James Lewis compares global warming true believers to those who believed man and the Earth were at the center of the Universe.
When traditional astronomy began to collapse in the years before Copernicus, True Believers reacted by adding lots of little cycles on top of the great cycles of the planetary orbits, to protect their faith. Trouble is, they had to add so many cycles on top of cycles that eventually, the whole system became a laughingstock. Ultimately you could explain anything you wanted — after the fact.The Polish astronomer Nicholas Koepernick — called Copernicus — pointed out that a sun-centered planetary model could get rid of all those epicycles with elegant simplicity. You only had to assume that the planets are going around the sun, not the earth. Suddenly all those cycle-on-cycle orbits simplified into near-circular ellipses. But he only saw the page proofs of his book De Revolutionibus on his death bed. He didn’t want to share the fate of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake, or Galileo Galilei, who was put under house arrest by Pope Urban VIII and forbidden to publish in the last years of his life. Because mobs of True Believers can get pretty nasty before they give up.
He draws a parallel between the ridiculous clockwork complexity of the human-centric theory of the Solar System and the increasingly complex theory of human-centric global warming that causes both unusually warm and unusually cold temperatures, both hurricanes and unusually calm weather, and any change in the climate or weather.
It’s quite good.
And then Selwyn Duke writes to agree with the substance of his article but also to correct Lewis on his history. Also quite good.
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