact check every single assertion that he makes. I've never seen that level of detail from the environmentalist movement and I speak as someone who has read more than just their pamphlets.

It should be noted that the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation published its own response to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty:

"[T]he 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."

Oh, you mean the DCSD has done what they are accusing of Lomborg on? Right then...carry on!

Re:Shhhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805178)

It should be noted that the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation published its own response to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty.

Really? Have you considered submitting it to Slashdot? I haven't heard anything about that!

(How little of TFA did you R?)

Re:Shhhh! (4, Interesting)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805250)

"Lomborg's book has 2 930 footnotes which allows you to fact check every single assertion that he makes. I've never seen that level of detail from the environmentalist movement and I speak as someone who has read more than just their pamphlets."

Are they disputing the individual facts or the conclusions drawn from those facts? Is it possible that the facts he footnoted have been found to be questionable upon further review?

I remember reading that many of the facts he talked about were from flawed studies, maybe that's the problem. Did he knowingly choose the studies that advanced his pet theory while ignoring studies that might raise doubt? If so then he deserves to be rebuked don't you think?

Re:Shhhh! (1)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805323)

As Mark Twain once said:

"There lies, DAMN LIES, and then there's statistics!"

Re:Shhhh! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805391)

2 930 footnotes
his choice of data

So he "chose" data? Did this person perform any experiments or observations of his own, or is this more crack armchair science from a person who did all their research from the first 2930 hits on google?

This exact same thing came up when someone presented "research" to the us government showing that nanoscale particles were harmful when inhaled (something that I suspect has been somewhat common knowledge since coal miners started getting black lung). The whole "research" was assembled from other people's research with very little in the way of original work, for which the US government paid a pretty penny in a grant.

Mankind currently lacks the instrumentation, knowledge, and experience to Prove most complex phenomenon. We still have no working Proof of how gravity actually works, we just know that it does empirically.

Global warming? Who knows? All I know is that my freshman year of college, the university opened late due to snow, and it has not snowed here since then. There is no Proof that the cows farting, the cars driving, the factories belching, the volcanoes erupting, and whatever other factors people say take part cause global warming. But theres no Proof the other way either.

Lets take the ozone hole. Nobody has ever traced the path from individual CFCs in an old refrigerator in the US to the antartic circle, so CFCs were not Proven to cause the hole. However, shortly after CFCs (which are proven to destroy ozone through a well understood chemical process) were banned in industrialized nations, the ozone hole began to shrink (compare 2001 [epa.gov] to this page which details a decade of loss [cam.ac.uk] . Note that the color scales are different, the EPA defines the ozone hole as less than 220 Dobson Units which is the small blob in the middle of Antartica in 2001, while the 220 Dobson Unit level marks most of the antartic circle in blue and purple in 1991. You can also see on the EPA picture that ozone depletion is also taking place over countries in southern Asia and Africa where CFCs were not banned, but very little is taking place over South America. Thus there is very strong empirical evidence for a link between CFC release and ozone depletion.

I haven't read this book, but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805122)

...now that I've heard that the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has issued a critique of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty's condemnation of it, I definitely have mixed feelings about it.

WTF, mate ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805126)

If that is not the most fucked up slashdot submission in a while I dont know what is.

like reading middle englische

Open Office 1.1 and the msword document in story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805127)

I tried opening that msword document with openoffice 1.1 for the hell of it...

It looks ok.. except you have to zoom in 1000% to read any of it.. its like it picked a 0.0001 point font and tried to use it...

Maybe it was my bitstream-vera font.. not sure.

I guess openoffice hasn't come as far as we had hoped either way :(

Re:Open Office 1.1 and the msword document in stor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805208)

I opened it in my copy of OpenOffice 1.1 and the fonts worked fine. You need the Verdana font installed

Gee, sea level? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805128)

The sea level started rising well before the first automobile pounded pavement. How much more proof does one need? I hate politically based environment actions too, but come on already...

Re:Gee, sea level? (1)

Danious (202113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805355)

Ahem. Ever heard of this thing called the Industrial Revolution, started in the mid 1700's? They started building these things called Factories that burned lots of stuff called Coal to make lots of Things for people to consume...

