Martyrs for Science

James Hoskins at Christ and Pop Culture has a pretty good piece on the "first martyr of science," Giordano Bruno. I think Hoskins is right when he suggests that for both Bruno and Galileo, the science was a side issue. And he's right that we have enshrined them as scientific saints in a way that distorts the actual causes of their deaths.I'll be honest, I'm no longer sure of what to think about Bruno and Galileo. I tend to see both men as people who benefited from the system that … [Read more...]

Beware the Nazi-Marxist-Slaveholding Plutocrats

When venture capitalist Tom Perkins compared the attitude of modern Americans towards the wealthy with Kristallnacht, the series of anti-Jewish attacks in 1939 Nazi Germany, he earned himself a heap of scorn. For some strange reason, the Wall Street Journal seems determined to defend his honor.The latest attempt comes from Ruth Wisse. Unfortunately, Wisse actually misses the point. Perkins was making a direct comparison: he was comparing some acts of vandalism during the Occupy movement … [Read more...]

Quote of the Moment: Licking My Bear Cub

I've been reading a bit about Franciso Sanches, a Portuguese medical doctor and skeptic from the 16th century now mostly forgotten. He seems to have fallen into a crisis of doubt about fifty years before Descartes, and climbed out of it with a model of science some fifty years before Bacon.In an opening letter to his most famous work, "Quod Nihil Sictur" ("That Nothing is Known"), he mentions to a friend (patron?) that he had written the work nine years before. He had put it aside on the … [Read more...]

Jefferson vs. Story

The fact-checking site Politifact has assigned a "pants on fire" rating to Bryan Fischer's claim that when America's founders said "religion" they meant "Christianity."Fischer based his argument on a decision by Chief Justice Joseph Story, an arch-conservative figure in the history of American freedom of religion. Politifact points to a number of quotes from the founders that would seem to disagree. Here's Jefferson:In his autobiography, Thomas Jefferson spoke directly to the debate … [Read more...]

So Much Wrong, So Little Time

In my continuing quest to define the basic unit of wrongness I have gone down many blind avenues. My latest attempt was an extremely sensitive meter to gauge the precise measurement of a single "beck."Unfortunately, it got too near a laptop displaying this article about Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert and it went all 'splody.Although he also declared that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, as an aside he argued that only nations that turned away from the … [Read more...]