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Along with many economists, I suffered for years from physics envy. I wished that economists could bring to their subject the rigour and the focus on falsifiable experiment which is characteristic of the natural sciences. But I’ve been cured. The Bj?rn Lomborg affair has played a large role in the cure.

Lomborg is a Danish statistician, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a polemical attack on what he calls “the litany”-a collection of widely disseminated claims about environmental deterioration. Lomborg’s book was published in Britain at about the same time as EO Wilson’s The Future of Life. The two books,…

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