Galileo Syndrome

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. – Psalms 104:5-6

And yet, it moves. – Galileo Galilei

Headline, Florence Morning Sun (April 1616): “GALILEO FRAUD, CHURCH SAYS”

While Nicolaus Copernicus determined that the earth revolved around the sun, he never published his findings until the last year of his death fearing dire consequences.

When Italian astronomer, mathematician and physicist, Galileo declared Copernicus correct, he was immediately rebuked by the Roman Catholic Church and nearly put to death for suggesting a contradiction between the Holy Catholic Bible and science. Even though the Church had no standing, much less understanding of science and scientific study, they declared Galileo a heretic and Catholic followers chose to believe the Church over science.

After 400 years of overwhelming scientific achievement, today many choose to live in the Dark Ages rather than accept the scientific method (founded by Galileo, by the way). The rationale? The man with the golden-dyed hair has turned everything into a political battlefield. If his eminence says “the election is unfair,” it’s unfair.

“Calling an election unfair does not make it so,” a federal judge in Pennsylvania told the President’s legal team.

Judges from across the country both Republican and Democrat sided with the law of evidence. “I find no basis in fact or in law,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Steven D. Grimberg, whom Trump named to the bench last year,” The Washington Post writes (Dec. 12, 2020).

“The Supreme Court has a chance to save our Country from the greatest Election abuse in the history of the United States. 78% of the people feel (know!) the Election was RIGGED,” the president tweeted.

Sadly, he is not far off.

A recent field study conducted by the Post found that “Over 70 percent of Republicans said they agreed with President Trump’s contention that he received more votes than Joe Biden. Nor was this belief limited to those with lower levels of education: A majority of Republicans with college degrees in our sample said they believed that the election results were fraudulent.”

Most disturbingly, “Republicans most likely to make false claims about electoral fraud were those who… sympathize with white nationalists.”

How can we begin to find common ground when 40 percent of the country refuses to accept factual findings? How can we begin to solve the nation’s problems — immigration, racial injustice, gun violence, a deadly disease, even infrastructure —  when so many view everything through a political lens or believe a populist who says whatever his followers want to hear even though whatever he says is self-serving?

Conspiracy theorists, “Deep State” believers and Holocaust deniers are suffering from what I call Galileo Syndrome a disease that attacks reason and reality in individuals so insanely even small children recognize it. And if you think I’m joking, here’s a golden oldie that people still believe.

“Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat,” LiveScience wrote in 2012. “…it looks and feels flat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a ‘round Earth conspiracy’ orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

“According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009. Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.”

Another theory alleges that Israel uses animals as intelligence agents.

In the ’60s the John Birch Society spread the false theory describing fluoridation as a communist conspiracy to weaken the Americans.

Some even believe that a vast underground complex is below Denver International Airport which serves as a headquarters of the New World Order.

And of course the ever popular… Elvis is alive and on Twitter.

It all sounds funny and fanciful, but there’s a real danger when irresponsible news provocateurs become echo chambers of lies, and false theories night after night to millions who believe…

…that the drug industry has cover-upped the fact that vaccines cause autism.

…that the 2012 shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School were staged.

In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a group of people are chained facing a wall permitting them to only see the shadows of the outside world. Their perception is their reality. When one member escapes and walks into the light of reality, he returns and tries to explain the truth to the others, but they continue to believe the shadowing images.

The Earth is a sphere that revolves around the sun. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Vaccinations do not cause autism. There is zero evidence of any diabolical city below Denver airport. Twenty-six children and adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. And, sorry to disappoint fans, but Elvis and Marylin Monroe are dead.

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