GreenRoots: Inhofe v Galileo. Speak not in the ears of a fool.

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

KuangSi2Senator Inhofe commonly makes claims about the science of global warming. When Chris Mooney asked about Inhofe’s disdain for the scientific mainstream, a member of his committee staff responded

How do you define ‘mainstream’? Scientists who accept the so-called ‘consensus’ about global warming? Galileo was not mainstream.

KuangSi2

Galileo’s spirit looked on, more than a little irritated. But it wasn’t provoked to return until Inhofe said:

…God’s still up there. We’re going through these cycles…The [AGW] science really isn’t there.

That very night in Inhofe’s office, a spectre rose up from the floor in a great, billowing cloud.

JI: My God! What is that?!?

GG: I was once Galileo Galilei, philosopher of Florence.

JI: Wha…What do you want with me?

GG: I was sent to speak with you, Senator Inhofe.

JI: Ah! A good, God-fearing scientist. Have you come to help me present my alternative view to the global warming scaremongers?

GG: Senator, I’m here to talk with you about using God to justify your political agenda. It vexes me when [you] would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider [yourself] bound to answer reason and experiment.

JI: What are you talking about? There are still scientists that believe the score in not settled. Still there are people unconvinced at the notion that man made gases cause global warming. In fact, I have quotes from several scientists that say AGW is a hoax.

GG: By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. What makes one a scientist is not that his every utterance is of fact and not belief — but rather that he knows the difference.

You’ve formed a conclusion, given it authority by God, and used it as an axiom. Aristotle made similar mistakes: he believed that he could understand the natural world without observing it, and it lead him to error.

JI: What do you mean?

GG: He thought that he could construct an accurate view of the world without looking at it. But it was his conclusions that predetermined the result, not God. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

JI: I don’t know what that has to do with me. No one disputes that the earth goes through short term heating cycles every few hundred years. There is no reason to believe that this isn’t just another one.

GG: The polar ice does not melt every few hundred years, Senator. You are refusing to use the eyes and mind given to you by God. The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.

You are mixing a system of belief with one based on careful observation. In a system based on belief, nothing falsifiable is valid. Do you agree?

JI: Well, of course. What’s wrong is wrong.

GG: A scientific system is based on careful observation. Every idea must be thoroughly tested before it is generally accepted, yes?

JI: Yes, definitely yes. That is what I’ve been saying about…

GG: No. That is not what you’ve been saying. If an idea is tested, it must be shown true or false by the evidence of ones own eyes, and the work of ones hands.

JI: Uh. Yes.

GG: Then you hold in one hand that nothing falsifiable is valid, and use that standard to criticize science. But science contains only testable observations. Scientific fact is required to be falsifiable, and thus invalid by your definition.

JI: Uh…

GG: This contradiction permits you to say anything that you want. Nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages.

I lost that battle during my lifetime, and died having renounced my work. But it wasn’t my scientific analysis that lead to the Copernican Revolution. I changed the world by telling people how to build a telescope. My books were banned, but eventually people used their own eyes. We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.

JI: I am fighting the same battle! We are also in the midst of a natural warming trend that began about 1850, as we emerged from a 400 year cold spell known as the Little Ice Age. Today’s climate is like the well-known phenomena of the Medieval Warming [sic] Period-when, by the way, it was warmer than it is today.

GG: To misstate the truth of observation is a sin, Senator. When people devoid of whatsoever competence are made judgesover experts and are granted authority to treat them as they please? These are the novelties which are apt to bring about the ruin of commonwealths and the subversion of the state. The glaciers of the alps did not melt under the Holy Roman Empire.

JI: The science isn’t certain. Much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science. The threat of catastrophic global warming the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.

GG: Farewell, Senator. I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.

With sadness, Galileo’s spirit evaporated into mist. In the days that followed, Senator Inhofe was more jumpy than usual, but his opinions did not change on any topic.

*Direct quotes are boldfaced, and sourced from here and here.

2 comments

    • rb137 on October 5, 2009 at 3:02 am
      Author

    I posted it here.

  1. An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.

    – Eric Hoffer

    Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.

    – Laurence Peter

    As you can see, I am using Dr. Peter’s quote as a sig line.

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