Desperate Global Warming Alarmists Demand Criminal Prosecution of Skeptics
Written by Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
RICO: For years, some advocates of the position that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming have also falsely claimed that the science is settled.
Included in these claims are highly questionable claims that 97% of the scientists concur with this view. Now, twenty climate scientists have written to the President and the US Attorney General requesting legal prosecution of those who publically disagree with their views.
The legal actions they are proposing fall under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. The act was designed to combat organized crime and makes a person who instructs criminal action taken by others guilty of the crime. In short, the individuals who wrote the letter are stating that anyone who does not agree with their views is guilty of a crime – racketeering.
This action is a clear display of the illogical thinking by some of those in the largely, publically-financed Climate Establishment whose vanity exceeds the rigor of their work. Rather than producing compelling physical evidence that human emissions of CO2 are causing dangerous global warming, they will compel others to publically think as they do by legal action. In effect, they are undermining their own position and their action illustrates that simply because some people trained as scientists believe X that does not make belief in X scientific.
The evidence these individuals cite demonstrates their lack of critical thinking. For example, they cite the Merchants of Doubt, a book with extensive accusations against four distinguished scientists, but little documented evidence. The authors present no documented evidence that those accused took money from tobacco companies in exchange for suppressing evidence that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer.
This lack of evidence by the authors, Oreskes and Conway, who claim to be historians of science, can be easily seen in other imaginative claims, such as everyone was aware of the economic weakness of the Soviet Union long before it fell. The authors fail to note a major controversy in US economics profession during the 60s, 70s, and 80s was the economic strength of the Soviet Union.
Nobel Laurate Paul Samuelson, author of the highly influential textbook, Economics, later joined by William Nordhaus, argued that the military and space accomplishments of the Soviet Union were compelling evidence that the Soviet economy was comparable to that of the United States, and an example of the success of a centrally planned economy. Others disagreed, claiming that the Soviet military was strong, but the economy was weak. To maintain a strong military, the Soviet Union required far greater government spending in relation to the gross national product than the US. President Reagan accepted the second position, and sought to build up the US military to confront the economic weakness of the Soviet Union, which would try to match it. The issue was not the military strength, but the economic strength to maintain a strong military.
In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway distort the issue, falsely claiming that three of the four scientists accused in the book exaggerated the military strength of the Soviet Union, which was not the issue at all. A simple check of the economics textbooks of the period show Oreskes and Conway misrepresent the issue.
The absurdity of the RICO accusations by the 20 individuals with scientific training (the 20) is increased by their citing political support by Sheldon Whitehouse, a senator from Rhode Island. Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations was founded by Roger Williams, who left England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony to seek religious freedom. Massachusetts, the “American Experiment” was considered to be founded on the idea of religious freedom. However, Williams was tried for his independent thinking in Salem, Massachusetts, and was banished. Apparently, Senator Whitehouse wishes to continue the concept of “freedom of thought for me, but not for thee.”