Burning Climate Skeptics at the Stake

Ronald Bailey makes a plea for free scientific inquiry in response to Dave Roberts proposal vis a vis climate skeptics.  Mr. Roberts said, in part:

When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the
impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to
minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these
bastards"‚ÄĚsome sort of climate Nuremberg

Oh goody, yet another reason I will be put up against the wall come the progressive revolution.  I would give Mr. Roberts a helpful suggestion:  A better analog for prosecuting people over their scientific beliefs would be the Catholic Church's various attempts to stamp out heresy, including their prosecution of Galileo for his views that the earth orbits around the sun, rather than vice-versa.

My views on the reasonable skeptical middle ground on climate change here. (and more here)

Besides, I would argue that progressives like Mr. Roberts willful ignorance of the science of economics has been far more destructive than potential scientific misreadings of global warming.

  • Rob

    Ahhh... "victimless crimes", Like your blog that progressives want to limit
    the debate on global climate (err... warming); Progressives want to limit these consentual decisions.

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2006/10/burning_climate.html

    I still believe that it comes from people's lack of understanding
    about complex adaptive systems (CAS, which I would define society as one).
    In the minds of people (progressives being a big culprit), everything is a zero-sum game.
    So, it's impossible to have a "victimless crime" because my behavior is going
    to have an effect on society no matter what I do(whether I use a drug, sex with a dog, use "bad" words, etc.).
    Of course, these people want to cut down on the negative effects on society.

    So, what are these negative effects, well... it's up to them. (they know more than everyone else)
    In addition, to progressives, society is a higher being and must be controlled (by gov't or by the one's who know more).
    And because you are part of society, you must be controlled since your actions impact society.

    Also stemming from the same viewpoint is the concept that society IS an individual.
    So, doing something which has a negative effect on society is going to have a bad effect
    for others, and therefore is a crime against another. (We define negative by using the word bad)

    Unfortunately, bad individual choices aren't a crime against others via the indirect
    path through society. A CAS functions by having bad decisions, it's through bad
    decisions that the good, viable ones emerge.

    So, some people might go have sex with dogs, but others are going to find it disgusting.
    When the overall population moves towards it being a bad decision, then this
    behavior will not be reinforced. Hey, one day.... having sex with dogs might
    be the "cool" thing to do, and that will be the day I know I'm "old-fashioned".

    But, then who knows (besides progressives), if having sex with dogs might
    have some unforseen benefit for humankind?

  • http://noumignon.livejournal.com/ Noumenon

    I would give Mr. Roberts a helpful suggestion: A better analog for prosecuting people over their scientific beliefs would be the Catholic Church's various attempts to stamp out heresy, including their prosecution of Galileo for his views that the earth orbits around the sun, rather than vice-versa.

    That analogy might work for you, and your personal scientific beliefs, but it is not a good analogy for the people that Roberts was actually referring to in his post. The Philip Morris executives who wrote, "Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report," hired a public-relations company called APCO, and implemented its recommendations to create "independent" climate-change skeptic groups like the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition -- those people are not good analogues to Galileo. Their beliefs were not scientific beliefs. (Assuming you believe The Guardian's reporting on this, which I don't necessarily, but Roberts did.)

    When Roberts apologized for his statement (note that it was not the thesis statement to anything, just a tossed-off finisher to a short blog post), he suggested a more appropriate analogy than Galileo. Not Nuremberg, of course, because he doesn't even believe in capital punishment, and doesn't really even want to see the tobacco execs prosecuted. What he thinks would have been more appropriate would be something like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to make sure we come to terms with what he thinks will be a dark chapter in our history.