My point being that it's not just cars that pump out the so-called Greenhouse Gases, so your supposed counter-argument is entirely specious. Go read a few books first if you want to hold an intelligent debate...

Cato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805139)

I love when people call the Cato Institute "right-wing", and of course when someone reads one of their papers on the war on drugs or gay and lesbian equality, they're immediately labeled "left-wing" or "liberal".

When are people going to realize that politics are not so nearly black and white?

Re:Cato (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805350)

I think green is the key colour. The Cato Institute is to "research" as Mustang Ranch is to "love" - a poor impersonation at an impressive price.

*Science is dead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805152)

werd!

With MSWord files on /. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805153)

I'd be a pretty sceptical environmentalist too ;)

Ideological victories are short-lived (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805162)

People trying to win ideological points will be disappointed to have to face the reality that science is not just another arm of politics... it actually a real discipline of proof and justification toward the evaluation of evidence. Whether you "think" there is global warming or not, higher degrees of scientific analysis should not be tossed aside on the basis of scatalogical arguments. Long live scientific inquiry and the scientific method (it's been on the ropes quite a bit these past years... starting with Cold Fusion... look at the junk reported in the mainstream press and it's nearly always slightly wrong, misguided, or flat-out incorrect).

Sceintific American. (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805170)

There was an issue of scientific American where several respected scientists picked apart the book pointing out it's flaws is theory and conclusions.

It might be worth a read for people looking for more information on this subject.

Re:Sceintific American. (4, Informative)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805226)

That was a very harsh critique, possibly even unfair. What was certainly unfair is (If I remember correctly) that SA refused to let him respond for about a year, and even then only let him use one page, when a rebuttle to his rebuttle was many pages and in the same issue. Supposedly SA also got lawyers involved to refuse him his fair use rights in his website rebuttle here:

http://reactor-core.org/skeptical-environmentali st -defended/

Personally, I think it's good to call BS on pseudo science and fusged stats (i.e. ALL mainstream science reporting), but when someone with only a highschool education in science starts rewriting the science books, we're in trouble.

Re:Sceintific American. (1)

Malcontent (40834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805281)

"What was certainly unfair is (If I remember correctly) that SA refused to let him respond for about a year, and even then only let him use one page, when a rebuttle to his rebuttle was many pages and in the same issue. "

Well he wrote an entire book espousing his point of view I don't think he needs a few pages in scientific american to further explain his position do you? What else does he have to say that's not in his book or his web site? I find it weird that scientific american only allocated a few pages to rebut a book that was hundreds of pages long.

i do not believe in it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805179)

how can i believe we pitifull humans are causing global warming??? it is proven that the sun will naturally heat the earth 1deg in 10yrs without us.... plus as i was growing up in the 70/80s it was the thret of global COOLING. then BAG in one year it is now global warming.....

seems very much political to me.

so untill there is SOLID sci PROVABLE evidence, i will not believe any of the eviromentalist. besides, they BURN SUVs in a dealership, how is that NOT poluting (burning plastics and ruber parts of the SUVs)?

and they will not give up their airflights to DC for protests or even turn off lights not in use.

sigh...... bitching in a slashdot blog as AC.... might as well watch porn.... get the same results..... trased without pleasing.

Global cooling?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805318)

You remember that, too?

I seriously thought I was the only one who remembered that bugaboo.

Good job.

Re:i do not believe in it (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805377)

The attacks on SUVs are more about cars as a catalyst for urban sprawl. But why not get it from the horses mouth [earthliberationfront.org]

Re:i do not believe in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805396)

Earth Liberation Front = Terrorists.

I could insert "anti-capitalist, pinko, dangerous, hypocritical" in there, but I don't want this post modded as redundant.

Global Warming, a farce? (1)

jqcoffey (457742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805186)

Well, if you do not believe in global warming, then you are in agreement the vast *minority* of scientists the world over. So, censuring a high level goverment scientist that comes out and blatantly supports the "wrong side" of the issue should be expected.

