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Inferno
2005-Feb-18, 02:00 AM
Do you remember this guy?

http://www.lomborg.com/books.htm

His book was about showing that a lot of the facts and statistics environmentalists and politicans and researchers pull out often have incorrect figures in them, or assumptions that are not made clean. His point was to be skeptical about "facts" thrown at you. And that the environment isn't as doomed as some try to claim. But at the same time he was saying that this doesn't mean it's all rubbish, that things don't need to be done.

Sounds all nice and good, but then many of his collegues claimed his book was complete fabrications and full of the very same incorrect figures and misleading assumptions that he was meant to be against. I think he may have been removed from his university position?

He argued back that if there was something wrong in his book that all they needed to do was point to it and prove it to be wrong. No one it seems could do this.

These pages mention some stuff about what happened:
http://www.lomborg.com/biograph.htm
http://www.lomborg.com/critique.htm


My question: What do you think of this guy? Was he right in his specific claims? Was he a loon? Have his critics really changed their minds about him, or did his accusers simply give up bothering with him?

rleyland
2005-Feb-18, 03:06 AM
Do you remember this guy?

http://www.lomborg.com/books.htm

His book was about showing that a lot of the facts and statistics environmentalists and politicans and researchers pull out often have incorrect figures in them, or assumptions that are not made clean. His point was to be skeptical about "facts" thrown at you. And that the environment isn't as doomed as some try to claim. But at the same time he was saying that this doesn't mean it's all rubbish, that things don't need to be done.

Sounds all nice and good, but then many of his collegues claimed his book was complete fabrications and full of the very same incorrect figures and misleading assumptions that he was meant to be against. I think he may have been removed from his university position?

He argued back that if there was something wrong in his book that all they needed to do was point to it and prove it to be wrong. No one it seems could do this.

These pages mention some stuff about what happened:
http://www.lomborg.com/biograph.htm
http://www.lomborg.com/critique.htm


My question: What do you think of this guy? Was he right in his specific claims? Was he a loon? Have his critics really changed their minds about him, or did his accusers simply give up bothering with him?

Basically he has been found correct.

He was rebuked pretty heavily in print, and by a misguided Danish "science" comittee (who subsequently were chastised and Lomborg was verified).

The primary point he raises is that there is a tendency to over state problems (for many reasons), and to play on peoples fear and emotions when dealing with critical issues.

In almost all regards the world is in much better shape than people believe. This isn;t just a pollyanna view, he backs it up with facts, references and cogent argument.

His claim is that the root causes of much of the world wide problems are to do with poverty. Solve this issue and the rest fall into line.


cheers,
Robbo

Disinfo Agent
2005-Feb-18, 04:50 PM
He argued back that if there was something wrong in his book that all they needed to do was point to it and prove it to be wrong. No one it seems could do this.
Or bothered to.

kylenano
2005-Feb-18, 08:01 PM
Scientific American bothered in great detail. Most of it you have to pay to read, but there is a 15 page article at: A Response to Lomborg's Rebuttal (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00040A72-A95C-1CDA-B4A8809EC588EEDF&pageNumber=1&catID=9) by John Rennie. However the arguments weren't resolved and Lomborg claims Scientific American isn't letting him reply properly.

I don't agree with scaremongering, but denying a problem exists won't make it go away.

Also, whatever the arguments, I'm so fed up with the sheer number of cars :evil: here, fume filled air etc. I wish all cars would disappear into a black hole!!!

QuagmaPhage
2005-Feb-19, 12:42 PM
Basically he has been found correct.

He was rebuked pretty heavily in print, and by a misguided Danish "science" comittee (who subsequently were chastised and Lomborg was verified).
This is not correct. As I have pointed out earlier in another thread the Danish Commitees on Scientific Dishonesty judgement was mainly overruled for lack of specific statements on actual errors in Lomborg's book. DCSD then had to decide for themselves whether they wanted to make a new judgement or not hear the case again. They then estimated that a new hearing would last for at least another 6 to 12 months and would heavily rely on external experts. The DCSD simply did not have the resources (money) to do this, since Lomborg's book covers so many topics and references that the DCSD then decided to not hear the case again. Lomborg was never formally cleared of the charges nor found to be correct.

I have also earlier pointed to www.lomborg-errors.dk (http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/) which contain a list with errors in his book as well as an account of the whole timeline since the whole story started.



He argued back that if there was something wrong in his book that all they needed to do was point to it and prove it to be wrong. No one it seems could do this.
Some people did indeed point out his errors but Lomborg simply ignored them.



I think he may have been removed from his university position?
No, he wasn't removed but he quit himself, because he wanted to devote more time to promote his issues.

My view of Lomborg is that he is a bit misguided. He is clearly very intelligent and skilled but he doesn't have a background in natural science and have misunderstood many of his sources for his book. He's right that some environmentalists have over stated problems in the past and some still do but to conclude that they all do this and we have very little to worry about is also wrong.

