Rick Perry gets history exactly backwards by invoking Galileo in defense of his own global-warming denialism

In last night’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Perry foolishly likened himself to the 17th-century Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei in defense of his own rejection of the overwhelming scientific consensus on man-made global warming.

“Galileo got outvoted for a spell,” sniffed Perry. It was a reference to Galileo’s embrace of heliocentrism, the belief that planet Earth revolves around the sun rather than vice-versa. That belief ran counter to the teachings of the Catholic Church and therefore resulted in Galileo being accused of heresy.

Galileo was “outvoted” by the church, not by other scientists (as Perry implied).

Perry, as a champion of the anti-science Religious Right, is not an ideological descendant of Galileo, but rather of the people who condemned Galileo.

The man’s grasp of history — and science, too — is no better than Michele Bachmann’s.

POSTSCRIPT: This matter brings to mind a COLUMN by Mark Hertsgaard, which I referenced here about six months ago.

A few excerpts:

Will it take the Republican Party as long to accept modern science as it took the Roman Catholic Church? The church waited 359 years to admit Galileo was right — the earth does move around the sun. Not until 1992 did the Vatican officially withdraw its condemnation of the man Albert Einstein called the father of modern science.


Now the House Republican majority is launching its own attack on Galileo’s scientific descendants. Rejecting mainstream climate science became a GOP litmus test during the 2010 midterm elections. 


Republicans are the only major political party in the world that rejects this mainstream climate science…When virtually every major scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its counterparts in 18 other industrial countries, has affirmed that man-made climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank would continue to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.




  1. Perry is more like the church than Galileo…and both were wrong.

  2. I learned about four years ago that the Rove Propaganda Ministry uses a an interesting technique to keep their twisted deceptions accepted by that core 25% following:

    1. Identify their critic’s core and specific complaints against neoconism,

    2. Claim the issue as their own by hijacking high profile terminology,

    3. Then fabricate a new story line incorporating those terms and coupling them with religious and anti-government anger, sometimes race and say it over and over again like a chorus louder than anything else in the mainstream.

    The only reason Palin is in the game at all is, for instance, because she’s so inflammatory, ignorant and so easily manipulated/bought off. Palin, like almost every other Rovian mouthpiece is on a deliberate mission to provoke extremism in every area the RNC needs distraction from critical facts and artificial ideology supporting corporate agendas.

    It’s no surprise in this context that this requires the hijacking of scientific fundamentals. It is in fact prerequisite to their continued existence.

  3. All these guys must be morons in your book
    Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society
    Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences:
    Garth Paltridge, Visiting Fellow ANU and retired Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired Director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre:
    Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute:
    Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of nuclear physics at the University of Bologna and president of the World Federation of Scientists:
    Khabibullo Abdusamatov, mathematician and astronomer at Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
    Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
    Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa:
    Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland:
    David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester:
    Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University:
    William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus and head of The Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University:
    William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University:
    William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology:
    David Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware:
    Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa:
    Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada:
    Nicola Scafetta, research scientist in the physics department at Duke University, wrote a booklet proposing a phenomenological theory of climate change based on the physical properties of the data. Scafetta describes his conclusions writing:
    Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia:
    Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
    Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville:
    Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, Professor Emeritus from University of Ottawa:
    Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics and Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks:
    Claude Allègre, geochemist, Institute of Geophysics (Paris):
    Robert C. Balling, Jr., a professor of geography at Arizona State University:
    John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, contributor to several IPCC reports:
    Craig D. Idso, faculty researcher, Office of Climatology, Arizona State University and founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change:
    (from wiki)
    “What may have started as a sincere effort by scientists to show us that certain behaviors could possibly alter the earth’s climate has now evolved into a multi-billion dollar political and financial con game.”
    goggole wiki leaks and climate change

  4. Ah, good old Wilson, ever the wingnut.

    The truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists subscribe to mainstream theories regarding anthropogenic global warming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    But Wilson, in support of Rick Perry, wants us to know that there’s at least a handful of scientists who dissent from mainstream views regarding global warming.

    Just for the fun of it, I randomly chose one of the names from Wilson’s list — John Christy — and looked for some skeptical slants on his work. After 10 seconds of looking, I found this piece, which also mentions some other people on Wilson’s list:


  5. Wilson: I also notice that some of the people on your list are also on this list:


    And are mentioned in this article:


    Keep up the good work, Wilson.

  6. Yea that stupid Perry credited Lincon with founding the Republican party too!

    Sure cherry pick
    how about Craig D. Idso?

    No comment on wiki leak?

    From wiki
    “John R. Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) whose chief interests are satellite remote sensing of global climate and global climate change. He is best known, jointly with Roy Spencer, for the first successful development of a satellite temperature record.[1]”

    “In 2009 written testimony to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, he wrote: “From my analysis, the actions being considered to ‘stop global warming’ will have an imperceptible impact on whatever the climate will do, while making energy more expensive, and thus have a negative impact on the economy as a whole. We have found that climate models and popular surface temperature data sets overstate the changes in the real atmosphere and that actual changes are not alarming.” [15]

    This makes him sound like a wingnut?

