A new book on Galileo thumps the tub for “science,” with predictable results, says a reviewer:
In his new book Galileo and the Science Deniers, [Mario] Livio presents the famed astronomer’s life as a parable for our own time. He returns throughout the book to climate change, creationism, and rejection of public experts as examples of a “striking similarity between some of the religious, social, economic, and cultural problems that a person in the seventeenth century had to struggle with, and those we encounter in the twenty-first.”
All this is a stretch to say the least, based on a simplistic view of how science works and its role in governing human affairs. Strangely, this same naïveté is shared by science’s loudest critics, who claim to debunk science by unmasking its human side. By perpetuating the myth of a science free of human judgment and flaws, Livio ironically winds up giving fodder to this cadre of contrarians, gadflies, and cranks — who also have the notable habit of comparing themselves to Galileo…
On Livio’s account, the parallel between Galileo’s day and ours is plain: In both, there is widespread rejection of “the interpretation of the results” of scientific studies “almost solely on the basis of religious or political ideology.” Once one is in the grip of a theory like this, the contextual details hardly matter, only that both cases represent inadequate appreciation for science’s authority. All this, in other words, is based on an idealized vision — an ideology, one might say — in which science describes the world independently of human values, speaks in a unified voice across disciplines, and offers up unambiguous prescriptions for action. This bears little relation to scientific practices of the real world, the collection of human activities we can actually go out and observe.Tess Doezema, “You Are Not Galileo” at The New Atlantis
Even Galileo wasn’t “Galileo,” for crying out loud. And science isn’t well served by uncritical fans of the concept itself, apart from day-to-day realities.
5 Replies to “Timely reminder from the New Atlantis that you are not Galileo”
But in his day the scientific consensus was for geocentric so and Galileo was a geocentric denier.
The parallel today would be that Darwinian evolution is the consensus.
A clearer role model for today’s “contrarians and gadflies” would be Lavoisier. He was chopped by the revolutionists who were acting on behalf of The God Of Science as defined by the revolution.
The God Of Science sometimes agrees with actual science and sometimes disagrees. The agreement is irrelevant. Correct Persons know how to follow the millisecond-scale reversals of Dear Leader Fauci.
Revolutions are about time, not facts. Perfect obedience to a fast-changing random signal disconnects Correct Persons from reality and logic, and makes them perfectly dependent on Dear Leader. Observational science attempts to phase-lock with the permanent structure of the universe, so it must be chopped.
It is interesting to note that modern science has now overturned the Copernican Principle, and/or the “Principle of Mediocrity’, which was a seemingly straightforward extrapolation of Copernicus’s, (and Galileo’s) observation that the earth is not the center of the solar system.
Stephen Hawking put the implications of the ‘Principle of mediocrity’ as such,
It is perplexing why Hawking would have said such a thing. If anyone one should have known, Hawking certainly should have known that general relativity and quantum mechanics have now overturned the ‘Principle of mediocrity.”
Directly contrary to what Hawking implied in the above quote, our best, and our most powerful, theories in science, i.e. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, have now come full circle from Copernicus and Galileo, and have now overturned the Copernican Principle and/or the “Principle of mediocrity”, and have now restored the earth, and humanity, to ‘centrality’ in the universe.
If anyone should have known this, Hawking should have.
Here are a few posts where I lay out the scientific evidence for the scientific fact that the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
But Galileo’s sin was not science for which he had the pope’s blessing but political as he apparently supported the opponent of the pope in the 30 years war. In other words he turned on his previous benefactor and mentor.
As then and is now, it is/was about power not science or religion.
Galileo’s thesis while true was not supported by science for another 200 years.
unambiguous prescriptions for action.
Yes we see this every day in regards to “climate”. In other words, that ‘free will’ thing, which doesn’t exist according to so many of these high priests, must be mobilized on a large scale. For the sake of the planet. If we are to survive. If the planet is to be saved from the fate of all those unsaved planets littering the cosmos.