Assistant Professor of Philosophy Wants to Jail Global Warming Skeptics


A Philosophy major is generally considered almost as useful as a fork with all the tines broken off. An assistant professor of philosophy has the same career track as a Blockbuster Video employee in 2020 but without any of the glamour.

But like cockroaches after a nuclear apocalypse, some like Lawrence Torcello, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, are adapting by putting their knowledge of Kant to turning out proper cant.

At The Conversation (not to be confused with just any conversation), a site that bills itself as a platform for academics to practice journalism, an idea up there with enrolling serial killers in dental school, Global Warming and the lack of belief in the faith of the green Chicken Little is a source of much concern.

Rod Lamberts, Deputy Director, Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science at Australian National University, says that in the debate, “Forget the Moncktonites, disregard the Boltists, and snub the Abbottsians. Ignore them, step around them, or walk over them. Drown them not just with sensible conversations, but with useful actions. Flood the airwaves and apply tactics advertisers have successfully used for years.”

“What we need now is to become comfortable with the idea that the ends will justify the means.”

And then invade Poland by the spring.

It really tells you something when the Deputy Director for an organization dedicated to the Public Awareness of Science sounds like he just stepped out of The Network.

But topping him is Torcello, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy with big, big ideas. Like locking up everyone who disagrees with him.

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.

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.

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.

I always love misguided concerns about free speech. Who are those lunatics who don’t understand that criminalizing arguing your point of view in the public space is fundamentally different than freedom of speech?

Especially when your point of view prevents people from forming informed opinions that are of the right sort.

Isn’t it obvious? All we have to do is lock up all the bad people who disagree with us… and then we win.

It worked in the USSR. It’s bound to work in the Philosophy Department of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

I don’t seem to see a lot of articles by critics of Global Warming calling for the imprisonment of all Warmists for the protection of the public. Maybe it’s because they’re the good guys.

  • A Z

    “A Philosophy major is generally considered almost as useful as a fork with all the tines broken off.”

    I liked my philosophy professors. They were upright and had integrity. I suspect the one who taught Philosophy of Religion was a liberal. But he was so circumspect in class and used the tools of his profession, logic (et al),. honestly that there were no problems. They were above reproach.

    That said I agree with you that a philosophy major is useless unless one want to be an academic, as part of a dual major or for general edification.

    Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lawrence Torcello is an odious man. He really should avail himself of the mathematics and science courses taught at Rochester and enlighten himself

    • tagalog

      Sadly, philosophy has detached itself from its proper mooring in the reasoned pursuit of virtue. If it hadn’t it would still have value.
      But many philosophers haven’t abandoned the pursuit of virtue, and we should continue to encourage philosophers. We wouldn’t be where we are now without philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, and they multitude of philosophers who followed them.

      • A Z

        If Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lawrence Torcello is doing more than venting his frustration, then he certainly has the desire to put us into re-education camps or worse. He probably has the will. All he needs is the means.

        The penalty he wants to visit on us should be visited on him.

        The man is not unintelligent. He is stupid.

        If the U.S. ceased emitting all CO2 and China and India make up for it and double down, how is the world going to be saved? That stupid ______ cannot answer that. He certainly cannot answer that in the public square and not expect to get run out on a rail. I think being run out on a rail is barbaric. But in this case we could make an exception.

  • Habbgun

    To be fair when philosophers use the word scientific they don’t mean in the sense of the sciences. Scientific to them means a logical proposition that the properly educated elites agree is correct. Science is a boring nasty thing where you get your hands dirty in the lab and need results and not consensus. You might as well be a mechanic getting the right amount of torque. Marxism was scientific and you could go to prison for denying it. Right? So why not here? Why do the silly bourgeois always fight philosophy?

  • SDLakeshore

    Yeah, worked pretty well for Stalin too. But one must understand that currently there are more Marxists in our universities than are left in the former Soviet Union. It’s bound to have an impact. This gentleman obviously wishes to remain ignorant of the abject failure of scientific atheism (an oxymoron) that failed to keep the USSR alive. Or he is well aware of it and has chosen to engage in the Progressive Left’s campaign of disinformation enforcement.

    Doesn’t he know that climate warming as an a priori assumption is a formal fallacy and that attacking your opposition instead of your opposition’s arguments is an ad hominem fallacy as well? He should be glad for the protection of his own unpopular belief, as he makes the distinction.

  • Elizabeth Cape Cod

    [“What we need now is to become comfortable with the idea that the ends will justify the means.”]

    Where’s he been? Liberals and progressives have been very comfortable with this idea for years. It’s an excuse that justifies lying , corruption and incompetence.

    • Judahlevi

      Actually, philosophy is one of the most important subjects taught and certainly influences all human beings in one way or another. Plato advocated for “philosopher kings” since the love of knowledge should also lead to wisdom. Plato was wrong.

