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Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future Hardcover – August 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1559634830 ISBN-10: 1559634839 Edition: First & Conta

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; First & Conta edition (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559634839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559634830
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,638,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb and a professor of biological studies at Stanford, and Anne Ehrlich, also at Stanford, are angered by what they perceive as deliberate efforts to subvert media interest in pressing environmental issues. They suggest that the planet is in real peril from overpopulation, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, and loss of biodiversity, and that each of these threats is confirmed by solid scientific research. And yet, they suggest, these once-hot media issues have been diminished in the public imagination by a determined backlash from anti-environmental groups. What riles the Ehrlichs is that this discrediting of the work of serious biologists has been achieved through pseudoscientific counter evidence--often the output of some politically motivated foundation--examples of which the authors methodically examine and refute.

From Publishers Weekly

"The time has come to write a book about efforts being made to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems." With that opening sentence, the authors (The Stork and the Plow) take on what they see as the purveyors of environmental disinformation. In a lively style, they systematically dismantle claims allegedly made in recent books?by the likes of Gregg Easterbrook, Stephen Budiansky, Rush Limbaugh, Dixy Lee Ray and Julian Simon?that global warming is fiction, ozone depletion should be of no concern and that the earth can support many times its current population. Chapters cover population growth, food supply, natural resources, species diversity, toxic substances, global warming and economics. In each, direct quotations from the anti-environmentalists named above are presented, dissected and refuted. With ample documentation and a great deal of input from some of the world's most renowned environmental scientists, such as Stephen Schneider, Peter Raven and Nobel laureate Sherwood Roland, the overall effect is powerful. 25,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book should be essential reading in the curriculum of all undergraduate biology classes. However, I should initially say that it is patently obvious that none of the readers below who have attacked the book or the authors have even bothered to read it, to digest its message, and to evaluate the significance of its content. At present, a largely uninformed society is being bombarded with more anti-environmental rhetoric than at any time in human history, in books, magazine articles, by right-wing radio show pundits, on television, and, more recently, over the internet, and we have to ask ourselves, why.
Like Paul and Anne, I am a senior scientist, an ecologist, whose research focuses on understanding the link between micro-evolutionary, largely 'stochastic' processes occurring over small scales, and emergent, homeostatic poperties, operating at much larger spatial and temporal scales. Consider that our species is simplifying natural systems worldwide with staggering and worrying efficiency, through the combined activities of paving, ploughing, damming, dredging, slashing and burning, logging, dousing in persistent organic pollutants, alteration the carbon and nitrogen cycles, co-opting much of primary production, and ultimately threatening the sustainability of systems upon which we are utterly dependent for our survival.
Whether we like to admit it or not, ecosystems and the species they contain generate the conditions which nurture life and humanity, though the services the freely provide us.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Monica Rix Paxson on October 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book lines out important scientific findings about critical environmental problems such as global warming and dwindling bio-diversity. It carefully unravels the irrational "reasoning" of those who don't want to see what's wrong with the excesses of carbon dioxide and other factors that are likely to lead to major famines and economic instability. I have read a dozen books on the environment in the last few months. Although there are a number of very good ones, this is my favorite.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Paul and Ann Ehrlich have devoted their lives to promoting environmental understanding and influencing government policy. They have endured the scrutiny of their detractors with respect to dire predictions concerning population growth and the environment. They have made mistakes-- the most famous being their ill-conceived wager against Julian Simon concerning resource depletion. Many dismissed them out of hand after that debacle-- a testament to the human tendency towards oversimplification with regard to environmental understanding (Dr. Simon, as well, made rather absurd conclusions about humanity and the planet, which the Ehrlichs address in the book).
Despite what some have concluded, Paul Ehrlich is still a highly respected professor at one of the most prestigious universities in the United States (Stanford University). He and his wife, a prominent researcher in her own rite, continue accepting invitations to lecture at colleges and conventions around the world.
The book Paul and Ann have written, expresses the passion with which they've espoused their cause. Indeed, it is a passion that should be equaled by all the planet's inhabitants, whether we agree with the Ehrlichs or not. Yet one need only to take a quick look at the Internet to find the antagonistic nature of many so-called "environmental" websites-- something the Ehrlichs refer to as "brown-lash." Many are portrayed as "green" or "earth-friendly," yet dismissive of any suggestion that humankind has desecrated the earth.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In an age where Rush Limbaugh can sway millions with emotion-charged arguments based on misinterpretation of facts, this book should be required reading.
The authors--both scientists-- present the environmental facts, and the scientific community's consensus interpretation of the facts, in unambiguous and unequivocal terms. These facts just plain refute just about everything Rush and his kind have ever said about the state of the environment. Thank God for reason. Let's hope it's not too late.
The book's only shortcoming is that the people who need to read it most--average citizens--probably won't make it through because of its technical/scientific content and level of difficulty. So I am worried that the Erlichs are preaching to the saved. Perhaps a TV special on this topic would reach more of the critical audience??
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
As more and more people worldwide grow concerned about environmental problems, and have pressured governments to act on these problems, a countermovement has arisen, which claims that environmental problems are nonexistent, or at least exaggerated. Many claims of this "brownlash" movement are now common parts of public dialogue. Who hasn't heard views like these: "The US doesn't have a population problem--our population density is much less than countries like the Netherlands and they're doing all right." (Fact: the Netherlands can have a much higher population density since they import almost all their food, something obviously impossible for the whole world.) Or "Global warming is a myth. Satellite temperature records show the earth is actually cooling." (Fact: satellite temperature records are records of temperatures in the atmosphere, and cannot be directly compared with surface temperature records.)
In this thoroughly researched book, biologists and environmentalists Paul and Anne Ehrlich refute the above arguments and many others like them that come from the brownlash movement. A reader of this book will reach the end far better informed about the very serious environmental problems this planet faces. If they are like me, they will also be appalled at the flagrant dishonesty of the brownlashers--people like Ronald Bailey, Gregg Easterbrook, Julian Simon, S. Fred Singer, Dixy Lee Ray and many others seem to have no limits to the lows of deception and misrepresentation they are willing to plumb.
I highly recommend this book, especially to those who think that Dixy Lee Ray or Julian Simon are the last word on environmental problems.
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