That does not make it right. Guys like Newton faced the same problems. The details (some very important ones, I might add) are different, but the basics are there. A goverment sponsored scientists comes out against the status quo (in our case the emerging status quo) and faces censure from his peers and benefactors.

There is no hard evidence that our excessive CO2 production is a cause of increasing global temperatures. Of course, logically it does make sense, and it would seem prudent to start curbing the output of it as a preventative measure. So, in this instance I think it is gross irresponsibility, and worthy of censure, for a respected scientist to write a book claiming that global warming is a farce.

Re:Global Warming, a farce? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805215)

Congratulations. You have written the least objective response to this article yet!

I especially like you "bait and switch" technique. Sure, Dr. So and So is reasonable. BUT SUPRESS HIS WORKS, GODDAMIT.

You, sir, are a racist.

Re:Global Warming, a farce? (1)

jqcoffey (457742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805352)

I believe I was just called a racist by an "Anonymous Coward." Fantastic!

Re:Global Warming, a farce? (1)

Mes (124637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805315)

define a "vast *minority*"?

like 49.9%?

Re:Global Warming, a farce? (1)

jqcoffey (457742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805378)

http://www.cnn.com/EARTH/9709/30/environment.clima te.reut/

"The scientists, including 98 Nobel laureates, urged world leaders to adopt a strong treaty to fight emissions of carbon from burning fossil fuels that are changing the climate."

We can argue all day long as to what constitutes a "scientist," but suffice it to say, 98 Nobel laureates sounds like a pretty good sized majority of the *respected* scientific communities.

Or wait, no, they're all wackos! That's right!

I have always loved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805194)

How they boast that the records go back 150 years, as if that is some sort of absolute factual proof.

Until one realizes that accounts for 0.00000003% of an established span of time.

what the cause of Global warming is (5, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805201)

Well the upper atmosphere is warming, but that can be easily explained by the weakening of the magnetic field which causes more radiation to hit the atmosphere in turn increasing the temperature in that region.

As for the ground data, Urban heat islands are the cause. The material used to build Urban areas retains the heat from the day, and radiates it at night. If you take the urban heat island data out of the ground temperature data, there is almost a zero increases in surface temperature.

No need for CO2 in the equation at all, though, Green house effect and what I outlined above both have an equally strong base of evidence (each is a hypothesis to climatology). I think that the hypothesis outlined above makes more sense personally.

Re:what the cause of Global warming is (1)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805363)

You should also mention the amount of CO2 emitted from Mt. St. Helens, etc. in the last two decades.

http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vw_hyperexchan ge/Gases.html

Hardly surprising (1)

SPosselt (611130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805205)

This move by the danish ministry of science is hardly surprising, considering that one of the first actions of the current government was to shut down a large number of environmental agencies and institutions, replacing them with the "Environmental Assessment Institute", of which they appointed Lomborg the Leader.

This was very much a way for the government to replace the skeptics of their environmental policy (or lack thereof) with their own supporters, such as Lomborg.

This clearing of Lomborg is not about the procedure of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty - it's all about the government needing to keep Lomborg in his position of power.

short-term view (2, Insightful)

T.Hobbes (101603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805219)

lornberg has always seemed like a bit of a paper tiger to me. first, a large part of his argument just that the scientsts are basically hyping the problem, and making it seem worse than it is. he's not, however, saying that the problem is not bad. second, much of his commentary about the actual state of the environment addresses the fact that it was worse in the past, or that control measures have curtailed the worst of a particular environmental problem. again, he is not addressing the problem itself - he's comparing it to the past. in both cases, he does not address the problem, but rather says 'relative to ________, it's not that bad'. the question that actually matters, however, is if the conditions to support life and, in particular, human life, will be maintained; if not, what damage will be done to life on earth.

Science vs Politics (3, Informative)

Tauklon (19587) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805221)

This article shows the problem of seperating facts from politics.

