- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 31, 2002

Noble: Denmark's skeptical environmentalist and scientific optimist, Bjorn Lomborg.

This statistician and author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist," has been demonized by the environmental community and savaged by the scientific establishment. Peter Raven, chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called him, "the prime example in our time of someone who distorts statistics and statements to meet his own political end." Scientific American printed an 11-page article denouncing his book, and his reviewers in the journal Nature compared him to the moral equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

The reason for these fiery attacks? Mr. Lomborg committed the mortal sin of making the well-documented case that the world is not coming to an end. His book is packed with evidence, only reluctantly acknowledged by his critics, that generally, things are getting better across the globe. A majority of the Earth's people can expect to eat better, earn more and live longer than their parents did.

Such ideas are heresy to those preaching sermons on resource scarcity and environmental disaster at the ongoing U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Yet, while bloodied, Mr. Lomborg is unbowed. As the summit was starting, he had an op-ed published in the New York Times, again proclaiming the truth as he sees it.

His noble stand is reminiscent of Martin Luther, who told the Diet of Worms, "Here I stand. I can do no other."


Knave: The National Organization for Women and other similarly minded organizations that, for the second year in a row, quashed a campaign to quite literally save some of America's children.

Admittedly, those children haven't been born yet, and they might never be. In fact, that's what the campaign put together by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) was all about educating potential mothers in their 20s and 30s about the dangers to female fertility posed by sexually transmitted diseases, advancing age, smoking and unhealthy body weight.

To make the point, ASRM invested in a series of advertisements based on thought-provoking images of baby bottles. One showed an hour-glassed shaped bottle with a measuring tape around the middle, and the caption, "An unhealthy body weight may prevent you from having children. Low body weight and obesity can cause infertility. Your decisions now can impact your ability to conceive in the future."

So who would object to ads promoting healthy motherhood? Who else, but NOW. When the ads appeared on buses in several cities last year, NOW went nuts. It attacked ASRM for using "scare tactics" and complained that the ads sent negative messages to women who postpone having children for the sake of their careers, and thus risk infertility.

Undeterred by NOW's nastiness, ASRM tried again. This time around, its representatives tried to buy ads in shopping malls and movie theaters in Washington, Boston, Houston and San Francisco. But Viacom Outdoor Inc., which, according to its corporate overview, "operates approximately 117,000 bulletin poster mall and transit advertising display faces," was unable to place the ads. Purportedly, this was because mired-in-an-economic-downturn mall managers didn't want the business. Meanwhile, theater operators apparently found ASRM's ads more offensive than anything in "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and less entertaining than "The Adventures of Pluto Nash."

Only fertile minds could do motherhood such knavery.

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