Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Ridicule over reason?

July 4, 2001


To the editor:

Your article in Sunday's paper about Lee Gerhard's and William Harrison's recent book about global warming was very timely and useful. Thank you for printing this.

Although I have not read their book and do not know them personally, the fact that they are scientists associated with the Kansas Geological Survey suggests to me that their views probably deserve at least some consideration.

I was, therefore, surprised to read in your article the reaction from a Mark Helm, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization, who laughed when you asked him about the book. You quoted him as saying that the authors conclusions were meant to support the petroleum industry. Helm suggested that the authors were hacks "who started out to prove what they wanted to prove."

Certainly we know that Mark Helm is a paid spokesperson for a lobbying organization. We do not know whether he has any scientific background or credentials. But the authors of this book do.

It appears that Mr. Helm is himself guilty of the crimes he ascribes to others. He is the lobbyist. He is the person who accepts money to present a single point of view, not Lee Gerhard, William Harrison and their collegue Bernold Hanson who did not receive any support from the petroleum industry, as Helm suggests.

Mr. Helm seems to believe that ridicule can trump reason. He seems to believe that because he accepts money to say what people tell him to, that everyone does. He seems to feel that scientists should not have the right to come to conclusions which he has already determined do not fit the world view he wants to impose. If there is anybody who seems to be trying to prove what they want to prove, regardless of the facts, it may be Mr. Helm and the lobbying groups he represents.

Thanks to the Journal-World for publishing this article, and thanks to Lee Gerhard and William Harrison for writing "Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change."

Arly Allen,


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