Academic Defends Greener Faith

, Roger S. Gottlieb, Leave a comment

(A philosophy professor who authored a book we reviewed responds to the review that we posted.—ed.)

Thanks for having my book (A Greener Faith) reviewed.

But gee whiz, don’t your reviewers read the books they review?

Now let’s be clear: I’m a socialist, you guys are at the opposite end of the political spectrum. So I understand why you’d dislike my policy recommendations. I’m also not too surprised that you write as if thousands of scientists aren’t talking about the environmental crisis the same way I am. You think I’m a dopey alarmist, I think you guys are in big time Denial.

But I draw the line at out and out obvious distortion.

Your review says I believe that:

The Catholic church should treat politicians who “gut” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the same as it does those who support abortion; “CEOs of clear-cutting logging companies or pesticide manufacturers” should be “turned away by religious institutions.”

Yet all I did was raise those as possibilities. About a page further on I write:

Still, this may be a good thing. In the end thundering, self-righteous denunciations of polluters, despite the difference between them and ordinary citizens, will probably not work. After all, the self-righteous denouncers, we know, are also parts of the problem. The priest who watches the Playboy Channel must treat Hugh Hefner with compassion; and the ministers who drive to work rather than using a bike must admit to their own failings even as they argue against low-mileage cars, tax breaks for the auto industry, and too little government support for public transportation.

It would be nice if you would post this correction on the web site. At the very least, please share this with the reviewer, in hopes that s/he won’t do this sort of thing again.

I imagine you take your politics, and your intellectual integrity, seriously. Some kind of action would seem to be warranted here.

Roger S. Gottlieb is a Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.