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RE: Unfortunate response



Friends,

I too found Mr. Jon Entine's atack on Burt Hamner to be below the belt. Is
it ethical to use the term "Big Lie," which implies Hitlerite tactics, to a
reputable and serious journalist? Does anyone who has read even one or two
of Burt's contributions to the list serv, which are often in the form of
detailed serious questions and requests for other expert opinion, consider
him anything like a fascist bomb thrower? Au contraire! I find Mr. Entine's
attack unethical and inappropriate.  That unethical attack seems odd coming
from someone whose website promotes his purportedly serious and even
scholarly approach to ethics. One can conclude that the attack was
essentially political.

The  debate about Lomborg's provocative book has been limited mostly to the
substance of the argument and the holes in it, as far as I am concerned. I
have reviewed the World Resources Institute's letter to environmental
journalists from Jonathan Lash, summarizing nine categories of problems with
the book, for example. These points are serious and substantive. Although
Mr. Entine may disagree, I find the point, to take just one, that the Dane
has very limited actual experience studying or working on environmental
problems, to be rather telling. Suddenly he is some kind of expert in a very
complex set of issues? Give me a WRI report anytime.

Isn't it in fact likely that both the Dane and Entine are rather dilettantes
in the environmental field who are seeking to make their reputations or at
least to garner attention by simply being obnoxious and provocative? This
type of politcal attack may be appropriate for
talk radio or for Cross Fire, but I wish it were left out of this list-serv.


Nick Gill
Boston
-----Original Message-----
From: Todd MacFadden [mailto:Todd_MacFadden@uml.edu]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 9:33 PM
To: Jon Entine; p2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: Unfortunate response


Jon,

You make a good point. I think I got a bit too revved up in my response and 
my tone was definitely more pointed than I would have preferred. Plus, I 
see now that I undermine the very point of my message which is that we need 
to disagree constructively and communicate sensibly.

Apologies to you and others.
Todd MacFadden



At 04:33 PM 12/13/01 -0800, you wrote:

