The Optimist Activist

`Time is running out’ wrote two activists in Scientific American in August, `to limit acidification before it irreparably harms the food chain on which the world’s oceans – and people – depend.’

That's a quote taken directly from Matt Ridley's website and Times article which is used to suggest ocean acidification has been exaggerated. I didn't know Scientific American was biased by activism, shocking. Googling the quote finds the piece and the authors Carl Safina and Marah J. Hardt.  They do not describe themselves as  'activists',  the relevant point is they are more eminently qualified to write about the oceans than Matt Ridley . Both are PhDs, Hardt's is from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and both have won awards too numerous to mention. Matt Ridley neatly skips past all that, to him they are just 'activists'.
Matt Ridley likes to describe himself as the rational optimist. That's the title of his book and his website. Optimist yes, but how rational ? Perhaps the answer can be found by reading his paragraph 3

"The trouble is, a shoal of new scientific papers points to the conclusion that this scare is based on faulty biochemical reasoning, unrealistic experiments and exaggeration."

Dr Ridley cites three papers and it is clear this statement is opinion rather than fact. There is nothing wrong with having opinions but if he can't be honest about the weight to attach to the opinions of other scientists why should we attach any weight to Ridley's opinions? I've left a comment on Dr. Ridley's website that all this makes him an activist. He hasnt got back to me.

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