May 02 2012

So Who Really Is Against Scientific Discovery?

History is replete with the social upheaval of scientific revolution. In this repeating saga of humanity, there are always two camps: the established ‘consensus’ and the heretical new thinkers.

The most infamous of these upheavals was the debate between the terra-centric (flat earth types) and heliocentric camps of the renaissance. The consensus was held by the Catholic Church who had determined (with loose and unfounded logic) that the Earth was the center of the universe – and they it’s smartest and most wise (of course)

The heretics were those watching and measuring reality: Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Nicolaus Capernicus and Galileo Galilei - some of humanity’s most brilliant and open minded scientists. As these people began to observe the heavens and make precise measurements night after night, they began to unravel the mysteries of the night sky. They discovered planets, theorized about them orbiting a large mass, and finally discovered the Earth actually revolved around the Sun.

For these amazing achievements these people were prosecuted by the naysayers of the Church:

Nicolaus Copernicus (German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; Italian: Nicolò Copernico; Polish: Miko?aj Kopernik (help·info); in his youth, Niclas Koppernigk;[1] 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe.[2]

Copernicus’ epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published just before his death in 1543, is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution. His heliocentric model, with the Sun at the center of the universe, demonstrated that the observed motions of celestial objects can be explained without putting Earth at rest in the center of the universe. His work stimulated further scientific investigations, becoming a landmark in the history of science that is often referred to as the Copernican Revolution.

By 1616 the attacks on the ideas of Copernicus had reached a head, and Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus’ ideas. In the end, a decree of the Congregation of the Index was issued, declaring that the ideas that the Sun stood still and that the Earth moved were “false” and “altogether contrary to Holy Scripture”, and suspending Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus until it could be corrected. Acting on instructions from the Pope before the decree was issued, Cardinal Bellarmine informed Galileo that it was forthcoming, that the ideas it condemned could not be “defended or held”, and ordered him to abandon them. Galileo promised to obey. Bellarmine’s instruction did not prohibit Galileo from discussing heliocentrism as a mathematical fiction but was dangerously ambiguous as to whether he could treat it as a physical possibility.[53] For the next several years Galileo stayed well away from the controversy.

The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on June 22. It was in three essential parts:

  • Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions.[59]
  • He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[60] On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
  • His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.[61]

I snipped these passages from the Wikipedia pages on Capernicus and Galileo. It is a disgusting and disturbing part of humanity’s history. These people looked at the world in open and objective ways and saw what was there, transpiring right in front of them. Yet the ‘consensus’ crowd was so afraid of the real facts they censored the real results and ruined the careers of these ‘deniers’ of doctrine.

Fast forward to today and you see the Church of Al Gore/IPCC replaying history. But this time they do not have the reigns of law, nor the ability to shut down and censor dissent so coldly and easily.

For a while they were able to abuse the scientific review process and stamp out contrary studies, but that could not hold and someone with a more refined conscience and a true sense of the scientific method let leak the emails that proved the conspiracy to shut out the heretics of AGW. The milder inquisition in hiding was exposed. Though some still hold out for a more violent response:

We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies.  Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay.  Let’s let their houses burn.  Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands.  Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices.

This person needs help.

As with the Heliocentric Revolution, it takes time to finally wash away the chains of consensus and once again walk in the light of discovery. But with so many more scientists today, much more capable tools and global data banks this round of cleansing won’t take centuries.

The following story at WUWT is a harbinger of new scientific enlightenment, and recalls one of the last scientific revolutions to sweep Mother Earth:

Today the Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes (online) Henrik Svensmark’s latest paper entitled “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”. After years of effort Svensmark shows how the variable frequency of stellar explosions not far from our planet has ruled over the changing fortunes of living things throughout the past half billion years.

By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger. Shredding the textbooks, Tuzo Wilson, Dan McKenzie and Jason Morgan merrily explained earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, and even the varying depth of the ocean, simply by the drift of fragments of the lithosphere in various directions around the globe.

The consensus of a rigid solid crust was blown away – again by a few out-of-the-consensus-box thinkers who pulled together data into a new picture of the world around us. The story Svenmark shows is how this Earth interacts with the galaxy around us. And how that galaxy can cause conditions that increase clouds, and thus decrease global temps as we are shielded from the Sun’s life giving energy. It shows how a cool Earth with lowered sea levels loses diversity and threatens life, while a warmer Earth with higher seal levels allows diversity and evolution to explode.

It also shows how CO2 is not a driver of temperature, but a result of higher temps and more water (sort of a “duh” moment in my opinion).

There have been many other studies out recently, showing how polar ice extent today is not much different from the 1930-1940 period (which is consistent with RAW temperature records which show a similar global temp as today). Another shows how satellites have disprove the climate models, and we all know how temperatures have not increased with CO2 for going on two decades (on average).

The theory of AGW is busted and dead. Now it is just a matter of time for the media to grow up and report on it, and the politicians to disconnect themselves from the mess. And it is a mess. You would think the CRU emails would have sent a shudder through all respectable and honorable men and women of science. But the group-think surrounding CO2 is so engrained it has taken even grosser events to begin to rattle the zealots. As with the Church and Galileo, there have been outright forgeries and fakes used to try and hide the reality.

