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Articles by E. O. Wilson

A Harvard professor for four decades, biologist Edward O. Wilson has written 20 books, won two Pulitzer prizes, and discovered hundreds of new species.

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My greatest regret about the Lomborg scam is the extraordinary amount of scientific talent that has to be expended to combat it in the media. We will always have contrarians like Lomborg whose sallies are characterized by willful ignorance, selective quotations, disregard for communication with genuine experts, and destructive campaigning to attract the attention of the media rather than scientists. They are the parasite load on scholars who earn success through the slow process of peer review and approval. The question is: How much load should be tolerated before a response is necessary? Lomborg is evidently over the threshold.

Lomborg’s estimate of extinction rates is at odds with the vast majority of respected scholarship on extinction. His estimate, “0.7 percent over the next 50 years” — or 0.014 percent per year — is an order of magnitude smaller than the most conservative species extinction rates by authorities in the field. Here is my brief response to the analysis of extinction rates in The Skeptical Environmentalist.

Before humans existed, the species extinction rate was (very roughly) one species per million species per year ... Read more