Ted Cruz Compares Himself to Galileo, Calls Those Who Believe In Climate Change ‘Flat-Earthers’

Ari Phillips

Ari Phillips Reporter, Climate Progress

Ted Cruz Compares Himself to Galileo, Calls Those Who Believe In Climate Change ‘Flat-Earthers’

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue.

Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.”

Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school.

Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up.

The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening.

Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position.

As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.”

“Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”

President Obama seems to have gotten the analogy correct when he said in 2013 that “we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society” when it comes to doing something about climate change.

“The planet is warming. Human activity is contributing to it,” Obama said at the time. “We know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods.”


This has been reposted from Think Progress.

Ari Phillips is a reporter for ClimateProgress.org. A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, he received his bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and dual master’s degrees in journalism and global policy studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously held internships with The Texas Observer, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan, and the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law at The University of Texas School of Law.

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