Liberals are selective when discussing academic freedom. The Galileo affair figures prominently among liberal academics. They praise Galileo because he challenged the accepted science of the day. The Aristotelian scientists, astronomers, philosophers, and ethicists had adopted Aristotle’s claim that the earth was the center of the cosmos. Galileo disagreed and offered contrary evidence in an attempt to prove his case.
As a result, Galileo is praised as a champion of scientific investigation, the patron saint of challenging the status quo. A robotic NASA spacecraft which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons was named after the intrepid astronomer. There’s a website devoted to things named after Galileo.
When dogmatists insist that the “debate is over” on a particular subject, they are going against the spirit of Galileo. In science, the debate is never over. There’s always something new to discover even in areas where scientists thought they knew everything.
On climate change, we’ve heard “the debate is over.” The same is true of those who call into question the premise of evolution that inanimate matter evolved without design or purpose into the world we see all around us. To question these claimed absolutist fields of study will put you in the same category as a holocaust denier. Am I exaggerating? Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman made just that comparison: “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers . . .”
The new untouchable topic is same-sex sexuality. To even raise the question that same-sex sexuality is a debatable topic will get the questioner an appointment with the liberal inquisition.
Here’s the latest example of liberal intolerance and anti-Galileo investigatory educational policies at Marquette University:
“Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported on a Marquette University student’s encounter with his ethics instructor. The professor, Cheryl Abbate, was leading her ‘Theory of Ethics’ class in a discussion about the application of philosophical theories to controversial political issues.
“Among the issues listed on the blackboard were gay rights, gun rights and the death penalty. Professor Abbate removed gay rights from the list before the discussion began, with the summary explanation, ‘We all agree on this.’”
The university classroom is a place where sometimes heated and unpopular discussions are supposed to take place. The possibility of progress is mitigated if debate is curtailed.
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