The UnAustralian

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
The Skeptical Environmentalist

Since I'm looking through Nature I saw a news article ("Social scientists
call for abolition of dishonesty committee") that might be of interest to the blogging world. It concerns the recent investigation into Bjørn Lomborg and his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Apparently some social scientists (one is quoted in the article) feel that the criteria used to judge Lomborg shouldn't apply to the social sciences. Jørn Petersen is said to claimed that selection of information to develop a theory is an integral of part of some of the social sciences.

Personally I feel that Lomborg cherry picked his data, and that "scientifically dishonest" is a pretty good description of his book. As far as I can tell, his book was presented to the public as science. Consequently, I have very little sympathy for him.

On another level, I would be interested to know how many social sciences do selected data to support whatever theory is being put forward while ignoring data which doesn't support their theory. And is this seen, within the field, as a good thing.

Update: Opps. Here's the citation for the article: Social scientists call for abolition of dishonesty committee Nature, 2003, 421, 681.

| 11:04 PM