>Todd:
>
>You are certainly welcome to your diatribe. But I have no apologies for
>responding to other's diatribes, sophomoric attacks on the "media", and
>almost giggly snide polemical comments by Mr. Hamner. Please extend your
>warm embrace of "respect" and "dignity" to people and ideas that you
>disagree with, not only those who conform to your ideology or are "your
>friends."
>
>As for "ranting" comments, please read your own note.
>
>And why should I not tell people about a chapter that deals with the very
>issue that Mr. Hamner so glibly commented upon? It's reasoned, far more so
>than the low brow comments that he, and now you, are making. It's not as if
>I make any money off of the book --and frankly wouldn't be an issue if I
>did.
>
>Shame on you.
>
>On 12/13/01 4:24 PM, "Todd MacFadden" <Todd_MacFadden@uml.edu> wrote:
>
> > Jon,
> >
> > I am stunned and disgusted. I cannot begin to understand what prompted
such
> > a vituperative (public) attack. What constructive value could possibly
come
> > of this type of response? And particularly from a self-proclaimed
> > "progressive on environmental issues?" Were that the case, and if you
were
> > a more sensible fellow, you would realize that disagreement among
> > professional colleagues in this field is not only normal and acceptable,
> > but is in fact necessary. It provides invaluable opportunity for
discourse,
> > learning and (ultimately) growth.  We are quite accustomed to
disagreeing
> > with each other. But we treat one another with respect and dignity. Your
> > vitriol and invective has no place in this forum.
> >
> > I wonder why you didn't simply acknowledge your disagreement, state your
> > position, and then start the ball rolling on what would doubtless have
> > become a lively discussion. I consider Burton Hamner one of the most
> > well-respected individuals in this field. He has done so much to advance
> > our collective understanding and to point us in directions we never
dreamed
> > of going. Sure, he might take issue with you on a point or two, and
he'll
> > defend his position gallantly, but he will honor your opinions and
> > recognize our common goal - to protect the environment.
> >
> > Your ranting diatribe does not add value. And then to have the audacity
to
> > plug your chapter. Unbelievable. 11,000 more of your words? No thanks.
> >
> > Yes. Run Jon run. Run far, far away.
> >
> > Todd MacFadden
> >
> >
> >
> > At 01:34 PM 12/13/01 -0800, you wrote:
> >> Excuse me for not being clear, Mr Entine.  I think the whole case is an
> >> excellent example for discussion and teaching.  Your response in this
> >> subject line is offensive, I do not appreciate having my name
associated
> >> with "Big Lie" and I expect an apology.
> >>
> >> Burton Hamner
> >>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "Jon Entine" <runjonrun@earthlink.net>
> >> To: "Burton Hamner" <bhamner@cleanerproduction.com>; "ONE-L"
> >> <ONE-L@CLVM.CLARKSON.EDU>; "p2tech" <p2tech@great-lakes.net>;
"Infoterra"
> >> <infoterra@cedar.at>; "AP CP List" <apcpnet@tei.or.th>
> >> Cc: <IABS-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU>
> >> Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 10:42 AM
> >> Subject: Burton Hamner's Big Lie Was Big Media Duped by The
> >> SkepticalEnvironmentalist
> >>
> >>
> >>> Burton:
> >>>
> >>> "Excellent"??
> >>>
> >>> You can't be serious!
> >>>
> >>> Have you actually READ the book, Woodward's tendentious article, and
the
> >>> various polemical "analyses" by selected "reviewers".
> >>>
> >>> Woodward's article provides no analysis at all...it amounts to an ad
> >> hominem
> >>> (poorly constructed) by the way attack on Lomborg. It's gutter
journalism
> >> at
> >>> its worst. To site this as an example of "great journalism" is a
little
> >>> frightening. No respectable magazine or newspaper would print much of
the
> >>> garbage found on Tom Paine about this issue ... It's mostly
ideological
> >>> rubbish.
> >>>
> >>> As a progressive on environmental issues, I find this offensive. And
I'm
> >>> amazed that any serious academician would fall for this. Sadly, it's
> >>> illustrative of why the some aspects of the environmental movement
have
> >> lost
> >>> so much credibility. What happened to critical thinking--of the 
> "left" and
> >>> the loony extremist right?
> >>>
> >>> As for the reviewers comments...READ them and match them up against
the
> >>> book. In almost every case, they are taking very narrow elements of
the
> >> book
> >>> and contesting some aspects of the data, but not mustering any real
> >> analysis
> >>> of the overall conclusions.
> >>>
> >>> As you know, this is highly contested terrain. There will be
> >> disagreements.
> >>> But selectively contesting some of the statistical analysis does not
> >>> automatically invalidate major theses in the book. In this case, not
ONE
> >> of
> >>> the "reviewers" lay much of a glove on Lomborg's overall analysis.
> >>>
> >>> Again...if you disagree..cite some actual examples, rather than the
> >>> collection of mostly ad hominem attacks by well known ideologues who
have
> >> a
> >>> lot to lose by a more critical look at highly contentious issues.
> >>>
> >>> For example, people like Lester Brown. David Nemtzow, and Devra Davis,
> >> among
> >>> others, are not very credible independent thinks on the issues in
which
> >> they
> >>> polemicize about. PLEASE..read what they write. It's selective 
> journalism,
> >>> which makes Lomborg's book all the more impressive. Many of those who
> >> write
> >>> are activists who have a long history of distorting (or as is usually
the
> >>> case, not understanding) complex environmental and social issues. For
the
> >>> most part, they are tin horn demagogues.
> >>>
> >>> Does Lomborg reach some questionable conclusions...perhaps, but he is 
> very
> >>> transparent about his research -- which means he acknowledges that
> >> analyzing
> >>> these issues is a process. The same cannot be said for the analysis of
> >> some
> >>> of those cited in the Tom Paine articles.
> >>>
> >>> Exercise critical thinking about this, don't just embrace the
ideological
> >>> rhetoric of the left and the right.
> >>>
> >>> In the few cases in which the critics are credible, such as EO Wilson
on
> >>> species extinction, not of the comments undermine Lomborg's analysis. 
> Read
> >>> it in context.
> >>>
> >>> Even Woodward acknowledges, grudgingly, that dealing with statistics
in
> >>> hotly polemical issues is very contentious--note his reference to
> >>> Greenpeace's long history of media manipulation and issuing distorted 
> (and
> >>> very unprogressive) environmental "studies" to justify breaking the
law.
> >>>
> >>> [By the way, if any one is interested, my 11,000 word case study of
the
> >>> Brent Spar/Greenpeace/Shell fiasco, which deconstructs the media
> >>> manipulation by both sides in this affair, is now available as a
chapter
> >> in
> >>> the Routledge published book: Case Histories in Business Ethics, which
is
> >>> being published this month in both hardback and paperback. You can
find
> >>> details at Amazon.com...the UK site is:
> >>>
> >> 
>
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415231442/ref%3Ded%5Fra%5Fof%5Fdp/
> >>> 202-1071582-5686251 ]
> >>>
> >>> Jon Entine
> >>>
> >>> On 12/13/01 9:14 AM, "Burton Hamner" <bhamner@cleanerproduction.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> This story is excellent for revealing how easy it is to lie with
> >> statistics
> >>>> and how the media are so easily manipulated by its lack of expertise
in
> >>>> covering environmental issues.  Should be a classic in enviro
education
> >> and
> >>>> in media management.
> >>>>
> >>>> Burton
> >>>>
> >>>>> Colin Woodard's article, "THE TABLOID ENVIRONMENTALIST, How a
> >>>>> Pseudo-Scientist Duped the Big Media -- Big Time" is now available
at
> >>>>> http://www.tompaine.com. An op-ad about this was published in
today's
> >>>>> New York Times.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> It features how The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist,
etc.
> >>>>> were suckered into printing uncritical and glowing reviews of Bjorn
> >>>>> Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Grist Magazine also published a series ("Something is Rotten in the
> >>>>> State of Denmark") refuting Lomborg's assertions,
> >>>>> http://www.gristmagazine.com. Two of the nine articles were written
> >>>>> by WRI experts, Dr. Allen Hammond and Emily Matthews.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> If you want to know more about the controversy, see our media guide
at
> >>>>> http://www.wri.org/press/mk_lomborg.html.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> *****************************************************
> >>>>> Adlai J. Amor
> >>>>> Media Director
> >>>>>  World Resources Institute
> >>>>> 10 G Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
> >>>>> Tel: (+202) 729 7736 * Fax: (+202) 729 7616
> >>>>> Email: aamor@wri.org
> >>>>> Website: http://www.wri.org
> >>>>> *****************************************************
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Jon Entine
> >>> RuffRun
> >>> 6178 Grey Rock Rd.
> >>> Agoura Hills, CA 91301
> >>> (818) 991-9803 [FAX] 991-9804
> >>> http://www.jonentine.com
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >
>
>--
>Jon Entine
>RuffRun
>6178 Grey Rock Rd.
>Agoura Hills, CA 91301
>(818) 991-9803 [FAX] 991-9804
>http://www.jonentine.com