Climate change is indeed a hot topic and recently announced presidential candidate Ted Cruz is making sure he's on everyone's radar by participating, his most recent comment likening himself to Galileo Galilei.
Cruz is portraying himself and other climate change skeptics as Galileo figures going against the general idea, being branded as wrong but actually right in the end. By taking this route, the Texas senator is basically suggesting that he and all the other climate change skeptics are on the right side of science history, brave heretics willing to stand up to conventional wisdom.
It's a dramatic analogy and it would have worked if it was actually used right.
There are two problems with Cruz's Galileo reference. First, Galileo went against the power structure in place during the time, which is the Catholic Church. If Cruz is going to be Galileo-like, this would mean the senator should not be on the same side as the current power structure in United States which is the Republican Party and the oil companies. Galileo was an anti-authoritarian and Cruz is not.
Second, Galileo pointed to telling observations that the scientific community is not paying attention to. Climate change skeptics like Cruz, on the other hand, are blatantly ignoring scientific evidence and passing them off as conspiracy theories.
These problems shouldn't be surprising though given Cruz's understanding of Galileo is faulty.
"Today, the global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers. It used to be [that] it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier," he said.
Historians of science noted that Galileo did not essentially fight the idea that the Earth was flat. Rather, he got into trouble for supporting Copernicanism, the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun.
The climate change debate continues to rage and while there are skeptics who rely on hard science to prove their point, many more are of the belief that global warming is simply a figment of the imagination. Not even when polar ice caps are melting and oceans are warming can they be convinced that human activity is contributing to the environment's decline. Some even go to great lengths as banning the use of the terms "global warming" and "climate change" as Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been reported to have imposed in his state's agencies.