Free Markets, Free People

College professor calls for jailing climate “deniers”

It never fails.  At some point, the mask slips among the “tolerant” members of academia and we are exposed to their real controlling and authoritarian face.  Over the past few weeks there have been two good examples of this.  At Harvard, we had senior Sandra Korn (“a joint history of science and studies of women, gender and sexuality concentrator”, whatever that might be) declare that academic freedom is an outdated concept and that “academic justice” is a much better concept:

In its oft-cited Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the American Association of University Professors declares that “Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results.” In principle, this policy seems sound: It would not do for academics to have their research restricted by the political whims of the moment.

Yet the liberal obsession with “academic freedom” seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has “full freedom” in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever “free” from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of “academic justice.” When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

Tolerance of ideas you don’t like or agree with?  Forget about it.  Instead, refuse to fund research that doesn’t conform to your agenda and we’ll call that “academic justice”.  Feel a little chill?

Now we have an assistant professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology who would like to see those who disagree with him on climate change put in jail.  Apparently freedom of thought and speech and the right to disagree are outdated concepts as well.  Eric Owens at the Daily Caller brings us up to date:

The professor is Lawrence Torcello. Last week, he published a 900-word-plus essay at an academic website called The Conversation.

His main complaint is his belief that certain nefarious, unidentified individuals have organized a “campaign funding misinformation.” Such a campaign, he argues, “ought to be considered criminally negligent.”

Torcello, who has a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, explains that there are times when criminal negligence and “science misinformation” must be linked. The threat of climate change, he says, is one of those times.

Throughout the piece, he refers to the bizarre political aftermath of an earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, which saw six scientists imprisoned for six years each because they failed to “clearly communicate risks to the public” about living in an earthquake zone.

“Consider cases in which science communication is intentionally undermined for political and financial gain,” the assistant professor urges.

“Imagine if in L’Aquila, scientists themselves had made every effort to communicate the risks of living in an earthquake zone,” Torcello argues, but evil “financiers” of a “denialist campaign” “funded an organised [sic] campaign to discredit the consensus findings of seismology, and for that reason no preparations were made.”

“I submit that this is just what is happening with the current, well documented funding of global warming denialism,” Torcello asserts.

No mention of the current, well documented funding of global warming alarmism (Al Gore, call your booking agent).  No mention of the science that counters many of the claims of alarmists. No mention of the unexplained 15 year temperature pause.  In fact, no mention of anything that might derail his argument.  But that’s par for the course among alarmists, and Torcello is certainly one of them.  And, as he makes clear, he will not tolerate deniers because they’re not only wrong, they’re criminals:

Torcello says that people are already dying because of global warming. “Nonetheless, climate denial remains a serious deterrent against meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis.”

As such, Torcello wants governments to make “the funding of climate denial” a crime.

“The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.”

Of course the reason he’s so upset is this new fangled thing called the internet has enabled anyone who is curious about the climate debate to actually see both sides of the argument layed out before them.   For the alarmists, that has inconveniently helped a majority of people realize that the science behind the alarmism is weak at best and fraudulent in some cases.  It has also helped them understand that the alarmist science that Torcello wants enshrined as “truth” was gathered from deeply flawed computer models and fudged data.  And, it has also let the voices of dissenting scientists be heard.  Finally, this ability for the public to weigh the arguments has found most of the public viewing climate change as a minor problem at best.

Torcello would like to make all of that a crimnal activity based simply on his belief that the alarmist argument is the accurate argument.  He’d jail the heretics and deny the public the opposing argument.  This is what you’re reduced to when you have no real scientifically based counter-arugment and are just pushing a belief.

The Torcellos of the world once tried to do this to a man named Gallileo.  And we know how that worked out.

It is always easy to wave away those like Torcello and claim they’re an anomoly.  But it seems we see more and more of them popping up each day.  The struggle to gain and maintain freedom is a daily struggle.  It is the Torcellos and the Korns of the world who would – for your own good, of course – be happy to help incrementally rob you of your freedoms.  They must be called out each and every time they do so and exposed for what they are.


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26 Responses to College professor calls for jailing climate “deniers”

  • But . . . But . . . But, it’s for the children!!!

    • Lawrence Torcello received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University at Buffalo in 2006. His research interests include ethical theory and applied ethics, social and political philosophy, moral pluralism, and skepticism … which, apparently, he abhors.

      • I must note here that through a series of odd events, I once randomly met a Phd in Philosophy outside my bank.  He was working as a carpenter because his Phd in Philosophy was “nearly worthless.”

