Wednesday, June 12, 2002

One of the more interesting (and on some level frustrating) things about writing a blog is the inevitable fact that no matter what you have to say, someone else has said it better. So it is with climatology, an issue that I've been somewhat embroiled in recently. I've had a problem with the concept that Bjorn Lomborg, an economist, is really qualified to evaluate and critique climatological science, and have noticed several other people (including bloggers, the right wing punditocracy, and pretty much the entire staff of TechCentralStation) more than willing to do the same thing. So it was with great surprise that I discovered another blog, Quark Soup, that did a spectacular job of ripping apart this sort of nonsense. (Scroll down... it's from June 8th)

Here's a great quote about the political aspects:

Now, Lindzen is a very smart guy, very well qualified, and the scientific community listens to what he has to say. He publishes op-eds, but he does it from a sound foundation of science. Indeed, he was a lead author on one chapter of the IPCC report, and contributed to recent National Academy of Science reports. The world needs more scientists like him.... And scientists read what he writes, and, as this Scientific American profile indicates, refute it on the scientific battleground.

But Sowell, Limbaugh, Andrew Sullivan, and the like, stop when they've found a scientist -- or merely a social scientist -- who supports their ideology. They pump that viewpoint to the exclusion of all other legitimately competing viewpoints, because, of course, it supports their position.

That's intellectually dishonest.

Not much more to add, except that (predictably enough) Paul Krugman highlighted this problem when he was referring to the "policy entrepreneurs" that drove real economics out of policy formation and unleashed supply side economics on the world during the Reagan administration and "strategic trade" during the Clinton administration. It figures.

Update: Brian Newhouse brought up that very same blog in my comments section a few days ago, and I didn't attribute it to him. I had missed it, but thanks for pointing it out, Brian.

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