February 17 2011
Norman Pagett writes:
“Scientists who are working in Federal laboratories are being subjected to inquisitions emanating from Congress, there is no question that this is an orchestrated campaign to intimidate scientists.” Rick Piltz, director of advocacy group, Climate Science Watch.
In the seventeenth century the scientist Galileo pointed out that the earth moved around the sun, and was not actually at the centre of the cosmos, as was popularly believed. Instead of being hailed as a genius he was imprisoned for his perceived heresy by those in power, which meant those holding the highest church office.
Priests refused to look through his telescope for fear of being possessed by evil spirits. Their mindset was fixed, and had they not been overwhelmed by the truth of science and the enlightenment, that view would have been upheld. The Vatican did not formally acknowledge that Galileo was right until 1992.
Four hundred years later, the blinkered mindset has returned.
Scientists and thinkers are increasingly becoming subject to witch hunts, accused of spreading seditious misinformation calculated to undermine our global prosperity, when in fact they are doing no more than Galileo did, and with the same predictable results.
In the USA, the Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli has brought a lawsuit against climate scientist Michael Mann in an attempt to have climate science debated in the courts, on the spurious grounds that state funds have been misused for ‘bogus’ research. The case is already being called the Scopes trial of the twenty-first century, a reference to the 1925 legal case when religious fundamentalists challenged science in the form of evolution taught in schools.
Senator James Imhofe has published a list of 17 scientists who he wants prosecuted on the grounds that they are spreading lies about the onset of climate change. Senator John Shimkus has dismissed the inevitability of our future by announcing in United States Congress that god will not allow global warming. There are numerous other examples. These are real people in positions of power and influence invoking myth and magic in an attempt to alter reality. They are the direct heirs of Pope Urban VIII who judged Galileo to be a heretic in 1633.
Scientists face a barrage of hate mail and even death threats, a sure sign of desperate people trying to blank out truth.
There is a collective need to deny truths that bring uncertainty and shake the security of our world. But this denial is bringing us to the brink of medievalism. The strength of this force of denial will grow, and take on more aggressive forms, as our lives get tougher and the good times fail to make the return that our political leaders are now promising. Already fighting and oppression are taking on a brutal reality, intermixed with pseudo-religious and political dogma.
We are once again under attack by the forces of un-reason.