The Doomsday Bias
William Yeatman & Jeremy Lott on 2.25.09
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama took a dig at his backward predecessor by promising to “restore science to its rightful place” in America. So why, days before he was sworn in, did Obama choose a failed prophet of the apocalypse to become his most influential scientist?
Obama nominated Dr. John P. Holdren, the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, for chief White House Science Advisor. The Science Advisor’s job is to give impartial scientific analysis to the President on major federal policies.
Holdren’s particular brand of science is infected by what we can only call a doomsday bias. Over the past 40 years, he has warned of population-growth induced “ecocide,” “global cooling,” global warming due to heat dissipation from power plants, nuclear Armageddon, and — this week — “climate disruption” caused by increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases.