Savanarola Apparently Working for NASA

In 1497, Savonarola tried to end the Italian Renaissance in a massive pyre of books and artwork (the Bonfire of the Vanities).  The Renaissance was about inquiry and optimism, neither of which had much appeal to  Savonarola, who thought he had all the answers he needed in his apocalyptic vision of man.  For him, how the world worked, and particularly the coming apocalypse, was "settled science" and any questioning of his world view was not only superfluous, it was evil.

Fortunately, while the enlightenment was perhaps delayed (as much by the French King and the Holy Roman Emperor as by Savonarola), it mans questing nature was not to be denied.

But now, the spirit of Savonarola has returned, in the guise of James Hansen, a man who incredibly calls himself a scientist.  Mr. Hansen has decided that he is the secular Savonarola, complete with apocalyptic predictions and a righteousness that allows no dissent:

“James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress – in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming – to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the “perfect storm” of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.

Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.”

It will be interesting to see if any champions of free speech on the left can work up the energy to criticize Hansen here.  What we have is a government official threatening prosecution and jail time for Americans who exercise their free speech rights.  GWB, rightly, would never get a pass on this.  Why does Hansen?

  • Luis Dias

    Not trying to defend Hansen here, he’s not exactly my kind of hero, but when you say “GWB, rightly, would never get a pass on this. Why does Hansen?”, you forget that Hansen is not trying to shut the mouths of these companies. He’s accusing them of spreading misinformation and outright lies. Yeah, he can be wrong, but I am afraid we all remember the “repaired” memo of global warming from the white house, where a politician destroyed the message within what would be a “technical” memo… That’s not about performing “free speech”, that’s about lying, misinformation and corruption. So there.

    If you want to accuse Hansen of doing the same, then go for it.

  • clouse

    Is Hansen claiming to be a god? A prophet? Or maybe that he knows all the laws of nature and can determine with near 100% accuracy the temperature of the world in all future years. And, according to him, Exxon and Peabody are evil and know that he is a god and are misleading the public on CAGW and need to be punished.

  • morganovich

    i suspect this has a great deal to do with the facts that “skeptics” are becoming increasingly outspoken and that the AGW crowd is beginning to really lose the argument. the empirical evidence for AGW is eroding and the evidence that the models are incorrect is mounting rapidly.

    if you can’t win the deabte, stifle it.

    this is simply an attempt to raise the price of “dissent” and make it unattractive to any who disagree with hansen.

    if only he was as good at climate science as he seems to be at media campaigns.

  • John Galt

    Is Hansen speaking as a private citizen or a government scientist? As a private citizen, Hansen is free to express his opinion as he wishes. However, as a government employee he needs to either follow policy, resign or get fired.

    Truman famously fired McArthur for insubordination. The same should happen to Hansen. The one difference is General McArthur has a life-time of achievement and all Hansen has is a bunch of speculative computer models that aren’t being validated by the actual climate.

    And please don’t bring up censorship. Hansen isn’t being censored — he’s in every paper and broadcast. What Hansen is attempting is censorship of his critics.

  • Captain Obviousness

    Fortunately this could never happen in the US since we have the First Amendment. Unless of course “living Constitution” SCOTUS justices interpet the First Amendment to no longer apply to speech that is “contrary to science,” but I digress.

    But one of those kangaroo court Human Rights Commissions in Canada could conceivably try to prosecute “spreaders of disinformation.” I would actually love to see that happen – any type of high publicity trial would be good for AGW skeptics and bad for the True Believers.

  • Ken

    Is Hansen claiming to be a god? A prophet?

    Oracle of Mother Gaia. Repent or Mother Gaia will cleanse herself of the cancer of humanity!

    The rules of Total Blind FAITH! are now in operation. As Mohammed al-Ghazali wrote when he set Islamic theology on its present path some 800 years ago, FAITH! has nothing to do with reason or evidence and inany conflict between faith and thinking, FAITH! FAITH! FAITH! must always prevail.

    The rules of Conspiracy Theory also apply, just like when Art Bell opens up the phone lines at 3 Ayem: Lack of evidence for the conspiracy is PROOF! of The Conspiracy; all evidence against the conspiracy is PROOF! of The Conspiracy.

    The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Will Not Be Taken In.

  • I actually don’t believe there is any such thing as a government climate scientist in a sense that preserves the meaning of “scientist.”

  • Mesa Econoguy

    …you forget that Hansen is not trying to shut the mouths of these companies.
    Posted by: Luis Dias

    Um, putting their executives in jail is not exactly letting them speak freely, idiot.

    If anyone deserves jail time here, it appears to be Hansen for basing draconian economic policy on fake science.

  • To the extent that Dr. James Hansen has been lobbying for a political party, entity, or result while on the Federal government payroll; he has possibly violated the Hatch Act. Where is the crusading DA willing to take on this form of government corruption?

  • James Hansen is a warmist crook.

  • Papertiger

    James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming…
    Free Image hosting by ImageSnapFirst things first, Jimmy.

  • Jimmy is not a climate scientist.

    He has no climate related degree.

    He has a degree in physics.

    The media as usual is creating something that does not exist.

    No kidding!

  • carlyee

    And, of course, does anyone remember the final fate of Savonarola?

    Eventually, what you give, you get.

  • Inquisition denier

    Please see that in the title Savonarola is written Savanarola.
    Inquisition could punish us!
    CONGRATULATIONS for the comparison!