But the truth of reality will break through the fiction of zealotry. At least we can say we are getting better at getting through these disturbing moments of lax judgement.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “So Who Really Is Against Scientific Discovery?”

  1. WWS says:

    Good analogy, and I wish every person who cries “but it’s a CONSENSUS!” would take a minute to consider how this previous “consensus” turned out. The number of people who buy into a bad idea has less than nothing to do with whether or not it is “true”, an error we are all prone to make if we’re not careful.

    I think the history of *why* the Roman Catholic Church was taking these extreme positions at that time is quite illuminating, and also holds important lessons for our current times. Few people today realize that these ideas which were to become “heretical” in the 1600′s had been talked about openly by philosophers in the 1200′s – 1400′s, and no one in the Church had seen any threat or thought it was much of a problem they needed to worry about. So what happened to drive them into such an extremist position?

    Simply put, Fear and Loss of Power. (which of course means loss of wealth) For centuries, the RC Church had held unchallenged social and political control over almost all of Europe. (there was that ongoing fight with the Eastern Church out of Constantinople, of course, but that didn’t affect home operations)

    as an aside, you could say that the modern EU is desperately trying to recreate the socio-political hegemony over Europe that the RC Church enjoyed from about 800 – 1500. The Euro’s never learn.

    Note that the fights against Copernicus and Galileo take place in the early 1600′s – very significant when you remember how that fits into the bigger context, for they were just a very tiny part of the socio-political upheaval that was sweeping across Europe at the time. By the way, this also has a big impact on American history, since almost all of the Europeans who came here in that period, most notably the Plymouth colony, came to this wilderness to get away from the spreading chaos and warfare back home.

    The entire medieval construct began to collapse in 1517 when Luther posted his famous Theses on the Cathedral Door at Wittenburg. (Might as wall call him the original Skeptic, or at least the first one to do it openly and live to tell the tale) Men such as Calvin and Zwingli joined in, and the fledgling nations of northern Europe decided they no longer wanted to be under Rome’s control. (the reason why this didn’t happen in southern Europe is still debated today, and is key to the entire north/south split that still exists) By 1600, all of Northern Europe was in open rebellion against the RC Church and had rejected it’s authority.

    How did the RC Church respond? Not by accommodating itself to the new reality, sadly, but by throwing out all the moderates who wanted accommodation and by taking on more extreme views than they ever had before. I suppose there is a lesson here – when faced with fear and loss of power, an entrenched organization will usually choose the most destructive and self-defeating option possible. That’s what they did.

    And in analogy to the current situation, you could say that the Protestants were the Skeptics of the era, the ones who rejected central authority and said men must think, and choose, for themselves.

    Galileo had the misfortune to be operating in Italy at the time, so the RC Church still could subject him to it’s authority. Their problem with him was NOT with the science, so much – it was all about Authority. The hardliners in the RC Church saw that Copernicus’ and Galileo’s ideas were being used by the followers of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli to further undercut the authority of the RC Church (which meant, in practical terms, to reduce their power and wealth even further) and so they reacted in a way they thought would preserve those things. They sought to suppress everyone they could get their hands on, because they were so burned up at NOT being able to address the real problem which was the ongoing collapse of their power and authority.

    Another lesson to be learned here – when an organization loses all sight of any objective “truth” and instead acts only to protect it’s own power and wealth, it is lost and will eventually lose everything it is trying to hang onto.

    If you know your history, you already know that this all came together to create the 30 Years War, in which as much as 1/3 of central Europe’s population was slaughtered – the greatest outbreak of chaos and bloodshed in Europe until WW2 surpassed it.
    And recall that while England (many of us had ancestors there at the time) wasn’t technically part of the 30 years war, England at the same time *did* have the bloodiest 20 year long Civil War it has ever seen, resulting in the dictatorship of Lord Protector Cromwell.

    yeah. there was a good reason so many people wanted to risk a dangerous ocean crossing to get over here.

    Maybe the overall lesson to take from this is that we can never be complacent about these philosophical conflicts – if they are not answered and settled early, they eventually grow to a level where an entire society has to burn to settle them. It’s happened before, and unless we are vigilant it could easily happen again.

  2. Layman says:

    Over 20 years ago, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Rush Limbaugh declared that the environmentalist movement was the new home to the communists and Marxists of the world. At the time I laughed – but looking at the CAGW movement I see a desire for power and for control of people’s lives – all wrapped up in the claim that it is for the greater good. And as I watch the liberal elites flying in their private jets and riding in SUV motorcades, telling us to do as they say – not as they do – I’m reminded of Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    “All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  3. Dan Kurt says:

    re: “the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day”

    Prediction. Plate Tectonics will be laughed at in the future as well. The new hypothesis is Expanding Earth Hypothesis. The late Sam Carey was one of the young (at the time) advocaes of plate tectonics who in his last decades became dissatisfied with the theory. Professor Carey tried to interest the world of science to look into an expanding earth to explain what was happening to the crust writing books on earth science. Look the topic up and read his books.

