The Intersection

Important Blogroll Addition

Last week, when I was hanging out at the AAAS meeting in San Francisco, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a long time: New York Times columnist John Tierney. Tierney isn’t someone who I know particularly well, but I did write a long profile of him many years ago for The American Prospect magazine. That was back when I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears political reporter. Even then, though, I was oddly fascinated by Tierney’s techno-progressive optimism about science and technology. We called the piece “Libertarian Rhapsody,” which I still think is a great title.

Meanwhile, over the intervening years Tierney has become a Times op-ed columnist–before he was a Metro columnist–as well as one of our fellow science bloggers with the newly launched Tierney Lab. His take, I think you’ll find, is often conservative and contrarian but always thoughtful, never knee-jerk. He’s the kind of voice that, regretfully, we really seem to lack here at ScienceBlogs. It’s a wonderful site we’ve got, but not very diverse politically, which is a real handicap.

So, in an effort to redress that, I’ve added Tierney Lab to the blogroll. I hope you’ll check it out, and when you do so, try not to get too angry at me for directing you there….


  1. #1 John Wilkins
    February 27, 2007

    Don’t make too many political assumptions about the Science Bloggers. I’m liberal, as you Americans call it, on some things and conservative on others. On yet others they don’t have a name for what I think…

  2. #2 Chris Mooney
    February 27, 2007

    You know, you’re right, I put that badly. There is probably a fair amount of political diversity here, but we always seem to be in radical agreement on everything, is I guess what I’m saying….I still don’t think we have anyone like Tierney, but then, he’s sort of one-of-a-kind….

  3. #3 Roger
    February 27, 2007

    The problem with Tierney is that he is ultimately an idealogue, and, as a result, dishonest in his writing when it serves his ultimate purpose. A little use of Google will turn up lots of examples, but here’s a particularly egregious lapse from his infamous recycling column.

    [Tierney] cited our data indicating that, on average, making recycled newsprint uses 36% more water than making virgin newsprint (5,000 additional gallons of water per ton of newsprint produced). What the author didn’t mention, however, was that data from the same study demonstrate major advantages to recycled newsprint in every other category of environmental impact examined: energy use, air emissions and solid waste generation.

    When Tierney’s libertarian objectives align with the science, for example, medical marijuana, he’s better. When they’re in conflict, expect to get a very slanted, if not outright disingenuous, presentation.

    Honest analysis of free market solutions to environmental problems? Absolutely. Situational support for environmentalism when it happens to align with laissez faire radicalism? No thank-you.


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