Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who is the Witchfinder General ?

The year is 1645 - the middle of the English Civil War. Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), an opportunist and witchhunter, takes advantage of the breakdown in social order to impose a reign of terror on East Anglia. Hopkins and his assistant, John Stearne, visit village after village, brutally torturing confessions out of suspected witches. They charge the local magistrates for the work they carry out.

The real Matthew Hopkins (1620 - 1647) conducted witch trials in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and other eastern English counties. Hopkins was never officially given the title of "Witchfinder General" officially but he claimed it was so. He used a combination of sleep deprivation, pricking and swimming to test for signs of witchcraft.

In the end he and his assistant John Stearne are responsible for nineteen hangings and four deaths during imprisonment.

Today's Witchfinder General is Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Senator Inhofe has a reputation as a global warming "denier" and is quoted on the record for his declaration,
"the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American People"
It is here that our exploration begins for a short time ago someone hacked into the mail server of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. These emails were put up on a server in Russia and have since been as corn to the crows of the global warming denier/delayer community.

Senator Inhofe upon hearing of the revelations of 'conspiracy' and 'cooked' data has suggested that the GOP should mount an investigation into the claim that the data sets currently in use have been manipulated to support a great scientific fraud !

So here our journey begins as we sort through the claims, counter-claims and distortions of the global warming denier/delayer community.

Like any reasonable science blog I will stuff these pages with lots of notes, references and the occasional poke in the eye socket of some of my favorite cast of classless characters who stand on their porch and waving their hand in the air proclaim with religious vigor - "I do not believe in global warming !"

So pack plenty of food (at least 5000 calories per day in an arctic environ), hold tight to your ice ax and check your crampons. in this thought experiment we are in the test tube and if we are not careful we will discover directly how much you can heat up the pot before the frog dies.

Concerning Mr. Price - I have the greatest respect for Vincent Price. As an actor Price was frequently pigeon holed in horror films, but he had the capacity for tremendous range which he demonstrated frequently and was a man not unfamiliar with the world of the arts as seen by his donations to the arts both in works and financially. Two of my favorite films have to be The Song of Bernadette (1943) and The Raven (1963).

Image Credit : Metrodome DVD

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