May 20, 2010

Intellectual Freedom

I've just returned from the 700-participant-strong climate skeptics' conference in Chicago. The schedule was a grueling one, with proceedings commencing at seven in the morning. I met some truly fabulous human beings, listened to dozens of presentations, and took thousands of photographs. Many of the conversations I had there have blurred into one another. I know someone discussed this or that brilliant idea, but I'm having difficulty remembering just who.

Did some of the opinions expressed over the three-day conference make me personally uncomfortable? Of course. On any team there are people who play different roles, who have different skill sets and temperaments. What's important is that, despite our various philosophies, we share common concerns.

I'm aware that a certain contingent of the green movement thinks that anyone who attended the conference is beyond redemption; that merely keeping an open mind to alternative points of view makes one a bad person.

My response is to direct these narrow-minded thinkers to the following definition posted on the website of the American Library Association:

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
I've assigned this particular library association webpage an easy-to-remember short address:

May iFreedom live long and prosper.


UPDATE (June 11): An earlier version of this post indicated 800 participants at the skeptic conference. This has been superseded by a final tally of 705.


>> If we don't agree, you're crazy
>> Climate skepticism is free speech
>> Bullies need not apply
>> Why the Munk Debate proves the debate isn't over