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/wo_mull er 121703.asp

It talks about a Medieval warm period and the problems of estimating temperatures from just a few hundred years ago. The hard part is to agree on the factual data.

of course the world is warming up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805224)

Through out school I have been taught that we are coming out of a recent ice age. Now, to leave an ice age shouldnt the world warm up? Correct me if Im wrong here, but the logical way to leave an ice age is to become warmer. The globe has been warming up for the last several thousand years. Am I the only one that thinks the whole thing is both natural and makes sense?

Cato right-wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805236)

Being against interventionist foreign policy and the drug war would put them at odds with the right-wingers in the white house. Some right-wingers are more right than others I guess.

We have the proof! (5, Funny)

orionware (575549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805244)

We've been keeping track of global climate for more than 140 years!

Surely this is enough to be able to accurately predict the warming and cooling cycles of the Earth!

You stupid people! Global temperature has risen almost 1 degree F in the past 140 years! (http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhs hgl.gif) Surely this is the sign of evironmental armageddon!

Re:We have the proof! (1)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805312)

Sorry most of the data goes far further back in time than 140 years. For example you can pull C02 levels from ice core samples to see the level of C02 increase.

Thank God for the Environmentalist Wackos (4, Insightful)

jafac (1449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805249)

on Monday, an earthquake shook the foundations of Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California. This plant, if it had been built as originally planned, would likely have failed on Monday, likely contaminating hundreds of miles of pacific coastline with deadly radiation.

Thank GOD the environmentallist wackos were there, in the 1970's, to halt construction on this plant, and force PG&E to redesign the plant so that it could withstand a 7.0 direct on it's location. The magnatude of the San Simeon quake was estimated to be in the 5.5 to 6.0 range on the site of Diablo Canyon.

I personally don't mind having a nuclear power station in my "backyard". But that's because I've toured it, and I *know* they built it right.

For all those who blamed the 2000 blackouts on environmentalist wackos - screw you. It was fradulent enerygy trading practices.

Environmentalist Wackos Strike Again (1, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805390)

The 2000 blackouts weren't only because of fraudulent energy trading practices (although that did play a part). You portray the Wackos as demanding good design of nuke stations. When was the last time a nuke station was built in California? Over 20 years ago, thanks to the Wackos. They don't care about good design; now they only care about no design at all.

You say you've toured the Diablo Canyon facility, and that's how you know it was built right? If you know that's the case, why aren't you in the business of nuclear reactor design? Or do you think that simply touring the facility gives you all the knowledge you need to verify its soundness and robustness?

You sound exactly like the people Bjorn Lomborg looks at. Why not take a look at how much you really don't know, before you make such an ignorant conclusion.

In other news... (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805255)

...Danish Scientist offered top spot in Bush administration to head working groups on climate change including the Clear Skies and Healthy Forests initiatives.

Global warming? (2, Interesting)

MsWillow (17812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805284)

I'm not so sure that humans are the root cause behind any global warming, especially after seeing that Mars is just coming out of an ice age of its own. [space.com] Given that humans have had, like, zero impact on the climate of Mars, but solar output has impact on both Mars and Earth, doncha think that global warming might, just might, be caused by the sun, not humans?

I'm not saying that humankind has no impact on Earth's climate, but that maybe blaming us for global warming is just another Chicken Little espousing that the sky is falling. We'll likely know better, in a few million years or so. Till then, I'm not holding my breath.

environmentalism is a religion (0, Troll)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805290)

mod me down, but environmentalism is a religion. do not confuse with conservationalism. i am a hunter and fisherman. nobody appreciates a clean environment more than i do. but the extreme measures, like those at kyoto, are based on faith as much as fact. furthermore, the assumptions and value judgements one must make are also religious. so what if species die off, or they are cleared for man. if trees and people are equal, that is YOUR RELIGION. fine. but please do not push your religion on me. the environmental movement is a cover for the global communists and socialist, one world governmentalists. (no, i don't need a tin foil hat.) everything that we need to do to "save" the environment is lower our standard of living. i don't think so. and lastly, why is the environmental movement headed by wealthy white people? you'd think there'd be a little more "color" if you will. perhaps they can see through the elitism?

