Scientists who don’t believe in catastrophic man-made global warming should be put in prison, a US philosophy professor argues on a website funded by the UK government.
Lawrence Torcello – assistant professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, writes in an essay at The Conversation that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”. (H/T Bishop Hill)
The Conversation – no relation of Breitbart’s blogging chatroom – is a website promoting articles by academics and funded by nineteen of Britain’s leading universities, as well as several government agencies, including the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE) and the Higher Education Funding Council For Wales (HEFCW) and Research Council UK.
Its motto is “Academic rigour, journalistic flair” – both qualities which are mysteriously absent from Torcello’s essay, titled “Is Misinformation About The Climate Criminally Negligent?”
Torcello notes that after the earthquake that devastated l’Aquila, Italy in 2009, six Italian seismologists were jailed for six years for having failed properly to communicate the nature of the threat to the public. The same fate should befall climate denialists, he suggests, because they stand in the way of the “meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis.”
Consider cases in which science communication is intentionallyundermined for political and financial gain. Imagine if in L’Aquila,scientists themselves had made every effort to communicate the risks ofliving in an earthquake zone. Imagine that they even advocated for ascientifically informed but costly earthquake readiness plan.
If those with a financial or political interest in inaction hadfunded an organised campaign to discredit the consensus findings ofseismology, and for that reason no preparations were made, then many ofus would agree that the financiers of the denialist campaign werecriminally responsible for the consequences of that campaign. I submitthat this is just what is happening with the current, well documented funding of global warming denialism.
Waving aside what he calls “misguided” concerns about “free speech”, Torcello argues that these “denialist” scientists are not misinforming the public by accident. Rather, he says, it is their intentional aim because they are “politically and financially motivated.”
As evidence of this, Torcello links to an article he found in the Guardian reporting the supposed leak of documents from the Heartland Institute, apparently revealing a concerted campaign funded by Big Oil interests, aimed at “dissuading teachers from teaching science.”
Torcello appears not to be aware that the documents quoted in the article had in fact been doctored or faked by an environmental activist (climate scientist and Macarthur genius award recipient) Peter Gleick.
Gleick subsequently apologised for his “lapse” and, despite having set back the cause of climate alarmism through his dishonesty, deception and ineptitude (his forgeries were described by one commentator thus: “Basically it reads like it was written from a secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern.”), Gleick was hailed as a hero in the liberal media.
Daily Kos called him a “hero scientist”; the LA Times claimed his actions were “directly from the denialists’ playbook”; and, according to Scientific American, Gleick’s lie was clearly moral because his cause was just.
Torcello, however, would go one step further than merely smearing “denialist” scientists with lies and forged documents. Apparently, only the slammer is good enough for them.
What are we to make of those behind the well documented corporatefunding of global warming denial? Those who purposefully strive to makesure “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information“is given to the public? I believe we understand them correctly when weknow them to be not only corrupt and deceitful, but criminally negligentin their willful disregard for human life. It is time for modernsocieties to interpret and update their legal systems accordingly.