The only problem? Besides the jaw-dropping arrogance of comparing his own skepticism to Galileo’s science, Beck got his history wrong. Mankind already knew the earth was not flat in Galileo’s day. Beck did go on to correctly say that Galileo also fought because he supported the belief that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system.
While I check in on Fox to see the latest propaganda, I pity Newshounds for watching so much of it and then documenting the falsehoods and distortions. Falsehoods and distortions Fox says are “fair and balanced”. That is the first duty of a propagandist to undermine the meaning of words. Beck’s mangled history would have been where most conservative ideologues stop. Not Beck.
Beck said cockily, “If you know history, I mean the basic, rudimentary history, you know the word ‘Galileo,’ the man who fought against the power structure of his own time to enlighten mankind that the earth wasn’t flat and that the sun, not the earth was the center of the solar system”
It’s hard to tell whether Beck did not know who that “power structure” was or knew and conveniently left it out. The Catholic Church was the power structure that threatened Galileo with….that’s right torture if he insisted on continuing to claim we lived in a heliocentric system. Why would Beck leave out this “basic” “rudimentary” fact from his little temper tantrum. Because the reason is as important today as it was four hundred years ago. While there were probably scholars within the church that thought otherwise, the official position of the Catholic Church of the 1400s was that we lived in a geocentric universe. It stated as much in the Bible and the Bible must he held to be inerrant. The Bible explicitly states the earth does not move and the heavens revolve around it,
Psalm 93:1 (King James Version)
1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
The Bible also states the sun moves around the earth,
Ecclesiastes 1:5 (King James Version)
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
There are several passages in the Bible which indicate the authors thought the earth was flat, including this passage from Daniel 4:10-11 (King James Version),
10Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.
11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight there of to the end of all the earth
and Revelation 20:8 (King James Version)
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Beck is assuming his audience is ill educated or not intellectually curious enough to see that he stirred up an old controversy about whether the Bible is to be taken as literal and thus true word for word, or is parable filled factual inaccuracies.
The ancient Indians seemed to have realized the earth was not stationary a full thousand years or more before Galileo. Indian astronomy and mathematical models were to become a big influence on Muslim science. Arab translations of Indian texts were translated into Latin. Those Latin translations were likely available in Europe by the 12th century.
Some people are complaining, rightly or not, about the obstructions to health care reform. Health care reform seems like a no brainer. That we need health care reform is as obvious today as the fact the earth and the other planets in the solar system revolve around the Sun. Though it is the nature of progress that all the evidence in the world will not change their mind: Bill Nye – The Science Guy – was giving a talk when contrary to Genesis, ” He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.” After which, ““We believe in a God!” exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.” I blame the net. Because of the intertubes we get a daily instant snap shot of change. Some of the science and technology in the pipe line is remarkable. Why doesn’t social policy, politics, economics and religion change as fast as these other very important and influential aspects of our culture. I used to think much like Paul Krugman. Reason and knowledge will win the day. As cynical as I might be at times there was a certain faith in humanity. Given the time and resources almost anyone could be brought around to a more enlightened world view,
Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.
Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.
In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Conservatism as a road block to progress has always been with us, as Phil Agre wrote,
From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe, in nearly every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to constitute themselves as an aristocracy. These people and their allies are the conservatives.
The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people who the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use “social issues” as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. More generally, it is crucial to conservatism that the people must literally love the order that dominates them. Of course this notion sounds bizarre to modern ears, but it is perfectly overt in the writings of leading conservative theorists such as Burke. Democracy, for them, is not about the mechanisms of voting and office-holding. In fact conservatives hold a wide variety of opinions about such secondary formal matters. For conservatives, rather, democracy is a psychological condition. People who believe that the aristocracy rightfully dominates society because of its intrinsic superiority are conservatives; democrats, by contrast, believe that they are of equal social worth. Conservatism is the antithesis of democracy. This has been true for thousands of years.
If change and progress were just about politics, liberals would have out maneuvered and stayed ahead of conservatism centuries ago. It seems to be more about personal perceptions and psychology.