      It was common knowledge that academes should never run anything since they really don’t live in the real world. Obama is proof of this common knowledge. With no “real world” experience outside of the academy other than being a ‘community organizer’, one could only hope for wisdom. We didn’t get any – just the opposite.

      It is not just love of knowledge that we should look for any leader but hands-on experience as an executive in the real world. This is why governors usually make the best presidents – they have executive experience of managing a state before stepping up to manage the country.

      It was Obama’s ego that told him he was ready, his skin color that caused others to want to make history, and what we are left with is the worst president the country has ever had. What we did not get was wisdom.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Actually, philosophy is one of the most important subjects taught and certainly influences all human beings in one way or another. Plato advocated for “philosopher kings” since the love of knowledge should also lead to wisdom. Plato was wrong.”

        I absolutely agree. It’s the way we handle philosophy that is dangerous. We can’t ignore it. We should find ways to do much better.

  • Michael Richards

    Warmist freakshow specimens use the word ‘consensus’, not ‘proof’ – a telling (and unwitting) omission.
    Right. When their hot air balloon collapses, these bastards need to be sued for unmitigated, witting fraud.

  • cxt

    Ok–lets say we do so….then what do we do, to whom to we turn for redress should the Global Warming alarmists turn out to be wrong?
    After I have jailed for some years and the climate is still not drastically changed then to whom I turn for recompense for my wrongful incarceration?
    If Rod feels so strongly about it then perhaps he would be willing to bet his house and future earnings on it?
    There has been no increase in global temp in over a decade.
    At what point do people admit they might just have the climate models wrong?

  • AG

    I believe the warmists ahould be jailed. They get the majority of their funding from the government which is us taxpayers. Then they falsify the data to keep the gravytrain rolling. If that isn’t a crime, then what is?

  • mendezjb

    If the ends justify the means, is it ok for me to kill him because he wants to suppress my god given right to speak my mind when/where I please? How far does he want to take this concept?

  • William Magoffin

    “Scientists are explorers. Philosophers are tourists.” – Richard Feynman

    I’m actually disappointed that RIT would even bother with a Philosophy Department.

  • DogmaelJones1

    “We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent” On the other hand, we, the connected to reality and the truth, have good reason to believe that the AGW crowd (or the ACC, anthropological climate change crowd), are receiving massive amounts of funding from the government and NGO’s to spread lies and disinformation to the public using doctored numbers, hockey sticks, photographs of dead polar bears and the like, and a friendly news media to enable the government to take control of everything with the ACC or AGW “scientists” in the catbird seat and wielding whips.

  • Tom G.

    I think we should jail people who are alarmed by climate change, and people who are not alarmed by climate change. Declare the whole country a jail. Everyone commits ThoughtCrime at one time or another, so toss ‘em all in the clink. That’ll teach ‘em, and provide plenty of job growth for jailers.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      I think we ought to jail those that incite against our constitution.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent.

    Why? Is it because it stops the Marxist Totalitarian Left from destroying capitalism and sending the world back into the Dark Ages?

    What’s really pathetic about the global warming nonsense is the idea that the Marxist Totalitarian Left could possibly save the world from global warming even if it were a reality instead of a farce.

    That’s like claiming that Obama will make America into a prosperous economic powerhouse.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “What’s really pathetic about the global warming nonsense is the idea that the Marxist Totalitarian Left could possibly save the world from global warming even if it were a reality instead of a farce.”

      Bingo. They make so much fuss over their anger of “denial” to distract us from the lack of convincing evidence that its valid and that they have any competence at solving anything.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “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.”

    It would be interesting to explore the philosophical genealogy of that little rant.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It sounded better in the original Russian

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      Translation of the professor’s rant:

      “I believe it and I can’t make everyone else believe it. That’s not fair. After all, I went to college for seven years to be smarter than everyone else. I want the government to step in and make everyone believe, in public, even if they don’t, in private.”

      His schooling was a failure …

  • wileyvet

    Here is a solution that can kill two birds with one stone. Unlike wind farms that kill thousands of birds. Giant Hamster wheels, powered by environmentalists and other climate change blowhards. Set them up in every Blue State, thousands of them, and run these con artists until they drop. Of course with their panting and wheezing they would be emitting CO2. Darn, I really thought I had something there. Well, back to the drawing board.

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    When I gained tenure as a Professor of Philosophy, I always told my students that if their goal was to try to make sense of the world, or to teach philosophy, or enter divinity school, then by all means, philosophy is a good major.

    However, most people who major in philosophy end up in the office of some metropolitan security company, working 80 hours per week on salary, supervising several hundred security guards. There’s not very much time for philosophical introspection.

    Hopefully, the idiot in the article doesn’t have tenure …

  • Kyle Abbott

    Ha this school is five feet from my house. Really good school but, one too many nut cases over there. They should stick to technology.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    I liked this better in the original Italian: “We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them.” – Mussolini, 1936

  • Tomin8tor

    Call the university. Call the alumni association. take action. stop this. now.

