Gov. Perry and the Father of Science

There we were, almost at the end of last night’s Republican presidential debate, ready to declare that Texas had gotten off embarrassment-free. Then the moderator had to ruin it all by asking Gov. Rick Perry a question about science.

Asked about climate change, Gov. Perry repeated his claim that the idea of man-made global warming is increasingly in dispute in scientific circles (not really), and ….

“Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”

Here’s the video:


Buried somewhere beneath this flat, 6,000-year-old Earth of ours, Galileo spun in his grave.

Gov. Perry is actually correct, Galileo (nicknamed the Father of Science) was outvoted. BY NON-SCIENTISTS IN THE CHURCH! The church, as in religious figures who ignored Galileo’s scientific evidence in favor of a literal interpretation of the Bible and gave him a life sentence in house arrest.

Oh, the irony of a governor who has tried to pattern himself as a religious leader and an anti-science crusader invoking Galileo to prove a point.

The church attacking Galileo’s science sounds a lot like Gov. Perry attacking evolution and climate science. We’re not saying President Perry would imprison scientists, but he did already say the chairman of the Federal Reserve would be treated “pretty ugly down in Texas.”

To the church’s credit, it did apologize to Galileo, albeit about 300 years — or 300 revolutions of the Sun around the Earth — later. So maybe in a few centuries, the governor of the Great Submerged State of Texas will issue an apology to science on behalf of Gov. Perry.

24 thoughts on “Gov. Perry and the Father of Science

  1. Wait. He said the scientist Galileo was out voted by the church and was later found to be correct; today climatologists are outvoted by a Texas governor but…what, they will later be found to be correct? Or…

  2. For me the Galileo comment was priceless.

    Perry did not realize he was likening himself to a loner who was a loner because he was applying science against belief. Priceless.

  3. Ahem. I hate to ruin some good snark but your last comment “or 300 revolutions of the Sun…” should
    actually be 109,575 revolutions (300 years x 365.25 days per year) since the old Ptolemaic system
    had 1 revolution of the Sun = 1 day.

    Aw, never mind. Leave it the way it is. It ruins the joke if we get too nerdy.

  4. Seems like Molly might be around inspiring someone on the blogs. I couldn’t have said it better myself:

    “Perry’s Sarah Palin with a five o’clock shadow.”

  5. “Governor, I read Galileo, I knew Galileo, Galileo was a friend of mine. Governor, you’re no Galileo.”

  6. Perry plays to the audience in front of him, a skill which is hardly partisan. His conversion to the Right was from the Left, the Old Dixiecrat “Left”. The argument for and against “science” is playing to finite audiences with those in favor of science not in his political base, but who make up his political target dummies.

    The trick for targets is not to play the dummy, but to armor up, dig in, and counter attack his dummies.

  7. A colonel in the US Air Force and has a problem with science. I guess God just levitates planes and space crafts for us… regularly. Again, his comments are not intend for us, it is for the knuckle-dragging voters. How difficult is it to do a detailed comparison of the neo-con and tea party movements? Same old GOP, using tired tactics and just renaming them. POGOP

  8. The Neo-Con movement was the resurrection of Manifest Destiny Plus which held that we should not have stopped with a colony in Shanghai and in the Philippines, but kept on west until we reached the Straights of Magellan.

    The Tea Party is different, it is a resurrection of mish mash much older and definetly less Manifest. We have the Mugwumps, the Isolationists, the Klan, and a revived Secesh with hopes of returning to those halcyon years before Appomatox.

    The Neo-Cons and Tea Party point in diametrically different directions. Bush 43 was backed by Neo Cons, and his distancing from the Tea Party reflects that. That “W” turned his back on the Neo-Cons after his reelection showed some gumption that he hasn’t been properly accredited with. That also accounts for the phenomenon that Obama continued the revised W policies.

    No other President in our history has made such a turnabout in mid career by saying simply “what we were doing wasn’t working” and proceded to outflank Cheney and Rummy. Therein lies the crack in the edifice.

  9. I think this comment about Galileo shows there is a glimmer of hope that someday Mr. Perry will see that science and religion do not intersect.

  10. I loved the way that they set Perry up like that. Left him squirming…well, it should have anyway.

  11. “Galileo was outvoted” was bad enough but “for a spell” was stunning! I have to say that I haven’t heard Perry talk off the cuff much so I don’t know if folksy is all he can do. I mean, most professional comedians have more than one comic voice impression. Imagine if he had tried to suck up to East Coast liberals by quipping, “Oy, that Galileo, what a kavitchen he got, but he still called his mother once a week.”

