An assistant professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology has penned a column in which he suggests scientists who are climate change deniers and those who fund their studies are guilty of “criminal negligence.”
Writing for The Conversation, educator Lawrence Torcello posits that scientists whose data does not corroborate global warming, and those who fund their studies, essentially put people in danger by misleading them. Their research, the professor claims, leads people to have a false sense of security about the dangerous environment around them. In reality, they could die from global warming, or something.
Yes, he’s totally serious.
… we can be certain that deaths from climate change will continue to rise with global warming. Nonetheless, climate denial remains a serious deterrent against meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis.
We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.
Criminal negligence is normally understood to result from failures to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms, or the threat of harms to public safety, consequent of certain activities. Those funding climate denial campaigns can reasonably predict the public’s diminished ability to respond to climate change as a result of their behaviour. Indeed, public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists. …
Perhaps no surprise, Torcello’s “research interests include ethical theory and applied ethics, social and political philosophy, moral pluralism, and skepticism,” according to his faculty profile.
Thankfully for Professor Torcello, it’s the very academic freedom he’s denouncing that gives him the right to spout such philosophical nonsense.
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