Re:environmentalism is a religion (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805317)

"When Lomborg restates the number of lost species as a percentage of total species, is he simply showing the true size of the problem or is he perhaps also trying to trivialize it? By analogy, in 2001 AIDS killed three million people, with devastating effects on societies in Africa and elsewhere. But that was only 0.05 percent of all humans." By analogy Al Quaida terror killed only ... :-)

Power readout for laptop (0, Offtopic)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805296)

Since you have a power meter and know the juice your boxes suck, here is the readout for a cheap laptop

Dell Inspiron 1100 with a 2Ghz Celery (15" LCD, 640 Meg ram, Wireless Card)

Average 25 watts at .12 amps

And it has a built in UPS, is mobile and can be charged up with a car cig lighter.

Laptop ALL the way. But I am not sure it will really matter, your going to get in the middle of know where and even though you think your going to use your computer ... you won't. It will realize that it is all that is evil in this world ... then decide to grow a beard :-)

Think Tank (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805302)

"right-wing organizations such as the Cato Institute" Cato institute is a think tank, i.e. it can be bought by intrest groups. At UN World Summit on the Information society they even sent SPAM letters to participants of the summit. Scientific American is a popular science magazine, so it seems to be no "real science" as it is used as a communication platform. Politics or Science? I don't believe he is a real scientist. Science shall avoid to deliver to the people what they want to listen to. But science is subject of intrests too. In this case there are probably more commercial intrests in his case than on the side that he attacks. Therefore his opponents are more trustworthy. Perhaps the same as in the tabacco industry. From the linkes text: "The Kyoto Protocol will do very little good--it will postpone warming for six years in 2100." I guess no real scientist can be THAT sure about the effects. "By the end of this century the U.N. expects we will have more forests, simply because even inhabitants in the developing countries will be much richer than we are now." As every rich man plants a tree?? That sounds silly to me but the author claims that would be an UN opinion. Well, "the UN" has no opinion as it is a network of international organisations. It is a popular sinmplification. I think the letter of him sound unscientific to me, too apologetic. "Take all the issues the critics did not even mention (about half my book). We have a world in which we live longer and are healthier, with more food, fewer starving, better education, higher standards of living, less poverty, less inequality, more leisure time and fewer risks." Nobody doubts that. What's the issue?

Scientific American has no bias!!!11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805307)

Remember how when William Jefferson Clinton was beset by, ahem, difficulties arising from his indiscretions and obfuscations? How they conveniently ran some "scientific" piece about how Thomas Jefferson begat illegitimate offspring from his slaves? Made the news, didn't it?

Turns out the "scientific evidence" showed that the offspring was sired by someone else in Jefferson's family. And remember how SciAm retracted, erm... oops, they didn't retract.

So I guess this proves that "science" can never be used for political purposes.

Um, nevermind.

Does it matter? (1, Interesting)

pj737 (678471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805335)

So what if global warming is not caused by humans? If it really is a farce we should just continue to burn coal and oil to provide electricity and pump absurd amounts of gasoline into our vehicles, right? Well, last checked, burning gas, coal, or oil also produces other nasty pollutants (other than CO2) that cause awful things like acid rain and kill little children with asthma and other breathing ailments. Burning fossil fuels is not just causing global warming, it's screwing up the air we breathe. Isn't that reason enough to want to find alternatives???

Lemme see if I understand this ... (5, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805340)

That first paragraph was confusing so lemme post my summary:

Bjorn Lomborg says evironmentalists are stupid.
Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty says Bjorn Lomborg is stupid.
Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation says Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty is stupid.
Cato Institute says Bjorn Lomborg is not stupid.
Scientific American says Bjorn Lomborg is stupid.

okay makes sense now.

The Book Doesn't Dispute Global Warming (5, Informative)

rbrander (73222) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805347)

There seems to be a misapprehension in many posts that the book is skeptical of global warming itself. It isn't.

There are a *few* comments to the effect that the conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are not certain, or at any rate the *magnitude* of the warming is much disputed, but Lomborg's comments just mirror the ongoing debate in the meteorlogical community itself.

