Until recently, all biologists were in agreement that a mass extinction is underway.

In an interview with CNN that aired on January 2, 2000, Thomas Lovejoy, chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank, said,

"There is unanimity in the community of biological scientists that this is happening. There really is no biologist who disagrees with this imminent crisis, there just isn't one."

However, in the past year, Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg became the first to publically challenge statistics used for several common environmental beliefs, including the numbers that supposedly show declining species. His book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, created an outcry in the scientific community. In response, scores of magazines, most recently including Scientific American, have devoted pages to challenging Lomborg's logic.

Bjørn Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, explains his dissenting opinion. Photo taken from his site, www.lomborg.com.In the May 2002 edition of Scientific American Lomborg writes, "I accept that we are causing species extinction at probably about 1,500 times the natural rate. But unlike the traditional environmentalist who feels we have to do whatever is needed to stop it, I also ask how big this means the problem is … The species loss caused by the real reduction in tropical forest (which I acknowledge in the book) will probably not continue beyond 2100."

As the first major public dissenter, Lomborg is stirring up controversy.

Still, most biology experts are blowing off his opinions. "Even where his statistical analyses are valid, his interpretations are frequently off the mark - literally not seeing the state of the forests for the number of trees for example," writes John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American in the January 2002 edition.

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