Thursday, January 25, 2007

Censoring the skeptics

A particular conceit amongst intellectuals is that the world needs saving and it needs their ideas to do it: thus, they are justified in imposing their ideas on the rest of us "for our own good". This aspect of politics is seemingly endemic and is both illustrated and dissected in Heinlein's brilliant novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Apparently, the majority are very quick to propose rules to control what other people are doing, not seeing the impact on their own freedom in the process.

What prompts this musing is the recent furor in the blogosphere on the latest attempts to impose strictures on the views that "experts" can and can not say about climate change and still be regarded as experts. (This posting on prometheus offers both a summary and some discussion).

Calls to "educate people on climate change" are similar to authoritarian efforts in re-education consistent with state approved dogma: in this case, education is presumed to be synonymous with agreement with the theory of global warming: the idea that people could educate themselves and then disagree with this predominant theory doesn't exist for those who propose such draconian "education".

Factually, climate changes. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) remains a theory precisely because we lack both the empirical data and the necessary mathematics for causal proof of just how the AGW theory works. Concordance with the AGW theory is thus a matter of belief: a belief that varies with ideology, pre-disposition and self-interest. It is not, and should not, be a function of mandated, state-imposed, dogma that masquerades as eduction.