Truth may enter the world by many doors, but she is never escorted by force.
In the dawn of the Enlightenment, it was scientists who were hauled before tribunals and inquisitions.
I am drawn to these thoughts, and to the long-decayed example of the Inquisition, by a most curious outburst this week by James Hansen, the principal voice of NASA on the subject of global warming.
Not all the world shares Dr. Hansen's vision of imminent ecological Armageddon.... Serious minds ...
... question the models of climatological speculation;
... question the peculiar mix of man-made and other likely sources of climate dynamics;
... question some of the data gathering and some of its interpretation;
... question the very maturity of the highly complex, and experimentally deficient science of global warming itself. ...
... seriously question, too, the massive policy prescriptions that are being insisted upon ...
Impressive. Stick that in your tinfoil hat, James Hansen!
But, to Dr. Hansen's agitated mind, those who raise such questions, who inject skepticism into the global warming debate, are "deniers."... a singular slur.
Dr. Hansen is overfond of the specious and chilling analogy: He has written of the "crashing glaciers serv(ing) as a Krystal Nacht".
This week, Dr. Hansen went a step even more noxiously forward. He called for a tribunal, or as I prefer to call it, an Inquisition, to put on trial for crimes against nature and humanity the CEOs of the big oil companies ...
Is this a scientist speaking? If so, it is more than curious that in the 21st century it is the scientist calling for the secular equivalent of an inquisition.
This is the voice of the scientist-activist consumed with his own virtue and fearful of all dispute.