My View From The Country

Charges Of Blasphemy Over Science Make A Comeback

The intent of protests aimed at high-profile personalities like columnist Charles Krauthammer is to intimidate and silence anyone with less “star” power who might think about expressing an opinion that questions the unapproved way of thinking.

Down through time, few things have been punished more severely than blasphemy or heresy. To disrespect commonly held views, or worse yet to hold unconventional ones, has always been treated fairly severely. Well before the Salem witch hunts, there’s been a certain element of fear and self-preservation that has forced people to react negatively to anyone or any idea that challenges the conventional thinking of the time.

Ironically, in a world supposedly more open-minded and tolerant, we’re just as quick to accuse someone of blasphemy or heresy. The difference today is that the charges, in the U.S. anyway, usually don’t center on religion but whether one dares to challenge the liberal orthodoxy of the day.

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, is the latest victim. He became a heretic by simply saying that he wasn’t sure whether global warming existed or not. That was enough to spur 110,000 people to sign a petition asking the Washington Post to no longer carry his column. I find it unnerving that someone with the intellect and elegance of Krauthammer would be silenced because his views don’t fall in line with the establishment’s views.

Another example is Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty reality show. He ran afoul of the thought police when, in response to a question during a wide-ranging interview, he said he believed in the traditional Judeo-Christian view of marriage.

 

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Of course, while these protests are aimed at high-profile personalities like Krauthammer and Robertson, their real intent is to intimidate and silence anyone with less “star” power who might think about expressing an opinion that questions the unapproved way of thinking. President Obama made this very clear in his State of the Union speech last month when he pronounced the debate about climate change is settled. That’s, of course, despite the abject failure of models to accurately predict global warming. As Krauthammer lucidly points out, science isn’t decided by consensus: “There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.”

But if one dares to challenge the conventional politically correct dogma, your career is in danger. It’s long been understood in the scientific community that you either do research that conforms or you won’t be funded. Intimidation is the new norm.

The real danger, however, isn’t the attempt to force people to conform and the derailing of public discourse. It is the license it has given governmental groups, whether it be the Environmental Protection Agency or the Internal Revenue Service, to act outside of any legislative mandate to effect policies outside of the legislative process.

The economic boycotts and pressure brought by these groups are well within their rights. Personally, I haven’t bought a single CD from any country singer who advocates for vegetarianism. That’s my right, but I haven’t taken part in any efforts to remove their songs from the airwaves.

The difference has become that the left has perfected its economic boycott mechanisms; almost instantly, they can generate 100,000 outraged citizens on just about any topic. Technology has provided tremendous clout to the vocal minority.

The vocal minority has become extremely sophisticated in its tactics. It has invested in technology and become proficient in guerilla warfare. The silent majority has no such organization and infrastructure. I liken it to the early days of terrorism before society began to make significant investments to protect itself.

Instead of just complaining that public discourse and non-establishment thinking is being curtailed, we need to step forward and fight for sound science and honest debate. A monolithic world not only doesn’t make good decisions, it leads to tyranny.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 7

WILLIAMPGH (not verified)
on Feb 27, 2014

Science is just that a science of understanding, but isn't always accurate. Their are many in the science community with Phd's who reach tennure and become gods, when they themselves are usually athiests who do not believe in a god. This column is quite accurate who someone who speaks against the establishment is shut down, when in time that person who speaks up may have spoken the truth. To think two bicycle shop men named Orville and Wilbur Wright built a plane and flew it, the science community I am sure scoffed, Things like that could never fly. LOL =)

TedK (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2014

Well said Troy! It's taking far too long for people to wake up and put an end to this constant chipping away of our country's foundation. Slowly but surely our rights are being eroded away and what those who are supporting this don't see, is that once these rights are gone, they don't come back easily and eventually, those who have pushed and supported these agenda, will also eventually lose their rights and freedoms. All of this has happened in the past and history is going to repeat itself!
Great article!

