Debate Magazine

Professor Wants Global Warming Deniers to Be Imprisoned

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Lawrence Torcello

Lawrence Torcello is an assistant professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Note that his academic specialty is Philosophy, not Science.

In an opinion essay of March 13, 2014, for the UK newsletter The Conversation, Torcello proclaims that those who deny the “science” of climate change man-made global warming should be criminally prosecuted who, when found guilty, will be imprisoned.

Torcello begins with an earthquake that rocked L’Aquila, Italy in 2009, which killed more than 300 people and left nearly 66,000 people homeless. Six Italian scientists were sentenced to 6 years in prison for not communicating the risks of the impending earthquake.

Torcello then opines that just as the Italian scientists were jailed for not adequately informing the public of the L’Aquila earthquake:

“this is just what is happening with the current, well documented funding of global warming denialism.

More deaths can already be attributed to climate change than the L’Aquila earthquake and 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.

Then Torcello airily and arrogantly dismisses free speech implications in his proposal to CRIMINALLY PROSECUTE those who disagree with him on manmade global warming:

My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions. Protecting the latter as a form of free speech stretches the definition of free speech to a degree that undermines the very concept.

Torcello describes his “current projects” as including “the environment,” “animal welfare,” and “political discourse.” Among his publications are encylopedia entries on “animal rights” and “separation of church and state,” and journal articles on “separating the infant from the fetus” and “same-sex marriage.” No doubt, we can expect future opinion essays from Assistant Professor Torcello that deniers of animal rights, pro-lifers, pro-prayer in school, and opponents of same-sex marriage should also be CRIMINALLY PROSECUTED.

Lawrence Torcello can be reached at [email protected].

As a university professor, Lawrence Torcello can’t be fired for saying and writing whatever he wants, under the guise of “academic free speech.” Professors who achieve tenure are even more securely protected.

But Torcello is an assistant professor, which means he doesn’t yet have tenure. You can help make sure he doesn’t get tenure. Contact the president of his university and convey your objections about Torcello:

Dr. Bill Destler
President, Rochester Institute of Technology
phone: 585-475-2396 voice/tty
e-mail: [email protected]

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