Please do not use Galileo to support unscientific positions on climate change.
[Yeah yeah, I know. I haven’t blogged in ages. I promise it’s because I’m busy with paying work, not because I hate you all.]
One of the hallmarks of crackpottery is to invoke the shade of Galileo. The logic goes like this: “Galileo expressed a radical idea and was punished for it; I have a radical idea that other people don’t like; therefore, I’m like Galileo”. Many of the unsolicited emails and blog comments I get about personal theories — grand unification schemes, claims to have overthrown relativity or quantum mechanics, ancient Earth gravity — use this kind of argument, the implication being that if I reject their ideas, I’m on the wrong side of history.
These emails and comments are mostly from harmless souls. However, Galileo’s name and spirit are sometimes invoked in a more troublesome way. Take, to wit, this excerpt from a piece in the Huffington Post:
“On the global warming alarmists, anyone who actually points to the evidence that disproves their apocalyptical claims, they don’t engage in reasoned debate,” Cruz said in an interview with reporter Jay Root on Tuesday. “What do they do? ...