    Mr. C ignore the obvious and stick with the lemmings.

  7. Give it up, Wilson, you’re only making a fool of yourself. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists subscribe to mainstream theories regarding man-made global warming. Your list of discredited crackpots and stooges for the oil industry doesn’t change that irrefutable fact.

    But, of course, you’re the same guy who has told us that you consider Glenn Beck “informative.”

    Oh, one other thing: You’ve never explained your previous references to my having attended school in District 205, which isn’t true. What was the deal with that nonsense? Just making stuff up, right?

  8. Well I said that in jest (Glenn Beck “informative”) and it went over your meager little head.
    You also got it wrong about 205. I attended 205 which was my reference to poor spelling and grammar as you often point out when you are on the losing side. You attended school in Dixon (was it a one roomer?) and didn’t graduate from college, although I did graduate from WIU and worked full-time.

    “There is, they say, no fool like an old fool.” WILLIAM GOLDING

    No comment?
    Yea that stupid Perry credited Lincon with founding the Republican party too!

  9. Wilson: I’ve never even lived in Dixon let alone attended school there.

    And what’s this stuff about Perry and Lincoln? You’ve mentioned that twice. What does that have to do with anything?

    I think you need professional help, if you know what I mean.

  10. Milton Waddams

    He is best known, jointly with Roy Spencer, for the first successful development of a satellite temperature record.

    Roy Spencer, the Intelligent Design proponent. Scientist FAIL.

  11. Sorry, it was Obama that said that, not Perry my mistake. If had been Perry it would have been all over the news.
    Oh, I recall you mentioning Dixon, my mistake.
    Hmm, I think I’d prefer someone with a degree like expdoc to determine if I need professional help.
    To protect the climate, to protect mankind I am for closing all fossil fuel plants as well as destroying all gas and diesel vehicles.

    You have convinced me that man is making a major difference in the climate and he is like a virus that must be stopped.
    I am also convinced that politics and money play no part in the global warming science.

    Does that make you happy?

  12. “Hundreds of scientists from across the planet are now speaking out in opposition to the corruption of climate science. Among them are Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, and the founder and first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service; Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite; William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University; Syun-ichi Akasofu, Professor of Physics and former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska; Patrick Michaels, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and past President of the American Association of State Climatogists; and David Douglass, Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester. Physics icon Freeman Dyson expressed similar skepticism in the New York Times. These scientists are as good and as credentialed as any working on the UN’s IPCC Assessment reports.”

    “According to Rasmussen Reports, 69% of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that some climate scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say it is “very likely” scientists have done so. Only 22% of poll respondents do not think it is likely that some scientists have falsified research data, with 10% undecided.

    A powerful reason for growing public awareness of flaws in global warming claims, according to Rasmussen Reports, is recent news coverage of a peer-reviewed study documenting how NASA satellite data show more heat is escaping into space than United Nations computer models have predicted.”

    Gallup shows belief falling as well.
    I don’t deny I just think it is arrogant for man to think they can control the climate. Although
    I guess a bunch of nukes could, but really it would be out of control.

  13. Nobody is talking about “controlling” climate.

  14. Wilson: You are utterly hopeless, The theories of the scientists mentioned in the article you cite have all been widely debunked, and the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists subscribe to mainstream theories on global warming.

    As for the polls you mention, they are less than worthless. Science is not determined by surveys of non-scientists. After all, public-opinion polls also show widespread doubt about evolution, but evolution is an established scientific fact (although I suspect that you’re one of the crackpot doubters).

    You are really a dimwit.

  15. I have a different opinion so I guess that makes you a moron or a cretin or an imbecile. You Mr. C are a lemming.
    (crackpot and dimwit was taken)

    I wasn’t referring to public-opinion making science (as you may have determined and ignored, but I am leaning towards you had no clue) my point was people are waking up to the lies.

  16. Wilson: If mainstream scientific theories regarding global warming are “lies,” as you call them, why do the vast majority of climate scientists agree with them? Why has virtually every study challenging them been widely refuted? Why are so many global-warming deniers also creationists (like your buddy Rick Perry, who says he’s “a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect”)?

    Your grasp of science is no better than your spelling, grammar and syntax. If anything, it’s worse.

  17. Lemming
    You are beyond hope. You swallow everything the left feeds you.
    We can’t agree to disagree, as those that disagree are dimwits and wingnuts. Your snarky replies say volumes of your lack of character or are you just “in character”?

  18. Wilson: Answer these questions:

    Why are you so eager to reject the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming?

    Why do you consider that overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming to be the work of “the left”?

    Do you or do you not believe in evolution?

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