The ugly nature of the current climate debate, with its increasingly frequent characterization of scientists as opportunists, totalitarians, or downright criminals, is also, unfortunately, not new. Copernicus (posthumously) and his prominent followers through Isaac Newton were all accused of being heretics or atheists. Einstein was derided by his political opponents through the 1920s and 1930s as a Communist—despite his dim view of the Soviet Union—or simply as a fraud. When a group of American women tried to prevent him from entering the US because of his supposed Communism, he quipped, “Never before have I experienced from the fair sex such energetic rejection of all advances, or if I have, then certainly never from so many at once.”9 At one point Einstein stopped giving public lectures out of fear for his personal safety, also now a worry for some greenhouse warming proponents.
The reception of new scientific theories has often followed the same course. Sadly attacks on climate scientists are becoming more violent. And as temperatures rise and weather patterns become less stable, complicated is used to justify the ostrich position.
The rest of this must read article on the reception of science can be found here, do take a look.