Galileo vs. Bozo

On Facebook, in response to my post about the “Galileo Gambit,” Dudley Chapman recalled a saying to the effect that they laughed at Galileo and they laughed at Thomas Edison, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. I’ve found that quote in several places around the internet. Dudley added “The job of science is to figure out who is Edison and who is Bozo.” That may or may not be his own addition, but it makes a good point. Being laughed at can mean that you are ahead of your time or that you are ridiculous. Telling the two apart often takes hindsight, and so in the mean time, assuming that you are a genius rather than a clown is at best premature. The difference is that time proves some right. If you are right, then work on proving it.

On a related note, Jeremy Smith shared this image from a video, making a similar point: divergent thinking is not in and of itself the same thing as creativity.

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  • Mike Beidler

    You’re funny, James. :)

  • David Evans

    The difference is that Bozo knows he isn’t a genius. It might be a better meme if Bozo were replaced by someone who did think he was a genius, but was laughed at at the time and was egregiously wrong. Examples:
    Cyrus Teed (hollow Earth)
    Ignatius Donnelly (Atlantis)
    Madame Blavatsky (Theosophy)
    Alas, I don’t think any of them is memorable enough for a good meme. Any ideas?

    • James F. McGrath

      I had the same thought. Couldn’t we just get right to the point and put Ken Ham in the meme? 😉