Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rick Perry vs. Galileo

I can't make much headway puzzling out what Texan presidential wanna-be Rick Perry might have meant when talking about science and Galileo during the GOP 'debate' last night. Steve Benen has the skinny:

Q: Gov. Perry, Gov. Huntsman was not specific about names, but the two of you do have a difference of opinion about climate change. Just recently in New Hampshire, you said that weekly and even daily scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?

PERRY: Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

Um ... "outvoted"? Is that shorthand for "was convicted by the Inquisition for heresy, ordered not to talk about his scientific discoveries and was forced to live under house arrest for the rest of his life"?

Oh, and Galileo was right - the Earth orbits the Sun.

What fact does Perry have zero doubts about? Executions:

"Brian Williams noted that Perry signed off on the executions of 234 people*, more than any other governor in modern times. This, remarkably, immediately generated applause from the audience. The question was, “Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?”

"Perry responded, “No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process.” Asked what he made of the audience’s bloodlust positive reaction to the question and answer, the governor said, “I think Americans understand justice.”

"The governor balks when presented with evidence on evolution, abstinence education, and climate change, but embraces without question the notion that everyone he’s killed in Texas was 100% guilty. The scientific process, he apparently believes, is unreliable, while the state criminal justice system is infallible.

Intellectually, morally, and politically, this isn’t just wrong; it’s scary. The fact that Republicans in the audience found this worthy of hearty applause points to a party that’s bankrupt in more ways than one."

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