    One of Perry’s problems is that he surrounds himself with nincompoops, neo-con (heavy on the “con”) pseudo-historian David Barton, comes to mind, and our old pal and young earth “Adam rode Dino” creationist Don “Stand up to the Experts” McLeroy. If all you do is listen to stupid, then after a spell stupid is all you know.

    My opinion is that a few more glimpses into Perry’s shriveled little piece of gristle that resides where his noodle should be will extinguish his hopes of taking up residence in the White House … fer a spell.

  12. I flipped on C-Span right at the outset today, the 7 AM time slot. The host asked viewers to call in and opine on the winner of last night’s debate – Rick Perry or Mitt Romney. Five of the first six callers said they were very impressed with John Huntsman and thought he was the clear winner. C-Span scrambled around and found some video of Huntman speaking during the debate. He seems to be an intelligent and well spoken guy, two assets that have turned into liabilities in the GOP over the past decade. Meanwhile stupidity and superstition have become winning qualities – George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry. And I’d be remiss not to mention Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell.

    C-Span did show a brief clip of Perry from the debate proclaiming that social security is a Ponzi scheme. Apparently we’re to believe that FDR looked into his crystal ball and intentionally set out to defraud Americans some seven or eight generations down the line.

  13. Actually, snarkers, the sun does not go “around” the earth, per se, because the bible does not in any way support a round earth. Nor does the sun’s passage have anything to do with establishing a year or a day. The sun travels across the firmament, then reappears again in the East after night is over. God makes sure the sun is on time for day, but day would go on with or without it, as it did for the first three days. You blasphemers tend to forget that the sun was not even created until the fourth day! You would also do well to remember that a “year” just means the amount of time in-between Christ’s birthdays.

  14. Tru B. Liefer@ What kind of gobbldygook are you trying to pass off. The year existed long before your Christ and long before any of the mythology called The Book of Genesis was conceived. The sun does not go around the earth, the day is one rotation of the earth, the year one revolution of the earth/moon center of gravity. This is the 21st century not the 14th which you are obviously in.

  15. Please don’t judge texas by perry, after all, I live in texas !

    As an aside, I wish we could find a better way to get rid of state politicians than sending them to washington


  16. I find it ironic that Galileo got ‘voted out’ on one of the things he was actually right about. A lot of what Galileo believed was wrong (e.g. his theory of how the tides work) and even some of his contemporaries were aware of that. He would be far less famous today, were it not for the conflict with (parts of) the church.
    Btw, there is the theory that the Galileo trial we know was actually a rescue attempt. There seem to be documents that show that his enemies were preparing an indictment not on his astronomical views but on his belief in atomism. The actual trial was formally about his teaching the Copernican model as truth despite a signed promise that he would do so only as a mathematical model. So, he got not condemned for full-blown heresy, which would have meant execution. An atomism charge would have been not about just a violation of an agreement. The theory says that the Pope went forward with the less severe charge in order to prevent the deadly other to be brought at a later time. What is undisputed is that the Pope had not much choice because he was under immense pressure and perceived as ‘soft on heresy’. The leaders of Reformation (esp. Luther) were hardliners on geocentrist astronomy themselves and to be perceived as less rigid than the enemy was not an option. The way it went the Pope could save face without feeding his former friend to the Lord’s Dogs (Domini canes). If the above theory is right, it may have been also about self-protection. A Galileo condemned for breaking an agreement would not taint the Pope (who would be a ‘victim’ in that case), a Galileo charged with atomist heresy could have hurt his former protector too (and he might even have been the true target).
    Now as then it is less about scientific truth bit about politics.
    Second btw: The rehabilitation of Galileo met quite some resistance inside the Vatican. Some high clerics still insist that the church was right then (maybe not astronomically but politically and legally).

  17. Crafting his image as religious politican can be a dangerous business for Rick Perry as indicated here. It does not take much digging to find the hypocrisy in this Perry political position. Just have a look at Perry’s faith based appointee: Elizabeth Darling, or Darling/Seale (not sure of this name configuration) of the faith based foundation created by Perry called the Onstar Foundation of Texas. There is a site called something like Perry’s one star scandal or something like it that shows pictures of this appointee flashing her breasts out in public. It also shows documents where she admits to having adulterous affairs and using government money for them. Government money=tax dollars which is paid for by you and me. Does it ever stop? Is there anyone with integrity left in any aspect of our government? Mickey Mouse could as well.