A Rant on Galileo, Columbus and Bill Nye


Recently a debate between Bill Nye, the science guy, and the dude who runs the Creation Museum was televised. My nephew, an astrophysicist, was asked to comment on this and he said science and religion are coming from different places and the debate was pointless. This sound bite was not used.

The debate was not pointless. The point was to get a spokesman for a minority of literalist Christians and make fun of him. If they wanted to have a real debate, they would have put Nye up against a Christian biologist, who would not deny that species change over time, but might ask some disturbing question that might shake the Doctrine of Evolution a little bit. But that wouldn’t be any fun.

While I’m ranting, let’s set the record straight on Galileo. He did not “discover” heliocentrism; that idea was around a long time and was published previously by Copernicus-to the approval of the Catholic Church. Galileo also did not invent the telescope and he was wrong in many ways. What he did was push his way into theology and tried to force the Church, which did not want to fight about the motions of planets, to agree with him.

He was an abrasive jackass who was neither tortured nor locked in a dungeon. He was “sentenced” to shut up and spend the rest of his days in a pleasant country house in Florence.

As for that brutal SOB Columbus, how did he discover America when there had been people there for millennia before him? Or were they not human? Was Columbus then the first human to discover America? Face it, he was supposedly the first white man to discover America and until a white man does a thing, it hasn’t been done.

Furthermore, he did not “prove” that the world was round and confound all the church men. The idea that the world was round was very, very old and the myth of Columbus and the flat-earth nonsense comes from A History of the Voyages of Christopher Columbus, by Washington Irving, written in a genre we now call historical fiction.

Don’t take my word for it. Dig into these myths for yourself. When scientific types tell the story of Galileo the Martyr and Columbus the Bringer of Enlightenment they are lying. This does not do much for their credibility on evolution, which most people cannot even define, although they are really, really sure they believe it.

One thing I love about real science is that it is not only O.K., but necessary to ask questions. When asking questions is taboo, as it currently is in regard to evolution, you no longer have real science. You have a dogma to be taken on faith.

Johnston, George Sim. The Galileo Affair (Princeton, NJ. Scepter Press


  1. I’m not sure I understand how either of those things damage the credibility of the theory of evolution. The theory is still backed by quite a lot of evidence; regardless of whether the average Joe really understands it or whether somebody made up a cult of personality around a few people, it still stands as the best defended idea about how species developed.

    1. I was surprised I had to search for a definition. Species change over time in response to their environment? Duh. Therefore we are just animals and life has no meaning beyond keeping your alimentary canal full? Perhaps that is taking it a bit too far-yet that is where some take it. I’d love to see some humility all around. Here’s an idea-maybe its right, maybe it needs tweaking.

      I went to Catholic High School with EXCELLENT science dept and was taught evolution. Also the Creation story-awesome story about the dawn of human consciousness-if you approach it as ancient literature.

      Little more humility, lot less fundamentalism, all around.

      1. I certainly can’t argue with that! I just wish people took the idea to heart a bit more often.

  2. “The point was to get a spokesman for a minority of literalist Christians and make fun of him.”

    The minority literalist Christians set up the debate. It was in their creationism ‘museum’. And they made money off of it.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      If Ham wanted the debate, I’m sure Nye liked the idea, since he seems to be promoting the fear that if some people believe in literal creation story, this will be the end of civilization as we know it. BS. Let’s all move on to some thing important.

      If I am ranting a bit it’s because I LOVE science. I want them to do science, not polemics and I want them to be careful to tell the truth, which always requires a bit of humility.

  3. the constant agrandising of these sonsobishes never ceases…even king james was a notorious hoemoe, yet the kristians put him up in a pedestal.forgive my canard.

    1. Forgiven. I am a Christian and I wrote a blog on King James and his boy toys-because the truth is important.

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