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,
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
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
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