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« Preparing the ground | Main | Worthington versus Tol »

The open society and its enemies

Lawrence Torcello, the academic who called for criminal negligence charges to be levelled at some climate sceptics, has been on the receiving end of some rude emails. One apparently invited him to "die you maggot".

Not nice.

On the other hand, he can hardly have expected those he wanted jailed to send him bouquets can he? Torcello's defence seems to be that he was not calling for sceptic scientists to be jailed but only those who fund them, although the distinction is somewhat unclear in his article. And despite US law contradicting him, he seems to think that funding the causes one believes in doesn't amount to an exercise of free speech rights.

If I understand the Torcello argument correctly, a sceptic scientist is free to state their views, but if you buy them a cup of coffee you are to be flung into the darkest dungeon in town. The open society and its enemies, eh?

In standing up for Torcello's academic freedom and those who "support open and respectful discussion", his employer, the Rochester Institute of Technology, has said that universities should be forums for the discussion of controversial issues. Although presumably nobody on their staff would actually be able to  hold dissenting views on climate because then the Institute would be guilty of "criminal negligence" in funding such badness.

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Reader Comments (54)

Russell - please can you summarise RF's top three theroetical and methodological strengths?

Apr 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet
Apr 2, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

So that's a "No" then. Surprise.

Apr 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The puzzle to me is if they are receiving hate emails why don't they involve the police?
After all that's what a normal person would do.

Apr 9, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

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