Bohemian Rhapsody is about Galileo

queen

By @ScienceWasWrong

For too long I have been silent on this issue. Queen’s 1975 hit single Bohemian Rhapsody is about Galileo. There, I said it. I’m fully aware of the backlash this post will bring. This is the hill I’ve chosen to die on. You may think I’m crazy, but they said the same thing about Galileo and they were wrong and he was right and that can only mean that I am right as well. Eppur si muove.

I will now break the song down verse by verse to defend my contention.

Is this the real life,
or is this just fantasy?

A blatant reference to Galileo’s 1632 book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in which he defended the reality of the heliocentric model against the geocentric fantasy land of Ptolemy.

Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

Religious dogma is caught in the landslide of scientific progress triggered by the Copernican revolution from which it has no means of escape.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see

One has only to look to the skies, to the phases of Venus and movement of Jupiter’s moons, to see that Galileo is correct.

I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I’m easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.

An obvious reference to Galileo’s famous experiment in which he dropped spheres of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to test Aristotle’s theory that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. It was easy to convince people of the theory, but it was also easy to disprove. Whether their mass is high or low, they all fall at the same rate. The slight irregularity in their fall times due to wind resistance doesn’t really matter, to Galileo.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead.

The man is geocentrism and the gun is Galileo’s telescope.

Mama, life had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Galileo’s mother is a metaphor for science. The life of modern science had just begun, but Galileo is about to throw his life away for it.

Mama, ooh,
Didn’t mean to make you cry,
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Galileo says his goodbyes to science before facing the inquisition. If he is found guilty, it should carry on making discoveries without him.

Too late, my time has come,
Sent shivers down my spine,
Body’s aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.

Galileo is getting old and is ready to leave the trolls and naysayers behind to face the truth (as I’m doing here).

Mama, ooh (anyway the wind blows),
I don’t wanna die,
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.

Nothing to see here, just Galileo being all melodramatic about the possibility of being put to death.

I see a little silhouetto of a man.

The little silhouetto of man is Pope Urban VIII.

Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?

Scaramouche was a roguish clown character in Italian comedies who dressed in black, much like Galileo’s inquisitor, Vincenzo Maculani, who preferred to wear a black cappa instead of the traditional bright purple garb of a cardinal. The Pope is asking Maculani to interrogate Galileo, or do the fandango – a dance for two.

 

Galileo_facing_the_Roman_Inquisition

Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me.

The inquisitors try to scare Galileo into recanting by threatening him with the wrath of God.

(Galileo) Galileo. (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro Magnifico.

I’m not sure what this part of the song has to do with Galileo.

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

The choir voice of science interjects on behalf of Galileo to the monstrosity of the Catholic church.

Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Never, never let you go
Never let me go, oh.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let me go.)

The choir voices of science and religion do battle over what is to become of Galileo.

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

Galileo is found vehemently suspect of heresy.

[headbanging guitar solo]

This represents the badassery of Galileo’s quip: “Eppur si muove.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.

Galileo reflecting on the fact that house arrest kinda sucks.

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.

Galileo is depressed that nothing he did really mattered because assorted dipshits and elected officials in the 21st century will think that he was put to death for discovering that the earth wasn’t flat for some reason and compare themselves to him whilst making stupid anti-science arguments.

Any way the wind blows.

Seriously, he doesn’t care about the stupid wind resistance.

waynes world

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 An Interview with TheoryFail

By @TakeThatGMOs & @TheoryFail

A while ago we published an interview with @TakeThatDarwin which provided some interesting insight into the origins of the TakeThat™ Crowd and more details and information on @TakeThatDarwin and the whole TakeThat Family in general. 

This time, I’ll be asking @TheoryFail, a “handsome Brit” and the Prince of the TakeThat throne. 

Oh, and technically he is a TakeThat account even though he doesn’t have ‘TakeThat’ in his name as he runs the account with the same backbone of the other accounts. Here goes’

1) To start off I have to ask you about how you began with the account. When was it created and did it have anything to do with TTDarwin at first or did you discover him later? How did you know about TTD and what did you think of what he was doing? How did the relationship between you two grow and reach what it is today? 

I was one of TTDs very early followers. I think one of his tweets was RTd into my timeline by @anarchicteapot (who is wonderful, by the way. You should all go and follow,) and I started interacting with TTD at a very minor level, throwing him the odd specimen here and there. I followed as much for the comedy as the creationists. 

I had a bit of an idea to do a similar sort of thing pretty much as soon as I saw what TTD was doing, but it took me quite some time to figure out exactly what my spin would be. I finally had a eureka moment in January 2014 and the rest is history. 

2) What would you say is the ‘ultimate’ purpose of your account? How do you plan on achieving that? Why did you choose TheoryFail and did you have a different name at first? 

I’m not sure that I have an ultimate goal with regards to where I want to take @TheoryFail. It started of as a lighthearted way to shine some light on the dark world of creationism and science denialism, but now I like to think of it more as a way to highlight the need for good critical thinking skills. 

