Betrayal of Science and Reason

Betrayal of Science and Reason

Ehrlich, 1996

In this hard-hitting and timely book, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich challenge those who downplay the reality and importance of global environmental problems with appealing but misleading rhetoric. Such efforts to undermine and misinterpret environmental data, labeled the “brownlash” by the Ehrlichs, prolong an already difficult search for solutions and are deeply disturbing to environmental scientists. In Betrayal of Science and Reason, the Ehrlichs contrast anti-environmental rhetoric with the consensus view of the scientific community, tackling head-on such issues as population growth, desertification, food production, global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, and biodiversity loss.

This book offers a unique glimpse into how science works, and they discuss how scientists can speak out on matters of societal urgency yet retain the support of the scientific community. This book provides an eye-opening look at current environmental problems and the fundamental importance of the scientific process in solving them. It presents unique insight into the sources and implications of anti-environmental rhetoric, and it provides readers with a valuable means of understanding and refuting the feel-good fables that constitute the brownlash.

“The time has come to write a book about efforts being made to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems.”

Wise-Use Vs Brown-Wise or Environmentalism Vs Anti-Environmentalism (11)

65% of people are willing to pay for a better environment. (12)

Erroneous Notions (Things that are NOT true).

  • Environmental Scientists Ignore any good news on the Environment
  • Population Growth itself does not cause Damage to the Environment
  • Hunger (Poverty) is nearly Eradicated
  • That Natural Resources are Abundant
  • That Risks posed by Toxic Substances are Greatly Exaggerate
  • That Global Warming and Acid Rain are NOT serious Threats
  • That Environmental Regulation is Wrecking the Economy

Beware of “Sound Science” and “Balance” Rhetoric (17)

Cowboy Economics are all for Private Rights and Often Rights to Waste. People are Conservative and they simply don’t want to Change Their Ways.  (18-20)

Scientists don’t claim to be perfect or to have solid proof or 100% accurate predictions. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously.

It is clear that most Brownlash proponents have an agenda that is very different from MOST scientists. Their conclusions generally support that view that their immediate economic concerns or interests are best served by continuing business as usual and that long-term are not threatened by that policy.

Indeed, even some scientists have been fooled by the seemingly authoritative nature of some “anti-environmentalist” literature (though it should be noted that the scientific community, by and large, agrees with both the theory of global warming, and its human related causes).

As well, a few scientists operating outside the mainstream, such as Patrick Michaels and S. Fred Singer, seem motivated by the large salaries offered to them by multi-million dollars corporations with economic interests at stake regarding environmental regulation. Michaels is the primary authority on the CO2 and Climate Change website, superficially sponsored by the Greening Earth Society, which is, in turn, funded by the Western Fuels Association. The “laundering” of website sponsorship further adds to the confusion concerning ulterior motives.

The effect has been clear: budget cuts, reversal of legislation, a psychological spin toward “wise-use” of resources and downplaying of very imminent dangers. One congress person tried to cut funding for the new Mojave National Park to one dollar per year, another seeks to open mining on park lands.

Congressman Charles Taylor successfully sponsored a bill disguised as a forest health measure which allowed massive clear-cuts of old growth timber in 1995-96.

This last is instructive, a clear example of the subversion of green aims by the opposition. Taking earth-friendly names like “National Wetlands Coalition, The Sahara Club, The Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, The National Wilderness Institute, etc.” the browns wear verbal sheep’s clothing while actively working against the causes their names suggest they must support.

Volcanoes do emit CO2, but it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere.

Good News Perspective: Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act has helped. The number of cars have doubled, but not pollution. (42)

It is a Myth that Environmentalists Hate People.  Wanting people not to double the population doesn’t not mean Scientists are misanthropic. They care about people, but they also wish to see quality of life increase.

Overpopulation Concerns are about not having enough natural resources to sustain EVERYONE!

Greg Easterbrook was wrong to say Earth has NOT been altered significantly by men and women.

Is Global Warming a Crisis or Problem? The nay-sayers say that there is little to no evidence that there is any sort of problem.

The current trend of Warming matches the rise of Industrialization and CO2 output by human beings.  CFCs, Fossil Fuels, Deforestation, Agriculture Practices all Effect that Climate.

Dixylee Ray and Lou Guzzo argue, “It is unlikely that human beings can really influence the overall climate because there are one million tons of air per capita for every person on earth.”  It is like saying a few micro-grams of bacteria can’t make a 200 lb man sick.  (135)

Ronald Bailey and S Fred Singer said that The Earth is not Warming, but Cooling.

Regional Vs Global

Minor adjustment will be made and it will be no big deal is a fallacy.  We don’t just need to change how air conditioners are made.  There is already a rise in sea levels and droughts.

CFCs were invented in the 1930s for Refrigerators. Then holes in the Ozone were discovered around 1956 and 1957.  Brown Lasher’s claim the hole in the Ozone wasn’t discovered until the 1990s and the CFCs aren’t responsible for it.  (141-142)

Brown Lasher’s argue that without Pesticides that Starvation will result. And that is just false.

FACTS: Consensus of the Scientific Community

  • The Earth is Finite
  • Lands for Agriculture are Declining and Waters are being Over-Fished
  • Life-Support Systems are Damaged beyond Control
  • Over-consumption Contributes To Diminishing Resources and Pollution Both
  • Developed/Underdeveloped Countries Can Both Help

It is NOT true that Unregulated Capitalism is good for the Environment.  People not likely to spend more on the environment. It is NOT the Environment Vs Jobs either.

“The world’s scientific community is now pointing out that we have only one Earth and that our global society is running a vast and dangerous experiment on it. If the experiment goes wrong, where will be no way to rerun it.” (pg. 216)


About carilynn27

Reading and writing and writing about reading are my passion. I've been keeping a journal since I was 14. I also write fiction and poetry. I published my first collection of short stories, "Radiant Darkness" in 2000. I followed that up with my first collection of poetry in 2001 called "Journey without a Map." In 2008, I published "Persephone's Echo" another collection of poetry. Since then I've also published Emotional Espionage, The Way The Story Ended, My Perfect Drug and Out There. I have my BA in English from The Ohio State University at Mansfield and my MA in English Lit from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also have my Post BA Certificate in Women's Studies. I am the mother of two beautiful children. :-)
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