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Philosophy professor says global warming 'deniers' should be thrown in jail

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If Lawrence Torcello, an assistant philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, had his way, people who disagree with him about global warming would be thrown in jail, the Daily Caller reported Monday.

"When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised (sic) campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent," he wrote last week at The Conversation.

According to Torcello, there are times when criminal negligence and what he calls “science misinformation” must be linked.

Global warming -- or "climate change" as it is referred to now -- is one of those times, he argues.

He cited a case in Italy where six scientists and a local defense minister were accused of providing “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" and imprisoned for six years each because they failed to “clearly communicate risks to the public” about living in an earthquake zone.

The 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, Torcello said, left 300 people dead and nearly 66,000 people homeless.

"I don’t believe poor scientific communication should be criminalised (sic) because doing so will likely discourage scientists from engaging with the public at all," he wrote, but added that "scientists have the corollary obligation to correct public misinformation as visibly and unequivocally as possible."

He then goes on to argue that those who do not believe in the dogma of man-made climate change are part of a well-funded campaign.

"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," he wrote.

He also claimed that concerns regarding free speech are "misguided" and essentially argues that those who seek to provide another point of view on the subject should not be allowed to voice their opinions, since doing so "stretches the definition of free speech to a degree that undermines the very concept."

"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," he said, concluding with a call for societies to "interpret and update their legal systems accordingly."

Translation: Think as I tell you or go to jail.

Eric Owens noted that on the day Torcello's article was published, the high temperature in Rochester, N.Y., the city where his college is located, was 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

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