From The Lomborg Deception:
From these and many similar statements, we can identify “Lomborg’s Theorem,” circa 2001, which asserts that the Earth and its environment are not threatened in any fundamental sense by human activity and, for the purposes of this volume, that man-made global warming is not the catastrophe that the environmental organizations claim. Lomborg’s book, with its illusion of serious scholarship, given the number of endnotes, was influential in the United States throughout the presidential tenure of George W. Bush, who held power during a critically important window of opportunity to reduce greenhouse emissions to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Probably more than any single published source, Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist marked global warming as a threat that was “exaggerated” by environmentalists, and helped justify the inaction on greenhouse emissions by the Bush administration and the Republican-led Congress in the United States. Lomborg’s influence was such that in 2004 Time named him one of the world’s one hundred most influential people.4
It’s not just that TED gave this guy a platform in 2005, a fact that, were TED a journal or a newspaper, would require a retraction.
It’s much bigger. It’s the culture that surrounds TED. Because the culture of TED is what allows people like Lomborg to have more influence than actual experts.
Why? The idea of TED is that you’re smart enough to get it in 10 minutes or less, and the story that TED-ites love (b/c it supports that narrative) is the story of someone outside the “industry” or research area coming in from another area and declaring at a glance what everyone has missed.
So we get economists talking about global warming, game designers talking about learning, techies talking about political gridlock, and choreographers talking about physics. It’s so simple, they tell us.
Ah, say the TED-sters — us outsiders to the system, we can all see what the insiders can’t! Salman Khan is an expert because he knows nothing about learning theory. Lomborg is worth listening to because he doesn’t know about climate science. And I’m probably an expert too!
Everyone is happy. Ten years later, the planet is destroyed, and there’s no going back, but at least everyone felt smart for a bit.