The whole farce about his employment as director of the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute shows that he is not much interested in the environmental sciences. All the members of the board that had an engineering or scientific background resigned over various issues dealing with Lomborg and the way the institute made reports. An account of the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute is to be found here:
The Establishing of the of the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute (http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/lomborgstory11.htm) and The functioning of the Environmental Assessment Institute (http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/lomborgstory15.htm)

While Lomborg does support prevention of some environmental issues he also clearly dismmises that we should try to prevent others on grounds of cost-benefit analysis where money are more important than the issue. For example he is against the Kyoto protocol because he is of the opinion that it will be cheaper to adapt to rising sea levels than to prevent them. Nevermind that millions of people will have to be relocated, it will still be cheaper this way. This is clearly not a scientific point but a political/economical point which is why this whole global warming debate usually ends up looking like trench warfare.

rleyland
2005-Feb-19, 08:53 PM
Basically he has been found correct.

He was rebuked pretty heavily in print, and by a misguided Danish "science" comittee (who subsequently were chastised and Lomborg was verified).
This is not correct. As I have pointed out earlier in another thread the Danish Commitees on Scientific Dishonesty judgement was mainly overruled for lack of specific statements on actual errors in Lomborg's book. DCSD then had to decide for themselves whether they wanted to make a new judgement or not hear the case again. They then estimated that a new hearing would last for at least another 6 to 12 months and would heavily rely on external experts. The DCSD simply did not have the resources (money) to do this, since Lomborg's book covers so many topics and references that the DCSD then decided to not hear the case again. Lomborg was never formally cleared of the charges nor found to be correct.



You're a lot closer to the source than I am, but these comments, from his website, seemed pretty clear:




The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) have finally ended their case March 12, 2004, rejecting the original complaints. They have decided that the original decision is invalid and has ended any further inquiry. You can read my press comments here.

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has December 17 2003 repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bjørn Lomborg’s book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was “objectively dishonest” or “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice”


The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has released a highly critical assessment of the Committee’s January 7 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was “completely void of argumentation” for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD’s treatment of the case as “dissatisfactory”, “deserving criticism” and “emotional” and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has been remitted.



Also, this is now several years old. Why did you bring this all up Inferno?

archman
2005-Feb-19, 09:21 PM
All I can say about the guy is, ecologists can't stand him. But we generally have a "thing" against statisticians that don't consult with us when making statements about our field, so maybe we're prejudiced.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-20, 05:18 AM
All I can say about the guy is, ecologists can't stand him. But we generally have a "thing" against statisticians that don't consult with us when making statements about our field, so maybe we're prejudiced.Archman, this post makes me curious what field you are a doctoral candidate in?

As to the issues of the thread, if only we had news reporters who had half a high school education in science AND did their job of investigating the facts in a story instead of just making themselves a mouth piece for competing propagandists ...... ](*,) Maybe in my next life. 8)

QuagmaPhage
2005-Feb-20, 11:16 AM
You're a lot closer to the source than I am, but these comments, from his website, seemed pretty clear:


The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) have finally ended their case March 12, 2004, rejecting the original complaints. They have decided that the original decision is invalid and has ended any further inquiry. You can read my press comments here.

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has December 17 2003 repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bjørn Lomborg’s book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was “objectively dishonest” or “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice”

The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has released a highly critical assessment of the Committee’s January 7 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was “completely void of argumentation” for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD’s treatment of the case as “dissatisfactory”, “deserving criticism” and “emotional” and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has been remitted.



What Lomborg writes on his website is not in accordance wíth what the DSCD (or UVVU in danish) writes in the official press release:
The final decision of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty in the complaint against Bjørn Lomborg (http://forsk.dk/portal/page?_pageid=407,897505&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL )


It is the opinion of the UVVU that such renewed scrutiny would, in all likelihood, result in the same conclusion that the UVVU reached in its decision of 6 January 2003. The rules for the UVVU (Danish Executive Order no. 933 of 15. Dec. 1998, Section 2(2)) state that the UVVU must dismiss a case if, in advance, it is considered unlikely that a complainant will succeed. Thus, the UVVU does not have any legal basis for resuming investigations related to the complaint against Bjørn Lomborg.

Thus the DSCD dismissed the case because they found it unlikely that they would reach a different conclusion than the first verdict, which was declared invalid by the Ministry of Science purely because of procedural errors. The DSCD did not "reject" the original complaints nor did they decide that the original decision is invalid, the Ministry did that.

And since archman brings it up again: Lomborg is still not a statistician, he is educated in political science where statistics is used but it does not make him a statistician.

Inferno
2005-Feb-20, 10:48 PM
Also, this is now several years old. Why did you bring this all up Inferno?

No reason. Just reading some of the other threads about people's thoughts on global warming and Kyoto, and it got me remembering this guy.