on Feb 28, 2014

Troy,

Well written article! It is taking the American People too long to wake up. Slowly but surely our rights and freedoms are being eroded away by those whom you correctly called the vocal minority while the rest of us sit quietly (because we believe in the freedom of speech) and allow them to get louder and louder. Ironically, all of this has happened in other countries which have had forms of government much different from ours, those where freedom of speech and many of 'our' other God given freedoms do not exist and as a result, the citizens of those countries were virtually knocking down the doors of America to become citizens here.
Unfortunately, the folks who are infringing on the freedoms of others here in the United States don't seem to understand that by taking those freedoms away, they will eventually be whittling down their own freedoms and the ability to maintain them. It will then be too late and they will then be screaming about how unfair it is!
Global Warming is one of the methods that I believe is being used in this way. There is going to always be some form of climate change that is likely resultant from natural causes- things that we have no control over. To blame it on carbon - is Laughable! It concerns me when I see our farmers falling into lock-step with this theory. CO2 is exhaled by all of us and our animals, the plants pick this up and convert it to O2 which we in-turn utilize- we all learned this in grade school!! Are they eventually going to charge us for the amount of CO2 that we exhale/ week, month or year??! There's already talk of the "emissions of cattle"! Are we going to be charged for that too? There have been suggestions regarding that!
We are allowing ourselves to be legislated out of existence- They are fighting job creation through environmental protection and destroying manufacture on most fronts and now they are going to control "cattle emissions". Almost too funny to pay attention to, but we had better!
Other countries are avoiding this climate change issue while allowing us, or even encouraging us down this path. They will not participate, but will be the beneficiaries of the penalties that we will pay for our "carbon foot print" while we fall further into debt and further from greatness.
It is high time for US all to wake up before it is too late! Why go down a path that other countries are fighting to get away from!
Thanks for the article.
T

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2014

Ignoring your unfocused angst over unspecified 'loss of freedoms', you cite your grade school lessons on the carbon cycle. You are correct - as far as you go. But it's your childish refusal to go beyond an elementary understanding of complex systems that is laughable. If the only carbon in the system was that cycled by current organic life, you might have a point. However, in the last hundred years, humans have pumped billions of tons of ancient carbon into the atmosphere at rates that far exceed the capacity of the system to adjust. It isn't even that the earth has never experienced changes of the magnitude we are currently projecting. One of the major problems is that the rate at which we are changing the system is unprecedented. What especially concerns me, as an agriculturalist, is that our lives and livelihoods are more likely than most to be directly affected. And yet, many in agriculture are at the forefront of an outright attack on the scientists who simply report the best analysis of the data they see. Perfect? Of course not. But it's a far sight better than those who put up a wet finger and say "Well it's snowing today. Global climate change is a hoax."

Is this political correctness run amok? No. You can think whatever you want. But don't expect to have any intellectual credibility if you hold an opinion that flies in the face of what some +99% of climate scientists believe based on the best scientific evidence. Science is quite capable of absorbing dissenting opinions. But you better bring something to the table that's better than simply not wanting the facts to say what they do.

on Feb 28, 2014

Good piece, Troy. I see "anonymous" above proves your point -- shout down and call whoever doesn't agree with you names. Anonymous even takes the liberty of increasing the debunked figure of "97%" of climate scientists up to +99%.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/022714-691587-greenpeace-co-fou...

Steve Willits (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2014

It is difficult to have a science based democracy when 25% of Americans do not know the revolves around the sun.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 4, 2014

So, one has to wonder how many of the 'global warming' scientists who insist they are right, and no one else is capable of either understanding the process, or are simply 'deniers', fail to admit, or even to understand, that their deductions might be tainted by their desire to have that outcome prevail.

Aren't we a bit arrogant to believe the actions of mere men can trump (by causing global warming) the Creator of the very weather we experience, the volcanoes and other natural phenomena? How many internal combustions engines burning the most polluting fuels would it take to equal the pollution from a single large volcano eruption, for instance?

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contribur Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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