When the White House asserted, as if to comfort us, that it was working with social media platforms to "flag" (for deletion) data it deemed "misinformation," I was prompted to think about the relationship between freedom of speech and science. When our Founding Fathers embraced free speech, they weren't simply rebelling against an English king. They were rejecting an ancient, foundational truth of life in Europe: that kings and courts, that popes and churches, had the authority to tell people what to think and say.

After Galileo was convicted of (near) heresy by the Catholic Church in 1633, he was ordered to "abjure, curse, and detest" his opinion that the Earth orbited the Sun. This idea, heliocentrism, was actually decades old at the time, having been developed by Copernicus; but Galileo's expansion and articulation of this idea had offended too many egos in the Church — the government of that era — so he had to be punished. The most interesting thing about the Church's condemnation of Galileo was not the theological arguments, but the fact that the Church hired its own "experts" to assemble and articulate eighteen physical and mathematical proofs that the Sun actually orbited the Earth. Galileo, you see, wasn't just a heretic. He wasn't following the science. According to legend, after Galileo condemned his own ideas about the movement of the Earth in order to avoid physical punishment, he said "and yet it moves." He spent the rest of his life (eight years) under house arrest, and the Church did not admit it's mistake until 1992.

Science doesn't advance because the government is in charge. Science advances because heretics have new ideas, and some of them turn out to be right. When the government works to silence the scientists it disagrees with, or any voices it disagrees with, we all suffer — not only from oppression, but from ignorance. Yes, there are loonies out there spreading ridiculous theories about vaccines; but when you give government the authority to muzzle the loonies, you give them the authority to muzzle anyone. A muzzle was recently applied to Dr. Robert Malone — the inventor of mRNA vaccine technology — who had the temerity to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine may not be the best choice for everyone. Our modern "experts" have been wrong about COVID-19 transmission, wrong about masks outside, and wrong about healthy children. They will be wrong about other things, also; but we'll never know if we're not allowed to speak.

John Dale is a local author. His most recent book is "Lifeboat: America Reborn."

(14) comments

Blackhorsegirl

It would be nice if people actually activated their own brain cells now and then and not live and breath the internet. Those of us of a certain age remember when we used our brain matter and didn’t have access to the constant information of the internet which is the good, the bad, and mostly the very ugly lies.

People actually used to think on their own.

SJFRAME

We absolutely agree with BHG on this. People need to use their brains and think. The right answers are there for each of us. Look for them!!!

hagansan

Remarkable how this forum and the Cal Thomas column both fit into the radical right agenda against science in general and vaccination in particular. And Yet, the rationale for empiricism is based on evidence, even evidence which evolves and changes over time. It remains that science is the most effective predictive discipline in human history.

Hopefully, readers still have time to get vaccinated, even in our universe where no facts can remain eternally unchallenged.

Doc Samson

Oh, brother. First, define 'radical right agenda'. Oh, you mean those of us who believe the Constitution should be the law of the land? Do you consider JFK to have been a member of 'the radical right'? Because, if you take the time to look, many of his policies would have been considered such. Or have you looked at how many more conservatives are accepting of interracial marriage or openly gay couples or are actively environmentally conscious now as compared to 30-40 years ago? No? Well, Mr. Science, maybe, just maybe, it isn't 'the right' that's gone radical. [rolleyes] Not that you and yours would ever be able to acknowledge such, regardless of 'the data'...

hagansan

"Well, Mr. Science, maybe, just maybe . . . "

Thats "Doctor Science" to you, Mister Samson.

Spock Here

Well Dr Hagan, the more that resist the obvious, the more that may be unable to vote. I'm cool with that.

hagansan

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Doc Samson

"Science doesn't advance because the government is in charge. Science advances because heretics have new ideas, and some of them turn out to be right"

Sorry, Mr. Dale, but using facts will get you nowhere here! The Narrative WILL be followed, reality be dam... er, darned! Funny to watch literally every Prog-Leftie virtue signal in lockstep to make sure we know that following the herd is the only way to truth.

hagansan

"Science doesn't advance because the government is in charge."

That tune has a nice ring to it, but, like much of the conservative silage, isn't really true. National agencies support and fund a significant fraction of all scientific research, as witness the programs and grants of the National Science Foundation supporting STEM education across America, CDC and National Institutes of Health, with NIH's Office of Extramural Research winning the award for largest source of scientific funding on the planet. There's also the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, DOE Office of Science, Agricultural Research Service, not to mention such classics as the Manhattan Project and current $100 Billion Endless Frontier Act working it's way through Congress today. Of Course Doc Samson knows all this, but chooses to simply ignore it.

Support of science fits in nicely to a progressive ideal that government action is an essential factor in building a better world.

Spock Here

I think it's ok to put a lid on "scientists" who believe in demon sperm and got their degree from Youtube.

Doc Samson

Well, good for you, peanut (Nuri said it's okay to call people that without being creepy)!

Fascist censorship is always good when it's done for "The Cause", right? Lord knows, we need to make sure only Leftist purity-tested info reaches the masses 'cause they's just too stoopid to discern for themselfs! [lol]

Spock Here

It's hard to imagine someone who always sounds stupider than the last time he posted, "peanut." How on earth do you manage to do it?

Doc Samson

Given that you rarely, if ever, are capable of addressing the actual issues brought up? I'm guessing your just compensating for your intellectual handicap because you just don't understand. Also, love that you have "adopted" my terms of endearment tactic after stating how creepy it was. Guess it wasn't too creepy for ya, aye? [lol] Maybe stick to the Teen Vogue science articles, my friend, they seem to be about your speed.

Alsochristie

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