    • Polar bears daddy!!  The polar bears!!!!!!

  • It all just reduces to “HERESY!  BURN HIM/HER!” from the druids of the Warm-mongers.
    Ain’t no dogma like Collectivist dogma…cause it’s all sciency, duncha see…???

    • The man is calling for sedition.   Who died and made him King ?
      … but “deniers” ?  Oh please.

      Klaatu: You have faith, Professor Barnhardt?
      Barnhardt: It isn’t faith that makes good science, Mr. Klaatu, it’s curiosity. Sit down, please. There are several thousand questions I’d like to ask you.

  • This paper estimates the impact of climate change on the prevalence of criminal activity in the United States. The analysis is based on a 30-year panel of monthly crime and weather data for 2997 US counties. I identify the effect of weather on monthly crime by using a semi-parametric bin estimator and controlling for state-by-month and county-by-year fixed effects. The results show that temperature has a strong positive effect on criminal behavior, with little evidence of lagged impacts. Between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States.”
    Of course, this COULD happen.  But, so could a unicorn spring out of my head, full grown.

    • People don’t hang outside much when its 20 below.  Going to have an effect on certain categories of crime.

  • Come on, admit it all:  When you heard of this you know you thought of a college in Maine.  

    • Having said that Crimea should…and should not….become part of Russia, I’m sure he’ll tackle climate change again if it becomes more visible in the news.   Meanwhile, expect him to seethe quietly that we are prepared to sacrifice his children to satisfy our ignorant denier faith.

      • So Erp played both sides of that, I assume while he was predicting Obama’s reaction?

        • He started out thinking it was bad, then it was “all for the best”, and then finally, it showed Putin was really weak.


          That last bit explains why Putin keeps going over to Obama’s house, sleeping on his couch and eating Obama’s meals, wearing John Kerry’s bathrobe and swimming in his pool,  because, uh, Putin is weak.

          The whole WORLD sees that, of course, and everyone recognizes how strong Obama is….

          Well, something roughly like that.

  • My message to Mr. Torcello and others like him:
    If you feel strong, make your move.

  • Time to require that philosophy PhDs take a full year of science and calculus. Would cut down on the number of clueless ones

    • I was surprised to learn that philosophy graduate work is now very math-intensive.  Seemed sorta counter-intuitive to me, but there it is…

    • The other classes would make NO difference. I’d bet a months pay the Prof is Kantian/Hegelian/Existentialist.

  • The Warmists have lost the debate, so now they’re desperate to draw weapons.

    • “so now they’re desperate to draw weapon”
      Oh, THAT should be entertaining.
      Carrot or celery sticks…carefully NOT held like guns or bows and arrows of course….at thirty paces is it?
      or…..maybe…..they’ll use sarcasm….they know all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and….satire….they’ll be vicious.

  • A professor who is a thug is merely a thug with a sheepskin, just like a criminal with a badge and a gun is a criminal with a tin shield.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look of misery and dejection on the face of my daughter as I just did a moment ago. She just couldn’t understand why Gaia would undermine the efforts of fellow Warm Earthers. “Even my Grandpa?” she asked pitifully.

    I sat down with her on the sofa and (as calmly as I could) tried to explain to her why Gaia has rushed to judgment and besmirched the good name of every Warm Earther, past and present. “And yes honey, even Grandpa”, I was forced to say.
    I tried to keep my voice steady, but it became increasingly difficult – the rage and feelings of helplessness were just too much. I think my daughter could tell something was wrong. I found myself at such a loss for words – nothing made any sense; nothing makes sense anymore. I finally had to admit, “Honey, I just don’t know – I don’t know what’s going on in this planet anymore…”
    When I finished her lower lip started to tremble and her eyes began to fill with tears, “Daddy” she said, “why is Gaia doing this to the planet ?” Well, that was it for me: I finally fell apart. She just fell into my arms and we both began sobbing for several minutes.

    For once she had to comfort me and get me back on my feet. Sometimes I just think it’s too much, but seeing the strength in my young daughter’s voice helped me to get through.

  • This Tortello guy is a philosopher so I’m trying to reproduce his bizarre logic.

    For example:  ‘Misinformation about climate is criminally negligent.
    There are those who fund climate misinformation. Therefore those who
    fund climate misinformation are criminally negligent.’ ….No that’s not

    How about:  ‘Misinformation about climate is criminally negligent.
    Everyone provides climate misinformation from time to time. Therefore
    everyone is criminally negligent from time to time.’ …No that’s not valid

    Can someone help me out here?