Saturday, June 20, 2015

More Global Warming Fascism: Australia

Academia is more and more intolerant, and one of the tenets of the new orthodoxy is the idea that there is global warming, that human activity is the main cause of it, that it has potentially catastrophic consequences, and that radical policies have to be immediately enacted to deal with it.

Dissenting from any one of these propositions can lead to demands that you be fired, silenced, shunned and banned from public discourse.

And this indeed is exactly what happened at the University of Western Australia, where a climate change “contrarian” named Bjorn Lomborg was banned and denied a job because of his views.

We frankly wonder whether something like this could happen at Marquette. While faculty of natural science departments are mostly not into race, gender and sexual orientation political correctness, there is a certain kind of science political correctness. The prevailing attitude is “we scientists have discovered the truth, and don’t you dare doubt what we say.”

A writer for Reason makes some points that people in academia used to understand, but increasingly appear not to:
Learning is a process of testing, discussion, submitting your ideas to debate and standing by them as the brickbats of disagreement and counter-argument come flying in. This is why academic freedom is so important: the liberty to think and speak and argue is the only real way of getting to the truth of a matter, and in the process boosting our understanding of the world.

In the Lomborg scandal, this process was circumvented. Lomborg’s center was pre-emptively denied the right to put its case in Australian academia, by “passionate emotional” protesters who think they already know The Truth on climate change: that it’s happening, it’s terrible, and we will only alleviate its worst impacts by putting restraints on humanity’s material aspirations.

This isn’t learning, far less academic freedom in action. Rather, it echoes the old, pre-modern view of a university as, in essence, a bookish guardian of ecclesiastical authority. Only now it’s eco-authority that is protected from intellectual poking and awkward analysis, ringfenced from ridicule just as surely as the pointy-hatted overseers of universities in the pre-Enlightenment era also ringfenced ideas that they just knew were true.

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6 Comments:

Blogger James Pawlak said...

We, the majority of scientists, know/knew: The Sun orbits around the Earth; Blood goes back and forth throughout the body and does NOT circulate; Women should feel pain during child birth as that is "natural"; Spare the rod and spoil the child (I am not writing about artificial insemination); Muslims waging jihad and other criminals obey the General/Natural Law of civilization. Etc..

Australia is a nation which first registered all modern arms owned by law-abiding citizens and then confiscated them---Without disarming criminals.

Tenured professors should have the power to decide if tenure systems should be continued.

I AM GOD!

3:29 PM  
Blogger KeynesianPacker said...

McAdams, the fact that you block comments from certain liberal colleagues while letting people like James Pawlak post at will refutes your claim that your blog is about academic freedom.

3:33 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

@KeynesianPacker

I've never blocked any comment from a Marquette colleague. I do block abusive posts sometimes.

2:08 PM  
Blogger James Pawlak said...

I add the following questions:
1. What caused the end of the last Ice Age when there were only a few, pre-industrial, humans on our Earth; And,
2. What caused the end of the penultimate Ice Age without any humans?

Mr. "Parker" is invited to address those questions AND provide scientific ("Valid and reliable", "with a high level of confidence", as validated by independent researchers "with no ax to grind" or, like Al Bore, no profit to make) that:
3. Humans have an appreciable impact on climate; And,
4. The recent global warming has not peaked out as it did at/after the Medieval Maximum.

5:52 PM  
Blogger KeynesianPacker said...

You've never blocked a comment from a Marquette colleague? I guess you should define "colleague."

3:29 PM  
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4:48 AM  

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