Saturday, June 03, 2006

An Inconvenient Critic
I'm not going to go into the Algore movie, you can infer how I feel about that from my previous posts. What I will go into is a critic taking the opportunity of Algore's release to take a cheap shot at the Catholic Church. Of course this also gives me the opportunity to vet a bit on the "Galileo controversy" within the Church.

Jules Brenner, who writes for The Filmiliar Cineaste, had this to say about the movie:
A flat earth was inconvenient to Papal authority in Galileo's time. Now, what heresy is Gore committing with a scientifically based argument against contributing further to relentlessly damaging natural forces? If he's right about this, a cabal of the irresponsible who resist a sea change in energy sources and established structures of global economy may be bringing us disasters greater than a biblical plague.
It's clear Jules is no fan of the Church, and has taken this opportunity to take a shot. Well, here's "an inconvenient truth" for you, Mr. Brenner:
Centuries earlier, Aristotle had refuted heliocentricity, and by Galileo’s time, nearly every major thinker subscribed to a geocentric view. Copernicus refrained from publishing his heliocentric theory for some time, not out of fear of censure from the Church, but out of fear of ridicule from his colleagues.
That's right, not unlike today where a small army of scientists trumpet their view that human caused global warming is a legitimate concern, an overwhelming vocal majority believed that the universe was geocentric. Also like today, anyone who opposed that view was to fear the rejection of their colleagues, not that of the Church. The debate was helio/geo centricity, not the shape of the Earth, so skip a movie and read a book for once. Regarding Galileo and his relationship with the Church:
Many people wrongly believe Galileo proved heliocentricity. He could not answer the strongest argument against it, which had been made nearly two thousand years earlier by Aristotle: If heliocentrism were true, then there would be observable parallax shifts in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. However, given the technology of Galileo’s time, no such shifts in their positions could be observed. It would require more sensitive measuring equipment than was available in Galileo’s day to document the existence of these shifts, given the stars’ great distance. Until then, the available evidence suggested that the stars were fixed in their positions relative to the earth, and, thus, that the earth and the stars were not moving in space—only the sun, moon, and planets were.
Given the opportunity, he couldn't prove it with the resources available to him. Brilliant theory, but unprovable in that time.

Comments on "An Inconvenient Critic"


Anonymous Theo said ... (12:48 AM) : 

Unlike religious types, scientists are usually pretty happy when they're proven wrong. Ego bruised a bit perhaps, but happy in the advancement of knowledge.

Pointing out that scientists' theories aren't always correct doesn't exactly make faith a better road to travel. Faith hasn't changed much in 2000 years, but scientific knowledge has. Would you be reading this now if we'd relied completely on faith?

And faith is the reason the right wants so badly to disprove global warming, yes? (Well, that and an unrestrained market for oil companies.) That only God possesses the power to change the planet, not 6.5 billion of its inhabitants?

Gravity is still just a theory, too. Do you want to argue against that one, as well?


Blogger Chucko said ... (4:03 PM) : 

Hey Theo, glad to see you're still dropping in periodically. I can understand why scientists would find some joy in being proven wrong. They are definitely (mostly) people based in extensive knowledge.

It depends on what you mean by "completely on faith." The Church has always supported positive scientific endeavors (as it has supported artistic endeavors, though many detractors claim this to not be the case). Here's some extra credit reading Regarding the relationship between the Church and science.

I'm not sure why faith would be the reason the right would so badly want to disprove an inaccurate and disputed theory. I'd argue more that the eeeeevil corporations are a more prominent "bad guy" in this regard. Oh, humanity possesses the power to change the planet for sure, some of us believe that history proves the planet goes through cycles of warming and cooling, and natural factors contribute to the effect much more than human beings. In fact, your mention is the first I've heard of the faith based global warming theory.

You know, I did many searches and was going to go into a lengthy treatise to disprove gravity, but I just don't have the energy right now. :)


Anonymous Theo said ... (8:55 PM) : 

Gravity's a theory, evolution's a theory, and global warming is also a theory - because each has the backing of tried-and-true facts. Faith (and those who argue against evolution and global warming rely on it) doesn't even make it to the hypothesis stage.

Let's assume that you simply don't want to believe the global warming theory. Fine.

Can you back fewer emissions to give your family clean air to breathe? Clean water to drink? How about not funding terrorists by reducing our dependence on foreign oil? New financial markets in energy, clean-up, etc.?

The answer to all of those are obvious -- unless you're suckered by foundations and "think tanks" funded by increasingly desperate oil companies who see their future in jeopardy.


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