Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Whither Intellectual Freedom?

Bigotry and intolerance from scientific colleagues lead a Swedish scientist to resign from an advisory role with the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation. If exploring alternative climate perspectives is verboten, genuine scientific inquiry has ceased to exist.


click for photo source

May 1st, 2014:
Lennart Bengtsson, “one of Sweden’s leading climate scientists” joins an academic advisory council. The council is associated with the UK-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, a body known known for challenging climate change orthodoxy.

Chaired by David Henderson, who formerly led the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD, the advisory council also includes the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson. Among the foundation’s trustees we find Peter Forster (a Church of England bishop) and Bernard Donoughue (a Labour member of the House of Lords).


Lennart Bengtsson’s list of prizes and honours (click for source)

May 14th, 2014:
Bengtsson, aged 78, resigns from the advisory council via a letter that contains the following:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

Intellectual freedom, as defined by the American Library Association, is:

the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. [bold added]

People who believe in intellectual freedom have a duty to support groups like the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They must champion the public’s right to hear all points of view – especially those that challenge conventional wisdom.

But the noble, beating heart of science has apparently atrophied. Common curiosity – gone. Independent thought – don’t make me laugh.

To quote Alan Leshner, the bureaucrat who currently heads the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “We don’t need to debate if the climate is changing anymore.” Leshner imagines he is in possession of the one and only truth. He has decreed that the only acceptable debate concerns “the best way to react” to human-caused global warming.

Science bodies stomping on skepticism. Individual scientists declining to work with colleagues who diverge from the straight-and-narrow.

Conformity. Dogma. Doctrine.

For shame.

see also: Asking the Wrong Question



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