Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The treason of the intellectuals...

...is nothing new.
While voices of dissent are being raised within the scientific community regarding AGW, some of the opposing voices are branding dissenters as deniers, cranks and flat earthers and comparing them to war criminals. And while backbiting, jealousy and intimidation among intellectuals may be perennial, within science such discord and know it all dogmatism is somewhat rarer. Dominating the scientific debate of AGW today is "the debate is over" sentiment espoused by NASA's James Hansen.
In the 1930's news was filtering through to the West about wide scale mass famine produced by Stalin in the Soviet Union. During those times many Western intellectuals, convinced that communism would usher in a new world of brotherly love, blithely ignored or downplayed the tragedy faced by the Soviet people. Those in the West who articulated their concern were treated with contemptuous disdain by the generally left wing intelligentsia.
This episode of intellectual shame, intimidation and dishonesty has been covered by Robert Conquest in his book The Great Terror.
In this book, Conquest accuses Western intellectuals of denying the full scale of the famine and attacks their politically blinkered and morally ambivalent views as "an intellectual and moral disgrace on a massive scale." He later wrote that the Western world had been faced with two different stories about the famine in the 1930s, and accused many intellectuals of believing the false one: "Why did an intellectual stratum overwhelmingly choose to believe the false one? None of this can be accounted for in intellectual terms. To accept information about a matter on which totally contradictory evidence exists, and in which investigation of major disputes on the matter is prevented, is not a rational act." (Wikipedia.)

The AGW parallels are there, but today, thanks to free speech within the blogosphere the dissenters possessing "contradictory evidence" are being heard...


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