The book has nine chapters. Seven of these contain general considerations on the relations between science, politics, and policies. What is of interest to Pielke is not the eventual truth of what a scientist says; his only interest is what policies result from the scientist's argumentation. To Pielke, it is OK for a scientist to be an issue advocate, i.e. to argue for a distinct political agenda - actually he does not reject the possibility that there could be two sets of scientists, viz. republican scientists and democratic scientists, because all science has political connotations (p. 93) . The best is, of course, to be `an honest broker' (as hinted at by the title of the book). The worst, however, is to postulate that you are a neutral scientist, when in fact you are a `stealth issue advocate'. Pielke criticizes the `linear model of science', according to which basic science is the prerequisite for applied science, which in turn is the prerequisite for formulation of policies. This line of thinking encourages the mapping of political interests onto science, i.e. it leads to a politicization of science, he says. But Pielke does not explain very well why this would happen, and he does not give us any useful presentation of any better alternative.
The points are then illustrated in two chapters dealing with concrete cases. One chapter is about what information was available on weapons of mass destruction when president Bush jr. decided to initiate the second Iraq war. This chapter is rather short and superficial and tells nothing that we do not all know. And then, one chapter (20 pages) deals with the criticism of Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. This chapter appears as the cornerstone of the whole argumentation. This is evident from the title of that chapter: "When scientists politicize science", and what he describes in that chapter, is something called `pathological politicization of science' (p. 129). Those who are guilty of this, are all those who criticize Lomborg. These are the persons who serve to illustrate all what Pielke dislikes.
Pielke cites a reader's letter from John Holdren, professor of environmental and resource science, who defends his criticism of Lomborg with the words: "To expose this pastiche of errors and misrepresentations was not a political act but a scientific duty." Pielke uses this statement as a departing point for the following argumentation : Lomborg supports a distinct policy. When Holdren argues against Lomborg, then it shows that Holdren tries to fight against that policy, which means that Holdren is out in a political business. So, although Holdren says that his actions were not politically motivated, but a scientific duty, Pielke refuses to believe him on his word. To Pielke, scientific truth is irrelevant, and when Holdren says that he defends scientific truth, then Holdren is actually doing the opposite, he is carrying out political lobbyism.
Pielke also cites the subtitle of the Scientific Americans theme issue against Lomborg from January 2002, "Science defends itself against The Skeptical Enviromentalist"". His comments to this (p. 129) are that " . . because particular scientific results compel certain actions and not others, there is little reason to distinguish science from politics. Consequently, the following subtitle would thus have been synonymous, "Our political perspective defends itself against the political agenda of The Skeptical Environmentalist" but it would have carried with it far less authority than masking politics in the cloth of science."
Pielke is completely oblivous of the possibility that maybe Lomborg's postulates are not true, and that maybe Lomborg deliberately distorts the evidence in order to seduce and mislead his readers. This, on the other hand, is the understanding that forms the basis of the Lomborg-errors web site, which demonstrates more than 500 concrete errors and flaws in Lomborg's books, of which about 100 are deliberate attempts to mislead people. From that understanding, it is obvious that there must be somebody who correct the errors, and that it is a scientific duty to point them out.
Pielke's interpretation, on the other hand, demands that such a thing as scientific truth does not exist. There may be a `democratic truth' and a `republican truth', but no single truth. If this conception becomes more widely accepted, then it will be the death of science as we know it. The whole idea behind science is to seek `the truth' and to apply a certain code of conduct in this search. If there is no single truth, then there can be no science. So, in his attempts to defend Lomborg, Pielke goes so far that he is willing to kill science and to postulate that science is just a peculiar form of politics.
Altogether, Pielke turns everything upside down. Chronic liars are presented as honest, and those who try to reveal dishonesty, are presented as culprits.
Not only in the Lomborg chapter, but in the whole book, Pielke's argumentation is unprecise, sloppy, and not very convincing. What Pielke performs, is actually `stealth issue advocacy' in the cloth of social science.