The Denial of Science: A review.

A review of the recently published book by Martin Lack.

denial of science

In many ways it would be terribly easy to find fault with this book. If it had been written as a book, been through the edits that a new book requires, then published, those faults would be a significant criticism.

But it was not written as a book! It was originally written as an academic text.  As Martin explains in the Preface:

This book is based on research originally undertaken – and a dissertation written – as part of my MA in Environmental Politics from Keele University in Staffordshire (in 2010-2011).

Then in the following paragraph goes on to say:

Academics generally disapprove of the publication of academic research via non-academic, non-peer-reviewed routes.  However, I am trying to reach more than just an academic audience.

Three sentences later:

However, this book retains many of the features of a piece of academic research, …. (All quotes from page viii of the preface)

To a person unaccustomed to reading academic research, as is this reader, the structural and presentational differences between a ‘normal’ non-fiction book and a dissertation are significant.  That needs to be borne in mind as you turn to page one.

OK, now that I have got that off my chest, on to the substance of the review.

Turning to the outside back cover, one sees Martin clearly explaining that the book is not about climate science, rather an analysis of why some people dispute “the reality, reliability and reasonableness of this science.”

That alone justifies the work that Martin put into his research and dissertation and his subsequent decision to adapt his findings into a book.

The pace and scale of the changes that are being visited on Planet Earth is truly frightening.  The number of feedback loops that we are locked into now don’t even bear thinking about.  Just take the continuing and accelerating loss of the Arctic ice-cap and extrapolate that for a couple of decades (touched on in my recent post More new tomorrows and see footnote.)

We are not talking of subtle changes over many generations. We are talking about irreversible and irrevocably massive changes to our environment within the lifetimes of just about every living person on this planet.  (I’m 70 next year and while I have no idea how many years I have left, I rate it as at least 50:50 that before I take my last breath, the coming destruction of biosphere will be blindingly obvious to me, Jean and 99.9% of the world’s population.)

Makes me want to shout out ……

There is not much time left to leave a sustainable world for future generations.  Come on politicians and power-brokers; start acting as though you truly understand the urgency of the situation!

Ah, that feels much better!

Back to the book!

Martin examines 5 categories that display denial behaviours, to a greater or lesser extent.  These categories are: Organisations; Scientists, Economists, Journalists and Politicians. Oh, and a 6th catch-all category: Others.

Each section dealing with a category is structured in the same way: Preliminary Research; Key Findings and Summary.  Tables are used extensively to allow easy review of the findings.

Again, what needs to be hammered out is that this format is very unlike a typical non-fiction book.  Because it’s fundamentally an academic dissertation!  But, so what!

What is important is for the widest possible audience to understand the breadth and extent of the denial going on.  Denial that is, literally, playing with the future of humanity on this planet; the only home we have.

Let me reinforce that last sentence by picking up on what Martin writes on his closing page (p.76):

Furthermore, there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that this scepticism is being fuelled by those with a vested interest in the continuance of “business as usual” by seeking to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of ACD.

Martin Lack’s book may be unconventional in many ways.  But as a tool to show how those who deny the science of climate change deny the right of future millions to live in a sustainable manner, it is most powerful.  It is a valuable reference book that should be in every library and every secondary school across the globe!

The Denial of Science is published by AuthorHouse 02/23/2013

oooOOOooo

Footnotes:

  1. To add weight to the points made in this review, do look in on tomorrow’s post.
  2. I have no commercial links to Martin Lack; indeed, I purchased the copy of the book that I used for this review.

13 thoughts on “The Denial of Science: A review.

  1. Due to our greed, selfishness, we’re paying the consequences of them. Though we live longer, but we didn’t or don’t live healthier!

  2. Thank you for insisting on buying the book yourself, Paul. Your honest and integrity shine through in this review. Many thanks for taking the time to write it. I promise that my next book will be different. If you do decide to post this as a review on Authorhouse.com or Amazon.com, you may want to omit the stuff that is more a call to arms than a review of my book (but is brilliant all the same). The quickest way to find The Denial of Science on any online bookstore is by using its ISBN 9781481783972. Should be available in electronic form (for 3GBP/4.5USD) soon.

    1. Martin, I won’t be reposting this anywhere else. But if you want to link to my post you are most welcome. Offers to republish this in full may be made via email. Note the ‘in full’.

      1. Because I am genuinely grateful for it, I have already posted a link to this review on the book’s Facebook page. For the avoidance of any doubt, I was not suggesting you should edit what you’ve written here; nor was I complaining about any of it.

        I am disappointed that you feel unable or unwilling to post a copy of this review on Amazon but, I also appreciate that this was probably always going to be hassle you don’t need at the moment. Therefore, once again, there are no complaints from me.

  3. Your integrity is tops Paul. The book sounds fascinating and I will get an electronic copy when it comes out. I will enjoy the academic part as that is my background and I like to see the sources. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  4. “But as a tool to show how those who deny the science of climate change deny the right of future millions to live in a sustainable manner, it is most powerful.”

    Oh brother what crap, the deniers do nothing of the kind. They do not deny the right of future millions to live in a sustainable manner. I’m a denier and I encourage you to live in a sustainable manner. If you want to build wind turbines in your backyard, eat tofu or buy carbon offsets go ahead, knock yourself out. Just don’t legislate me into paying for it, and don’t ram your alarmist dogma down my throat thank you very much.

    Deniers simply think the alarmist belief is wrong, and the best part is how easily the science collapses under even the most cursory examination. The recent Sean Marcott paper is just another example.

    You know, I just might buy a copy of Marty’s book. Even though he has banned me from his blog.

    cheers

    1. Klem,

      Will you do me a favour and offer a little bit of your background? Plus I would be delighted if you could give some examples of where the ‘science collapses’.

      I vehemently disagree with your position, yet, in those famous words, will go to my grave defending your right to express your opinions.

      That is if you genuinely believe what you are saying, are not in the pay of those that profit from the excessive use of carbon-based fuels, and can be gentlemanly in your comments.

      Regards to you, Paul
      p.s. you are aware that this blog is not about climate change, aren’t you?

    2. Oh brother what crap, the deniers do nothing of the kind. They do not deny the right of future millions to live in a sustainable manner.

      Well, yes, in reality, deniers do do exactly this, by misinforming the public, by ignoring the precautionary principle, and successfully urging delay on matters of huge import to all of humanity.

      I’m a denier and I encourage you to live in a sustainable manner. If you want to build wind turbines in your backyard, eat tofu or buy carbon offsets go ahead, knock yourself out. Just don’t legislate me into paying for it…

      There’s the crunch. It sounds ever so fair and reasonable: you don’t want to pay for something you choose not to do; and yet you have no qualms at all expecting everyone else to pay for your choice.

      Thank you, so much, for your incalculable contribution to the destruction of our shared home.

      1. So you don’t have strong opinions with respect to Klem’s earlier comment? 😉

        Seriously, thank you for that reply; 100% on the mark so far as I am concerned. Nonetheless, still hoping for a moderately rational follow-up from Klem.

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