Leave it to a Brit to champion scientific debate

This is a bit of an old story by now. I noticed it around Christmas and didn’t think it was appropriate to bring up such a critical topic then. Anyway, I’m commenting on it now. I saw this on Slapstick Politics, “British Lord Chastises Sens. Rockefeller And Snowe Over Free Speech Denial”.

Background: Sens. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, and Olympia Snowe, a Republican sent a letter to ExxonMobil earlier demanding that they stop providing funds to groups that are skeptical of human-caused global warming, whom they called “deniers”, such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The term “deniers” has been circulating around, to smear the reputations of skeptics, who are deemed as equivalent to Holocaust deniers, a specious charge. I wrote about one of CEI’s campaigns here.

In response, Lord Monckton in the UK wrote an open letter to Sens. Rockefeller and Snowe. I excerpted quotes from the story on PR Newswire, below:

“You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to ‘senior elected and appointed government officials’ who disagree with your opinion.”

“Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, ‘obfuscate’ the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the ‘consensus’ argument and they compel necessary corrections … “

“You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate sceptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretence to uphold or cherish academic freedom.”

Concludes Lord Monckton, “I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call ‘disastrous’ and ‘calamitous’ consequences.”

The PR Newswire story went on to say:

Some voices on the political left have called for the arrest and prosecution of skeptical scientists. The British Foreign Secretary has said skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and must be denied access to the media.”

This is really getting to be too much. Calling skeptics “deniers” is harmful name-calling, but calling for the arrest and prosecution of skeptics is downright fascistic. And it appears the British Foreign Secretary is batty. To equate skeptical scientists with those who advocate “Islamic terror” is beyond the pale, and hypocritical. Just this past week A couple weeks ago Winston S. Churchill, the grandson of the famous PM of Britain said on Glenn Beck’s program on CNN:

CHURCHILL: Well, I`m not sure that history is repeating itself, but there are some of the same suspects around. I mean, just last week, the British Foreign Office issued an injunction to Mr. Blair and British ministers that they mustn`t anymore refer to the war on terror, because that might give offense to the Muslims.

(my emphasis in bold)

Just for your information, the Foreign Secretary is the head of the Foreign Office. So the Foreign Secretary feels comfortable using the term “Islamic terror” to smear the good names of skeptics who challenge global warming orthodoxy, but denies the ability of other government officials from using the term “War on Terror” when referring to our battle against the jihadists. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it, unless of course the Foreign Secretary has drunk the Kool Aid and believes that climate change is a greater threat to our existence than the jihadists.

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