My satisfaction over four successful lectures in and around Delft in the Netherlands over the last few days was somewhat soured yesterday by the news that the EIKE conference in Munich scheduled for 22-23 November (my next and last stop on my European tour) was on the verge of collapse because of threats from anti-science protesters.
Yesterday, I gave a polar bear lecture to more than one hundred 15-16 year olds at a high school The Hague who gave me their undivided attention. The teachers who invited me were very please with the content I presented: I talked about reading science papers and reports critically, hypothesis testing, and the consequences of being over-confident of one’s assumptions. Two days before that, I saw the polar bears at the Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam and spoke in front of the shark tank to a large audience that included several journalists.
My satisfaction over these successful lectures was short-lived. I found out late yesterday that the organizers of the Munich conference had had their venue cancelled at the last minute due to intimidation by activists from a group called the ‘Anti-Capitalist Climate Society.‘ Apparently, a crowd of about 20 thugs staged a flash mob at the hotel booked to host the EIKE meeting and threatened further havoc and disruption to guests if the conference was allowed to go ahead.
Shamefully, it appears that either the hotel did not bother to call police or the police did nothing about the activists’ threats. Why not? The hotel now claims the safety of their guests are their first priority. However, the increased risk to the safety of these guests was coming from the protestors, not from EIKE members and speakers. Why blame the mild-mannered scientists for being ‘controversial’ rather than the radical activists threatening hotel guests with violence?
For EIKE’s report on these events, see the Google translated English version here, original German here. Those in support of this anti-science extortion crowed about it here, while Breitbart provided a journalistic report here.
Pierre Gosslin at NoTricksZone has written a scathing blog post, which has been reposted at WUWT: Thugs bully Munich Conference Center – Force Cancellation of Climate Skeptic Conference
An alternative venue for the conference and accommodation has been found but it will remain secret for the time being to avoid more of the same threats. Organizer Wolfgang Mueller has had to really scramble to put the conference back together but he has gotten the job done.
Which means I’ll be in Munich on Friday and Saturday to talk about the polar bear catastrophe that never happened because of failed sea ice projections and bad polar bear survival models, and to support others who come to present their findings and discuss the latest climate change issues. As for every conference I have attended in my long career, I do not expect to agree with everything said but I will defend the right of these colleagues to have their say without threat of violence.
Freedom of speech must be defended in the strongest possible terms: without it both science and democracy are sunk. I agree with the conclusion of Jo Nova this morning: the best response to this pathetic attempt by activists to shut down a civilized discussion of climate science is to make the EIKE conference twice as big next year.