"At the hands of" is not only an idiom but also a cliché and can be replaced here with 'by'.
I'm with Contrex on this one. "At the hands of" is not a good choice of words here; "by" has the advantage of being both simpler and better, imho.
Oh for goodness sake
it's simpler....it does the job in fewer words
it's better...in my humble opinion
QED; no more reasoning required, even non-nebulous.
An attempted short definition of intellectual rigour (US spelling: "rigor") might be that no suspicion of double standard be allowed: uniform principles should be applied. If a topic or case is dealt with in a rigorous way, it means that it is dealt with in a comprehensive, thorough and complete way, leaving no room for inconsistencies.
McTag: I think I'd be hard-pressed to put that any better myself.
Intellectual rigour also means striving to meet the highest academic standards (in a teaching establishment).