I’d like to expand into podcasting, and of course the TakeThats are doing that in general. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. Some kind of large TakeThat gathering has been suggested, but that’s a while off!

I’ve always been @TheoryFail. The name came after a 2 minute brainstorming session, and eliminating other options because the Twitter usernames were either already taken, or too long. 

Having TakeThatSomething didn’t even cross my mind. This was before the upsurge of TakeThat accounts, and I think what TTD and I do is, albeit superficially similar, very different. TTD has regularly spoken about his unwillingness to engage, whereas I like to try and unpick the thinking behind the creationists accounts. 

3) How did you grow and become known. Did you TTD provide help to your account?

I think I sent an early tweet to TTD saying something along the lines of “Hey, I’m doing what you do, but for ‘only a theory'” Then I got a few mentions by TTD and a LOT of support from people like @tattoosandbones and I picked up 1000 followers in a short period of time. 

4) Why did you choose the specific fields of pseudoscience you chose? And generally, why did you stick with evolution instead of branching out? 

We all know that ‘The Question’ is ‘if we evolved from monkeys and apes, why are there still monkeys and apes?’ Well, I spent a bit of time looking at what other tropes creationists trotted out to try and hide away from scary evolutionists. The ‘evolution is ONLY a theory’ statement stuck out, partially because it’s so easy to discredit, but also because it was SO widespread. 

I tend to stick with evolution for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it’s important. Creationism is damaging to our advancement in many differing  ways, and we really should have moved on from it by now. Secondly, it’s really easy to research. There are great internet resources that anyone can use. I’m not special. I don’t have specific education in evolution, nor do I pretend to, but I do have a firm grip on the basics, which is all you really need to flummox most creationists. 

5) How do you interact with your specimens? How do you find them? Is there a group of people you generally always RT? 

As I’ve mentioned before, I really try not to be a dick. This doesn’t always work, but I figure that people are more likely to respond if you’re relatively nice to them. 

I don’t have a huge deal of time to manage what I’m going, believe it or not, so I don’t tend to be able to exercise my witty repartee in the same way TTD does. I think this leads me to have a different set of followers to some of the other TakeThats, who are often more willing to jump in and interact. 

As for finding them; I used to use a whole raft of search terms to try and weed all of them out, but now I tend to use just one. I RT enough mind bending ideas into my followers timelines that if I did much more, I think there’d be a revolt. 

I have a list of particularly odd accounts that I’ve RT’d in the past and I occasionally dip into that, if it’s a quiet day, but unfortunately, it barely gets touched at the moment. 

6) How do you think your account is generally helping towards stopping people from getting scientific theories confused with mainstream theories? How is your account contributing to stamping out pseudoscience in general?

I’m not sure that it does, or that it can. Again, from my point of view, it’s more about pointing out bad *thinking* rather than factual inaccuracies. Most of the people I RT have no interest in what evolution is, for example. But if I can help point out errors in that way of thinking, the onlookers can learn. Hopefully. 

I’m under no pretence that the ‘specimens,’ as TTD likes to call them, will suddenly open their eyes to good science, but I think the best we can hope is to both show why they’re wrong, and get people interested in science and critical thinking. 

7) Is there anything specific you want to say to your followers?

Surely they hear enough from me already‽ 

More seriously, I really appreciate the interaction with my followers. I *try* to engage with as many of them as possible. Do say hello.  

8) What do you have in mind for the future? Do you have things in preparation? What do you treat your account as, ie a hobby or a task, etc.? 

As I said, I’d like to branch out – possibly into podcasting, maybe a double act with TTD. Nothing is being planned right yet, but I’m open to suggestions – maybe getting some of my flowers involved in a project. I tend to attract some really interesting people. 

My account falls somewhere in between a hobby and a task. I tend to think of it as ‘outreach.’ Something with a vague-ish definition that can’t really be pinned down. A bit like ‘kind.’

9) Finally, what is the best type of gin? 

Hendricks. With a decent tonic and a decent slice of cucumber. 

Failing that, Bombay Sapphire, tonic and a decent squeeze of lime. The lime’s important. It’s for taste, not a garnish. 

Does Donald Trump believe in evolution?

By @TakeThatScience






Note: This is satirical and is not meant to be taken seriously.
Donald Trump has declared his presidential candidacy. He has given many interviews but the topic of evolution hasn’t come up yet. A Google search doesn’t reveal any insights into Trump’s opinions about evolutionary biology either. So I went straight to the man himself and asked him: Do you believe in evolution? Here is his response:
Trump: “You know, I don’t really believe in that stuff. Man coming from monkeys and apes? I don’t think so. We are much more advanced than animals. We are smarter by far. Could a monkey write ‘The Art of the Deal’? Could a monkey oversee the development of the most luxurious golf courses in the world? Could an animal produce ‘The Apprentice’, one of the most successful television shows in history? Hell no!”

