In the past decade or so I’ve been mocked, vilified, besmirched — I’ve even been booed off a theatre stage — simply for expressing the view that the case for global warming and climate change, and in particular the emphasis on the damage caused by carbon dioxide, the so-called greenhouse gas that is going to do for us all, has been massively over-stated.It looks like dear old Johnny Ball is the latest victim of scientific partisanship. In other words, he had the temerity to express a view contrary to the accepted consensus.
For daring to take this contrarian view, I’ve lost bookings, had talks cancelled and been the subject of a sinister internet campaign against me that only came to an end following the intervention of the police.
And boy do "scientists" (inverted commas fully deserved) get tetchy about it, as longstanding tobacco control advocate Michael Siegel found out when he did the same.
Siegel has come under fire from colleagues in the field of smoking research. His offence was to post messages on the widely read mailing list Tobacco Policy Talk, in which he questioned one of the medical claims about passive smoking, as well as the wisdom of extreme measures such as outdoor smoking bans.Again, we see the anti-smoking propaganda template being utilised in other areas. Well, why not? Bullying and lies - a tried-and-tested schoolyard tactic - have always worked, haven't they?
Siegel's case is perhaps the most clear-cut example of a disturbing trend in the anti-smoking movement. There are genuine scientific questions over some of the more extreme claims made about the dangers of passive smoking and the best strategies to reduce smoking rates, but a few researchers who have voiced them have seen their reputations smeared and the debate stifled.
Smoke haters, particularly, have employed such tactics extensively over the years. James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat were also subject to smears and outrageous attacks on their reputations simply for running an epidemiological study which came up with the wrong result.
You see, it's all part of the science of ... silencing the wrong kind of science (full text here).
[...] partisanship involves not only a dogmatic adherence to a belief, but also the use of a wide range of tactics to silence opponents of that belief in any arena in which it is presented, reported or used. Partisans seek not only to authoritatively lay down their (scientific) position, but to shield it by engaging in silencing skirmishes that can include, among other things, intimidation, slander and discredit, gagging, budget cuts**, and the removal of opponents.In short, if you dare to depart from the pre-determined conclusion, you will encounter what Siegel terms "scientific McCarthyism" (or, more accurately, communism-inspired Lysenkoism).
It matters not what area you disagree with the fake charity moralists or holier-than-thou blinkered politicians, just as it also makes no difference how educated you are or how solid your evidence. If it's not what the state and its paid lackeys want to hear, your life simply must be destroyed.
And I'll bet you were thinking there were laws against such behaviour, weren't you? Don't be silly. The state has an agenda and doesn't give a stuff if you're not one of their pet groups or tax-funded familiars.
How ironic is it that Johnny Ball - a guy who was thorough and honest in conveying science to kids in the 70s and 80s - should be so vilified by people whose idea of science truly is to just think of a number, any number, as long as it suits their cause.
** A method very much favoured by pharmaceutical companies and charities