The massive stink over Bjorn Lomborg being given Australian government funding to set up a climate-change centre at the University of Western Australia (UWA) shows that the spirit of McCarthyism lives on. Only now, its targets aren’t Reds, but anti-greens: anyone who dares to criticise either the science — sorry, The Science — or the politics of climate change.
Lomborg is the Danish-born author of the best selling book The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001). He’s the rattler of greens across the globe with his claims that climate change is not the biggest problem facing humanity, and to the extent that it is a problem we should develop our way out of it rather than cutting back on fossil-fuel use and forcing everyone to live ‘sustainable lives’, which is only fancy code for eco-
But even by the standards of denier-denouncing environmentalists, the fury over Lomborg heading Down Under has been intense — and revealing.
The Australia Guardian questions the fitness of Lomborg for university life. Green-leaning writers demand the Oz government ‘pull the plug’ on the Lomborg centre, outraged that it might argue that climate change should be ‘placed well down [the] list of global priorities’. At the UWA itself, academics and students held a meeting ... at which there was ‘riotous applause’ when staff called for UWA to ‘end [its] deal with the climate-change contrarian’.... The UWA Student Guild joined with their professors to demand that UWA refuse to ‘engage controversial climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg’, on the basis that having him on campus would ‘harm UWA’s world-class reputation’. No, you've done that yourselves already you idiots! (editor's note)
There’s also a palpable religious feel to the denunciations. That student-started petition calling for Lomborg to be kept off campus demands that this be done ‘In the name of science’. Once we had ‘In the name of the Lord’, now we have ‘In the name of science’. It reeks with a kind of religious dogma, coated with stupidity.
The terminology used to denounce those who question climate change, particularly ‘DENIER’, brings to mind dark, intolerant episodes from history when anyone who called into question the truth of the Bible or the authority of the Church was likewise hounded out of universities (think John Wycliffe, expelled from Oxford in 1382 for riling church elders)
For academics whose world view is predicated on the unchallenged orthodoxy of left-wing thought, the arrival of a dissenter, no matter how mild mannered, seems to induce panic.
As the UWA Student Guild said, ‘While Dr Lomborg doesn’t refute climate change itself’, he does have a ‘controversial track record [as a] climate contrarian’. And we can’t have controversy on a campus, can we? This scandal exposes the true intolerance of the eco-lobby, their real censorious urge — which is not merely to ringfence science from ridicule, which is bad enough, but to prevent the expression of contrarian ideas.
University of Western Australia campus
Despite his track record of book and journal publications, [Lomborg’s] impact as a public intellectual, and his collaboration with Nobel laureates, some Australian academics are claiming he lacks the requisite qualifications to lead a policy centre.
In the absence of policy expertise, the anti-Lomborg camp is clinging to a single measure of academic performance known as the h-index ... [which] measures the number of articles an academic has published in peer-reviewed texts and the number of times they are cited by fellow academics. The reason Lomborg’s academic detractors favour the h-index is likely because it favours them. Lomborg’s appointment should be subjected to “independent peer review”, chime the peers, apparently unaware of the irony.
Peer review, like the derivative h-index, is a process regulated by humanities academics whose
|Warmist Professor Thomas Wernberg|
Journal editorial boards, like the faculties from which they are drawn, are predominantly left-wing.. Without ideological conformity, humanities students stand little chance of publishing in peer-reviewed journals. The second element of the h-index, academic citations, also are subject to political considerations in the humanities. Academics cite peers with whom they enjoy political accord and the favour is often returned in an informal quid pro quo arrangement. The reverse tactic, ostracism, is reserved for dissenters. Refusing to cite a dissenter such as Lomborg is the fastest way to disappear them permanently from the academic landscape, where publish or perish remains the rule of law. One of the Leftist academic dissenters is a marine biologist in photo on right above.
The Way I See It.....these totalitarians are not in fact attacking Lomborg for criticising the science. They are criticising him for actually citing the science. Lomborg notes that the science tells us there has been a pause in the warming. Lomborg notes the science that reveals the warming pause isn’t what was predicted by warmists.
Lomborg notes the science that shows many disasters once predicted - more cyclones, for instance - have not eventuated. Lomborg notes the science that shows the schemes to cut our emissions involve spending trillions of dollars to make virtually no noticable or meaningful difference to the temperature.
Lomborg respects the science. His critics do not. The anti-Lomborg lobby hates the science and hates those who question not the science but the warming faith. They are enemies of reason and of freedom.
UPDATE: The University of Western Australia’s has caved-in and decided to reject Bjorn Lomborg’s Australian Consensus Centre. This is disturbing for its validation of a culture of soft censorship where free thought is punished. Where Leftist groupthink is viciously enforced. It is strange, Lomborg should be a poster boy for Leftist academics. He is gay, handsome, articulate and informal, often teaching in a T-shirt.
It’s hard to think of a more anti-intellectual act to promote wilful ignorance about contemporary public policy challenges. Since there was no consensus to seek consensus, it was better to let ignorance flourish than for the merest shard of knowledge to creep in. It's a disgrace !
A friend of mine recently joked: what’s the opposite of diversity? UWA just proved the answer: university.