Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Recently, a group of scientists petitioned President Obama to prosecute those who disagree with the majority opinion of anthropogenic global warming. Regardless of your views on this issue, this should strike you as rather hypocritical and dangerous. Many secular scientists today lament the Catholic church for holding back science due to majority opinion and persecuting those such as Galileo for daring to offer an alternative theory. Now, the tables have turned and it is actually the secular scientists who are wanting to squash all dissenting views by threat of imprisonment.
I have compared some subjects in science to religious belief before, but here the parallels are even more overt. The problem with the study of climate change is that is highly politicized. The science is often questioned not because of the data sets, predictions or models, but because of the proposed "solutions". These proposals do little more than make certain opportunists rich via carbon taxing schemes and expand government power via demonstrably ineffective (but ridiculously expensive) environmental regulations. Due to these "solutions" aligning with left-leaning agendas and being the antithesis of right-leaning principles, many on both sides actually bypass true scientific processes and simply defend the rhetoric of the side that they feel represents their values. So again, these views present themselves as very dogmatic and religious in nature.
That is not to say that there isn't actual science to discuss however. The problem is that the majority gives little to no credibility to the minority scientific view and repeat mantras like "the science is settled" over and over again and label skeptics as "climate deniers". Of course no one is a climate denier- everyone acknowledges there is a climate and that it constantly changes, the question is whether CO2 is the primary cause of these cycles and how much man's contribution of this gas actually affects that cycle. There is actual scientific data that shows that CO2 levels and surface temperature bear little correlation while sun activity and temperature data are very correlated. But this alternative explanation is not welcome and those who use logic and deductive processes to question the majority view are labelled rather than listened to. There is also evidence that the data itself is being tampered with to exaggerate warming trends, so there are some very good reasons to be skeptical of the AGW position and predictions.
This latest push for legal prosecution is simply the next step in the outworking of the religious fervor that drives this ideology. But silencing skepticism is the opposite of good science. Even if the skepticism ultimately turns out to be unwarranted, it always produces better science. So let's drop the "settled" attitude and allow questions, discussion and alternative theories to have a place in society. Update: New calls for silencing "dissenters" via legal strong-arming has been reported in response to a slew of new scientific studies challenging the "consensus".