Then he gets on with it and says, basically, "but let's just take the final conclusions of the panel as the best estimate we have" - the rest of the chapter is about the 1.5C-5.8C (most likely number : 2.2C) of warming we will see by 2100, according to the IPCC.

What the global warming, ah, community(?) hates about Lomborg is that he takes a position against Kyoto, based on the models and figures in the IPCC report.

In brief: that Kyoto is unlikely to delay that 2.2C warming by more than a miserable six years, at a cost of hundreds of billions that could be better spent preparing the hardest-hit nations for the *effects* of the warming, not to mention on R&D for wind turbines, solar power, safer nuke plants, fuel cells, etc.

This, I found pretty convincing.

Hidden text (1)

lastberserker (465707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805365)

You can still read it by copy/pasting blanks to some text editor. Enjoy! ;-D

In all honesty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805370)

The only people who don't believe in global warming are American right wingers with shares in oil companys.

This argument is moot (1)

Mes (124637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805372)

How come the burden of proof is on the environmental scientists? It should be up to industrialists to show theres nothing wrong with breathing the crap that they spew. We *should* be all for cleaning up the air polution problem first. We know we have polluted air, you can see it. All the large cities I've lived in have brown air. This is unacceptable. Clean this up and it makes the global warming argument disappear.

Apparently its much wiser to not bother to fix it until the atmosphere is seriously broken and we're headed to disaster. Thanks Bush. I for one would rather not be part of this science experiment.

Cato Institute and Contrived Hysteria (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7805375)

Unless someone is talking about a bird, labels such as "right wing" and "left wing" are rarely useful. If someone uses it as a political label, he is claiming the entire world can be divide into three parts, left, "moderate" and right. Things are rarely that simple.

The Cato Institute quite correctly defines itself as libertarian. There are details at:

http://www.cato.org/about/about.html

Its relevance to the "global warming" debate is that pseudo-scientific hysteria is often used to assault the libertarian stress on "individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace."

For an example, think of the hysteria in the 1960s over an alleged "population bomb." What was actually taking place was a "birth dearth" in industrialized societies that made elites in those societies fearful of the much higher birthrates where skins are a bit darker. Read books by those feeding the hysteria and you'll discover that they wanted the same sorts of draconian controls on who would be allowed to have children as many environmentalists now want to place on energy usage. And the scientific community allowed its prestige to support that hysteria, just as it now appears as a supporter of claims of impending environmental disaster.

Long term, the contrived population hysteria kept Europe and Japan from dealing with the real problems they face--few kids, aging populations, and costly welfare states.

Thanks to its greater openness to immigration with their typically large families, as well as a less extensive welfare state, the U.S. faces less of a problem in that area. We're also better at assimulating immigrants, allowing them to fit as they choose, than countries such as France, where politicians think the fate of their nation hinges on forcing school girls to go about bareheaded and shy Muslim women to have their private parts examined by strange men.

For what it's worth, I'm not a libertarian. I simply have enough sense of history to know that hysteria is often used to get social and political changes that are not justified by the evidence. The Skeptical Environmentalist suggest that is the case with many environmental claims. That is why it deserves a hearing.

Cato Institute is libertarian, NOT "right wing" (4, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805393)

Anybody who would call the Cato Institute a "right wing" group is terribly, terribly ignorant. Cato is very pro-individual rights. On economic issues, they tend to agree with conservatives. On social issues, they tend to agree with liberals.

Contrary to what some people believe, it's possible to have positions other than what most people understand to be left wing or right wing. That two-dimensional scale is terribly inadequate for explaining the range of possible political positions. See the following quiz from Advocates for Self Government for a more useful way to look at the choices:

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html

Risk Avoidance (1)

CraigV (126819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7805394)

We can wait 20 or 30 years until all the analysis is done and run the risk of saying "Oh, shit!!!" and our children and grandchildren saying "What a bunch of greedy idiots our parents and grandparents were."

or

We can conserve non-renewable energy sources for future generations, saving financial, human and environmental resources.

Seems like a no-brainer for those concerned for future generations. (Note: Hydrogen is no magic source - we can't just scoop it out from the sun.)
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