In 1632, Galileo was ordered to appear before the Inquisition in Rome because of his theory about the earth and sun. He appeared before ten judges. He was ordered to refrain from "teaching or discussing" Copernicanism in any way. Publicly, Galileo recanted his beliefs that the earth moved around the sun. His sentence of imprisonment was changed to banishment. He was ordered to recite once a week for three years the seven Penitential Psalms, and he remained confined to his estate just outside Florence, where he lived until his death in 1642.
Government is again playing a role in attempting to snuff out present day non-orthodox scientific views.
Claude Walker, attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has issued a subpoena demanding that the Competitive Enterprise Institute cough up a decade of emails and policy work, as well as a list of private donors.
"Mr. Walker is frustrated that the free-market think tank won’t join the modern church of climatology," writes WSJ.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman started the assault last autumn with a subpoena barrage on Exxon Mobil. His demand for documents followed reports by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times that claimed Exxon scientists had "known" for years that greenhouse gases cause global warming but hid the truth from the public and shareholders.
Those reports selectively quoted from Exxon documents, which in any case were publicly available and often peer-reviewed in academic journals, notesWSJ.
A WSJ editorial states:
Mr. Walker belongs to this climate prosecution club and so he unleashed his subpoena attack on CEI, as well as on DCI Group, a Washington-based PR firm that represents free-market and fossil fuel groups. His demand for a decade’s worth of papers on climate research is a form of harassment. The process is itself punishment, intended to raise the cost of speaking freely on climate policy lest it invite legal bills and other political headaches....I personally hold no view on the role of carbon dioxide on the earth's climate. I consider it an extremely complex scientific matter, where almost all who hold opinions on the subject have nowhere near the scientific and methodological understanding to form a sound opinion. That said, it is absolutely horrific for government to in any way take the position that it must play a judicial role in such a debate.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has asked the Justice Department to use the RICO statutes to bring civil cases against climate dissenters. Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently referred to the FBI a request from two Democrat Congressmen seeking a criminal probe of Exxon. Democrats on Capitol Hill have sent letters pressuring companies to disavow the Chamber of Commerce for its climate heresy.
Scientific debate should be appreciated and encouraged, not suffocated by the hands of prosecutors attempting to gain personal resume glory.
It should be kept in mind. every school child today knows the names of Copernicus and Galileo, but the names of the ten judges who sentenced Galileo have reached the black hole of history never to be retrieived.