Clive Hamilton is at it again – trying to stigmatise anyone who disagrees with his version of global warming as a “climate change denier”, and in this case likening them to opponents of vaccination.
Clive’s a nasty piece of work, and once urged a boycott of On Line Opinion merely for publishing articles by people who disputed some aspects of big environment’s version of global warming.
At that stage Clive was purporting to support the IPCC4’s version of climate change (although representatives of big environment like Al Gore were at the time making up their own facts). Now this version has been replaced by IPCC5, with claims of an increase in severe weather events, for example, withdrawn, along with a long list of other claims, including the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas.
I’m not sure what Clive supports now. If it is still IPCC4, then he himself is a “climate change denier”, and if IPCC5, then he owes some of those he labelled “climate change deniers” at the time an apology.
Surely that would be the ethical thing to do.
But don’t expect ethics from a professor of ethics, because being a professor of ethics might even make you less ethical than the next academic.
In a 2006 study, Eric Schwitzgebel noted that ethics academics were more likely to steal library books than other academics. In January 2007 he refined his study to find the evidence even stronger. If book stealing is a good proxy for honesty, then, at least as far as US ethics academics are concerned, they’re less ethical than most.
But why expect the study of ethics to make people more ethical, Perhaps, rather than establishing what is ethical, it is merely the study of how to complicate ethics in such a way that what was thought to be unethical becomes perfectly acceptable?
Whatever the case, it makes you realise that teaching ethics in schools is no substitute for teaching morality.
Not only would you be teaching students from the works of Hamilton, whose attempt to demonise (and even criminalise) dissent, should put him at odds with the science curriculum as well as any serious ethical system, but others like Peter Singer, who believe in infanticide and eugenics.