    Here is a brief link on the professor: http://www.science.org.au/scientists/interviews/c/sc.html#8

    His books are:
    The Expanding Earth, 448 pp., Elsevier, Amsterdam 1976
    Theories of the Earth and Universe, 206 pp., Stanford University Press. 1988
    Earth Universe Cosmos – University of Tasmania. 1996

    Dan Kurt

  4. momdear1 says:

    One more time…Here is the true story of what has been going on. For 20 years I have been trying to get someone to listen to me. I served on the Board of Directors of a national “Environmental” organization from 1985-1991 during which time the environment was selected as the issue under which the most people could be organized “to overthrow” our governmebnt. The argument was that it was the same govt. that was responsible for all our environmental problems that was also responsible for all our other problems and it wouldn’t be until all dissident groups could be united to overthrow the government that any of our problems could be solved. When asked what they proposed to replace it , the answer was “Communism.” When they were told they were beating a dead horse because Communism had just been proven a failure in the USSR the answer was, “It failed there because they weren’t practicing it right. When practiced in it’s true form it will work.” The environment was selected because just about everyone was angry about some kind of big nasty in their area at the time. Pseudo Scientific reports, written by nonexerts with Phd.s in religion, Psychology and other non sceintific fields (Algores) were written as if the writer was an expert in the environmental science field. Since I had been selected to serve on this Board because I was head of an organization with over 6000 members, which were then counted as members of the national org. (Membership numbers count when applying for grants.) The true purpose of this organization was carefully hidden from me and others selected for the same reason. When I learned that their agenda was to unite with other dissident groups and overthrow the government, I either resigned or was thrown off the board “for being a racist.” (depending on who’s version you want to beleive) A woman from ACORN was standing by to take me to the Airport to get rid of me before I spilled the beans to other unsuspecting members of the Board. . I took all the information I had been given about allied people and organizations to the FBI I was told that it looked like a list of who’s who of radical militant activists from the 60s civil rights and Peace movements. Allied groups included FarmAid, ACORN, SWOP (SouthWestern Organizing Project , a really nasty mean spirited organization claiming to represent militant American Indians and Chicanos on both sides of the border, who bragg that they have written anti American history text books used in our public schools) and just about all the other groups working for rights of Children, animals, housing, Poor, etc. Most of these groups were organizated and financed by the New World Foundation which was finanaced by Ted Turner, while Hillary Clinton served as Presdient and on it’s board of directors. The saddest part about all this is that the American Taxpayers are now paying the bill for their mischief since many of these organizations brag of having perpetual funding built into federal Agency budgets. According the the FBI when Bill Clinton took office, most of these organization were just about bankrupct and operating out of rat hole officeds in Washington DC. Almost immediately they became flush with money, started trouble making and legal actions, and started opening up offices in every state. George Bush 2 was not able to curtail all the federal money being funneled to these mischief making organizations. Obama has incorporated most the their leaders and ideas into formation of his domestic and foreign policy.

  5. Phil says:

    Recently I re-read an old Kurt Vonnegut book. In the book Kilgore Trout becomes a mental health expert when realizes that the cause of all mental illness is a belief in bad ideas.

    The AGW people need to read “Breakfast of Champions” they’d see why they are so insane

  6. cz82mak says:

    Ha!

    So warmists are the real Flat Earthers!

    Typically liberal that they’ve been projecting that label on “deniers” when they themselves are denying reality.

  7. Frogg1 says:

    Momdear1, all of what you said is very troubling (if true). And, although many conservative voices talk about this environmental strategy as what you describe, none of them have first hand direct knowledge. Maybe you should contact Breitbart.com and see if they are interested in telling your story. Also, have you ever been able to talk to Rep Pete Hoekstra? If any politician will listen to you about this it would probably be him.

  8. Frogg1 says:

    Brilliantly stated, AJ. Excellent post.

  9. mbabbitt says:

    I am careful of what I read on Wikipedia. Sometimes good; sometimes twisted a bit; and sometimes just wrong. From the extended readings I have done concerning the story of Galileo, his imprisonment is a more nuanced story. His greatest opposition came from the sitting scientific and philosophical community. Sound familiar? They used the RCC to prosecute Galileo but some of his most ardent supporters were clergymen.
    We often view the thinking of an age past as a form of stupidity, concluding that because we know know what we know now, for people of another age to be highly skeptical of an idea that goes contrary to what is generally observed (to this day, we say the sun rises in the east), we think them fools or neanderthals. In their shoes, we might believe we were acting prudently. As I understand it, Galileo not only made pronouncements on the solar system but stepped into theology – not his domain – and this was the linchpin for arguments supporting his imprisonment.

  10. Redteam says:

    mbabbitt: excellent point.
    “I am careful of what I read on Wikipedia. Sometimes good; sometimes twisted a bit; and sometimes just wrong. ”
    and sometimes very political.
    A few days ago when Obama revealed his new campaign slogan “forward” wiki had a good article about the origins and use of it in communists organizations. Well, that didn’t last long. It has now been completely removed. Political correctness anyone?