From Peter Rees at Quadrant:
The Little Ice age was quite severe in Europe from 1550- 1700. After the prosperity and plenty of the medieval warm period, the LIA led to impoverishment, crop failure, starvation and a resurgence in witch burnings. Every misfortune was an excuse to accuse someone of being a witch working under the direction of Satan. Many of these accusations were the result of some calamity caused by an extreme weather event.
For example, in 1626 a hailstorm struck Germany and dropped a metre of hail. Two days later an Arctic front descended on Europe. Rivers froze, grapes on the vine ‘exploded’ and rye and barley crops were destroyed. Then came a severe frost the likes of which had not been seen for 500 years. Because all of this was so unusual it was determined to be ‘unnatural’ and there arose a cry that sorcerers and witches must be responsible and must be punished. Around 5000 were burnt in Germany alone. More.
Today, reputations, not bodies, are burned. But the loss of information is probably significant, whether it is about climate change or a variety of issues where the enforcers of a consensus are allowed to persecute.
That’ll help science today about as much as freakouts about witchcraft helped science back then.
See also: Can science tell us who will become a mass shooter? Who knows? Science might be better employed in understanding the dynamics of why bureaucracies, explicitly charged with the responsibility, fail to alert anyone to a credible threat to the public.