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Climate ChangeGlobal WarmingPolicies & PoliticsScience

Galileo vs. Santorum on Climate Change

 
I am hereby comparing Rick Santorum and US Senator James Inhofe to lizards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this reference to reptiles is not offensive to them, their families, nor their supporters. It’s not personal. It should be taken in good-fun. Feel free to compare me to an animal too — just keep it G-rated please (a father, I try to maintain ‘family values’ in practice).

Besides, these two high-profile US politicians are distinguished intellectuals, carrying a record of admirable ethical and forward-thinking public leadership, each with an articulate vision of the future our children will inherit, particularly regarding energy use. Any comparison of their thinking process to that of the reptilian brain would be as absurd as it would be insulting.
 

“and yet it turns” – Galileo (1616)

– mumbling under his breath, in a famous “giving the finger” moment to the Catholic Church,

which had just forced him to publicly recant his discovery confirming heliocentrism (allegedly).   

“and yet it burns” — Don Lieber (and many others), 2012

 –  reflecting the global scientific consensus that declares global warming is already happening, 

and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are at a climatic threshold.  

 

Santorum and Inhofe’s invocations of God parallel the history behind Galileo’s condemnation at the hands of the Catholic Church in the 16th Century.

500 years ago, the Church declared that Galileo’s publication of the “radical” observation that that the Earth revolved around the Sun was officially heretic and against the word of God. Pope Paul V, counseled by his own Inquisition committee, sentenced Galileo to house arrest for the rest of his life.

(Controversy remains regarding the identity of the the Chair of the Inquisition’s environmental sub-committee, rumored to be an ancestor of Senator Inhofe*).

Today, Santorum and Inhofe (and a cadre of oil-funded Congressional colleagues) declare man-made global warming a hoax and, like the Church 500 years ago, cite God as their chief authority on this highly complex science. Like lizards among the modern, they hold pretty much the same level of intellectual breadth (if not genetic residual) as those authorities did so long ago… fiddling all the way to their industry-greased bank accounts, while Rome burns.

In 1616, the Roman Catholic Church issued an official decree, calling heliocentrism “absurd,” “foolish,”  and — most dangerously — “formally heretical.”

In 2012, Rick Santorum said, “there is no such thing as global warming,” calling it a “hoax” repeatedly. He told a group of Colorodo mining students: “We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit.”

“The dangers of Carbon Dioxide?” he later asked a crowd of supporters in Mississippi “…tell that to a plant.” (See Tom & Stephen Colbert’s coverage of that.)

Senator Inhofe echoed his conservative colleague, calling man-made climate change “the greatest hoax ever.” Like Santorum, he invoked a greater authority — saying that denying global warming was, in fact, “doing the Lord’s work.” Such labor, it should be noted, is likely made easier by the $400,000 Inhofe has received since 2007 in contributions from the oil and gas industry. (No other industry has given more in total contributions to him.)

This doesn’t mark Santorum and Inhofe as  bad people.

I’m sure that they both love their children as much as I love mine.

Except for the fact that ignoring ongoing climate change will have a direct impact on the future of their children (and mine and the billions of other children living now or in the future) on so many levels: health, economics, food supply, water supply, disease, comfort — you name it.

Which makes their own blind aversion to tackling man-made global warming too much like the Church’s refusal to accept Galileo’s equally “radical” idea — and all the more sad.

Wouldn’t it be great if Mr. Santorum, or Mr. Inhofe, could purge the lizard out of their systems — just as the Church, eventually, had to admit the basis of heliocentricism?

I, for one, would applaud such a purge.

*Indeed, there is no historical suggestion that the Inquisition’s sub-committee on human resources and the environment was an ancestor of Senator Inhofe. However, Senator Inhofe happens to be the Ranking Minority member on the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.




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