  • Tomin8tor

    call the university. call the alumni association.

  • glpage

    Why can’t we just outlaw stupidity? Torcello is trying to tell me how I have to spend my money since he feels that any contribution I might make to support sanity in the climate change discussion illegal. Making it illegal to financially support policy opposed to his ideology leads, of course, directly to making it illegal to support political parties with which he disagrees. That, to me, is one of the definitions of a fascist.

  • glpage

    Torcello mentioned “scientific consensus”. I would be willing to wager his field of expertise is not philosophy of science. Science is not a democracy. Period, it, unequivocally, is not a democracy. Scientific consensus means absolutely nothing if those holding the consensus are wrong. My opinion they are wrong will be challenged. But, when those holding the consensus conspire to censor opposing views (various people mentioned in East Anglia emails), when they change archival data because it doesn’t fit their model (James Hansen, possibly others), when they continue to use models that have been shown to be inaccurate (real warming has not met the hypothesized expectation), one has to doubt their belief in science.

    “When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions; that is the heart of science.” Dr. Carl Sagan

    The believers in AGW are refusing to do what Kepler did. For that, one has to wonder if they truly are scientists.

  • EPatrickMosman

    The following was sent directly to Professor Torcello as his website is closed for comments. I don’t expect a response.
    Professor Torcello,
    Basis the logic you followed in determining that those who challenge the
    “sustainable development,nee climate change, nee global warming
    consensus then Galileo, Copernicus,Newton and any number of others
    honored scientists were in fact criminally negligent for pointing out
    that the consensus was wrong.

    There are two old sayings at work here;
    He who pays the piper calls the tune and Follow the money.
    For too long the agenda driven government’s and environmentalists’
    objective has been to control the total energy market by demonizing and
    controlling CO2. The money source, government salaries and grants,i.e.
    taxpayers money, called the tune and was slavishly supported by
    government employed scientists and academic scientists awash in
    government grants.
    The government has been providing taxpayers’ money for “research” and
    now the taxpayers are calling for accountability from those who are now
    demanding billions more to be spent to stop global warming ,no climate
    change, no climate disruption. A game of three card monte being in
    played with science aided and abetted by the media.
    No doubt the ‘circle the wagon” rapid response ‘ truth squad” reported in a New York Times blog will consist of many of the same cast of characters, tax payer funded government employees and tax payer funded academics, who starred in the CRU email and file Climategate. Instead of forming a defense team which
    will probably resort to character assassination e.g. “Dr. Curry is a
    heretic” from Scientific American, why not challenge the ‘deniers’ to a
    series of open and public debate time and place to be agreed on by both
    parties. This might avoid Congressional hearings which seem to frighten
    AGW alarmists whose funding might, no will be be at risk.

    A good start would be to use Professor Richard Feynman’s,
    Caltech commencement address given in 1974 “Cargo Cult Science” as the
    basis for evaluating scientific performance. One quote should set the
    agenda for an ethical investigation of government funded research.
    “I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government
    advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether
    drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it
    would be better in some other state. If you don’t publish such a
    result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice. You’re
    being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the
    government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument
    in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish
    it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice.”
    With the release of the GRU emails and files it is evident that there is a worldwide collusion to hide the truth.
    Obviously you have failed to even peruse the evidence since you seem to
    lack a science background or the willingness to conduct an in-depth
    investigation to determine the facts and the truth.

  • klem

    This guy is a philosopher so I’m trying to reproduce his bizarre logic.

    For example ‘Misinformation about climate is criminally negligent.
    There are those who fund climate misinformation. Therefore those who
    fund climate misinformation are criminally negligent.’ ….No that’s not

    How about ‘Misinformation about climate is criminally negligent.
    Everyone provides climate misinformation from time to time. Therefore
    everyone is criminally negligent from time to time.’ …No that’s not valid

    Can someone help me out here?

  • EPatrickMosman

    “Just as the natural sciences are built on a persistent curiosity and
    healthy skepticism with regard to how we interpret what we see – never
    accepting any explanation as truth if that explanation cannot be
    supported by empirical evidence – philosophical inquiry reflects a
    persistent curiosity and healthy skepticism in regards to what we define
    as truth, empirical, evidence, and thought.”

    Apparently Professor Torcello missed or failed to take philosophy courses that covered ”
    persistent curiosity and healthy skepticism” in the hundreds of different schools of philosophy going back to the early Greeks.

    More information on skepticism can be found at;

    As the Professor proposes to arbitrarily jail ” skeptics and deniers” in a field of natural a sciences why would

    that not apply to “skeptics or deniers” in the field of philosophy?

  • jcgreen2

    Read my comments in the USA Today on Friday 4 April 2014 to see what we rational people think of the alarmists who spew their contorted diatribe of cataclysmic occurrences to come. I’m sure Professor Torcello will call for my institutionalization! Captain Jim Green