James Lovelock, the inventor of the Gaia hypothesis (that life on Earth functions as a complex system), has for years been an environmentalist’s pet scientist. Lately he made a few remarks that sounded skeptical to some, and now he’s turning into the skeptics’ pet. They should think again. Here’s what he says in The Guardian about skeptics:
They’ve got their own religion. They believe that the world was right before these damn people [the greens] came along and want to go back to where we were 20 years ago. That’s also silly in its own way. I don’t see how any true scientist could be either a believer or a denier. The term “sceptic” has been hijacked, too.
I could not agree more. I recently had a discussion with a friend who I understand to be skeptical about monetary valuation of nature. She answered “I’m not skeptical, I happen to have good arguments.” What have we come to now that “skepticism” has taken on the meaning “refusing to believe despite overwhelming evidence”?
Lovelock also makes some good remarks on environmentalism, shale gas, and climate change.