“Show me a monkey navigating the New York real estate scene. Show me a gorilla that is a self-made multi-billionaire. I don’t think you can. So you liberals can believe in evolution. You can trust the scientists. The same scientists, by the way, that push global warming even as New York gets colder and colder every winter. It’s absurd.”

“I’m sure the media will take these quotes and run with them as they always do. It really is pathetic. But the American people agree with me about evolution and many other issues including immigration, jobs, ISIS, and so on. The poll numbers show that. The people love Trump. Make America great again!”

What’s the Next Battle Against Pseudoscience on GMOs? 

By @TakeThatGMOs

  The ‘War on Science’ as it is called, is an endless ‘war’ that will last with us humans however ling we live. The main objectives, should they exist, can never be fully fulfilled. As Steven Novella puts it – and as some wars go – when it comes to the War on Science, the only focus should be on the next battle, and not the whole war, as this is one of the most unpredictable and unstable wars. When it comes to GMOs, what should that next battle be?

First up: politics

The current political battleground hangs mostly on labelling GMOs in the USA and the current delays in the EU. Things in either side are going very slowly. The anti-GMO movement certainly  hasn’t persuaded everyone to join in and label, and it appears that quite the opposite is happening, with celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and many others using their fame, in a way, to help push for the pro-GMO side. The public is getting to hear more of the pro-GMO side and the pro-GMO side is louder than ever, as it showed during the March Against Myths (counter protesters against the March Against Monsanto) campaign. 

Another side here is the Republicans, who tend to be more pro-corporate and so may support GMOs more. This however may be shaken up with Bernie Sanders, who gets the case about labelling wrong. As I’ve discussed in a previous article, labelling GMOs is the wrong side to take here, and won’t be the most helpful choice. It is also important to remember that labelling is only the first step, and making labelling a federal mandate will only open up the doors for more action against GMOs. If GMOs do get down that very unlikely path, the end for biotech would be near. 

Which gets me to my point. Many, many scientific organisations, biotech companies (including drug manufacturers) and millions of people would stand against such a law. Monsanto would probably take it to the SCOTUS and scientific organisations would stand against such a thing in either way. Since GMOs are under no real threat right now, considering Obama’s very scientific agenda, we can try avoiding all of this by furthering science to the public. 

Most common myths

GMOs are practically enshrined in myths. So much information and, therefore, misinformation exists about GMOs. It is arguably the biggest pseudoscience topic, as I’ve argued before.

The existence of so many fronts to battle on and the lack of a public consensus as well as the education system being littered with such misinformation and the general image of ‘natural is better’ makes this a very tough battle. To summarise previous statements from this article, the consensus on vaccines and evolution is far, far bigger in the scientific community, and those denying evolution are the minority of the US population. Likewise, a big scientific consensus exists on vaccines and most of the population is vaccinated or is pro-vaccines. It is true that GMOs have a big scientific consensus, beating climate change and standing at 88%, however this is no good as the public has the worst scientific record on GMOs, with the pro-science side only being a major minority. 

  I always use this picture to demonstrate my points. I’m tired of doing that. 

To obviously win the battle on the public front (a very strategic front as it affects legislation as well) we need to go in one bit by another. We don’t have the huge majority of scientists that quickly come through and debunk creationism. We have a lot of scientists worrying about the GMOs, yet it’s just as much of a pseudoscience as creationism. To be fair the most concerns aren’t about safety but wrong information is wrong information. This is bad (obviously). To make problems worse, the GMOs campaign also (similarly to the vaccines and climate change campaigns) opens up to economics and ethics. Those things don’t make the issue here any easier. Evolution v creationism only focuses on science. That’s it. But the extent of the aspects affecting GMOs here is one of the reasons the pseudoscience on GMOs hasn’t been stopped. The above things mentioned makes this THE worst issue to deal with. 

To slowly and gradually win over public support, what’s the next battle that should be fought over GMOs? The scientific bit. That may, unhelpfully, sound a bit vague. Currently the debated health impacts and environmental impacts are what inspire people to join. These are the false ideas that make people passionate and want to spread their messege. Thankfully as well, more and more of the public knows not to fall for this and instead picks on Monsanto, ethics and economics (upcoming article). Getting people in the ‘pro-GMO; anti-Monsanto’ area is a great success on our part and can get us to be able to drive home the labelling question and solve the larger problem on the small, meaningless details. 

Here’s the thing, the issue over safety is not only the backbone of the anti-GMO movement but also it’s heart. Taking out that heart will kill the rest of the body. 

It is also the most useful battle as we’re already winning it. I see many people, for example in SciShow’s recent video about GMOs, accepting the facts over safety but jumping on the patents and contamination issues. In this way, the issue starts to move over from public VS GMOs and labelling to the public VS Monsanto, which has less to do with legislation and laws and science and GMOs and more to do with corporations and ethics. GMOs that are helpful would be widely accepted.

Maybe the end is in sight for the anti-GMO movement. 

Wait, what’s that ringing sound. Oh, Dr Mercola just published his latest article and people are already retweeting. Crap.