Refusing to Look through Galileo’s Telescope

The issue of anti-vaxx disinformation is not a purely Republican or Democratic issue. It is not southern verse northern issue, Those who willfully embrace ignorance cross all political spectrums. My issue is not with those who have genuine concerns, my issue is with the politicians on both sides of the aisle who foster unreasonable fear for political gain and with those who choose willful ignorance.

That many American do not understand the actual risk/benefit of vaccinations and wearing masks is a failure by the government and the CDC to properly educate and inform. Those who purposely distort the data, thus reinforcing the ignorance of the most vulnerable for political gains, engage in the lowest form of behavior. Failure to make an effort to educate oneself borders on abandonment of civic duty to your fellow humans.

Humans have a history of ignoring facts in favor of faith and misplaced beliefs.

On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei for holding and spreading the belief that the earth revolves around the sun.

Such a belief was deemed a heresy by the Catholic Church. After his trial, the Church handed down this decision.

We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.

We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

Trial of Galileo Galilei

Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

During his trial, Galileo offered the opportunity for the Inquisitor to look through the telescope himself and see what Galileo himself had seen. The Inquisitor refused to look through Galileo’s telescope.

Such behavior is comparable to those who willfully ignore the overwhelming benefit of the COVID-19 vaccination and the effective preventive measures of mask wearing in public. By “refusing to look through the telescope” of the scientific literature, the information readily available from the CDC, from prestigious medical associations, and from myriad universities, those who argue against the vaccine adhere to a “belief” founded on rumor and misinformation and refuse to seek a more thorough and balanced measure of the risk.

In a recent incident on Cape Cod, much was made of the fact that 74% of those infected were fully vaccinated. What was conveniently absent from the media frenzy was of those vaccinated individuals who contracted the virus only a few were hospitalized, none in ICU, and none of the infected vaccinated individuals died. (

The reality is the vaccine worked in mitigating the severity of the highly contagious Delta variant, which was responsible for the outbreak. While the media insinuated this was an argument against the efficacy of vaccination, the reality is it was proof of it’s viability.

It also—much to the chagrin of those who “refuse to look through Galileo’s telescope”— lends credence to the need for wearing of masks in public to minimize the spread. I despise wearing the mask. I enjoyed the brief shining moments when the regulations were relaxed. But I also have a young grandchild who cannot receive the vaccine and I will be damned if I, or anybody else, would willingly put him and all the other children at risk.

Viral mutation is a continuous evolutionary process. The more successful a variant is the more it will spread, and the greater the potential for even more deadly variations to develop.

The Biden Administration needs to act decisively and mandate masks for all public locations. if the President can get the consensus of governors to support the effort, great. If he can’t, then the issue demands he take the action with or without their support. Some states have always resisted federal government actions. In almost every case, the actions of the federal government proved themselves absolutely necessary.

Twenty-five years from now, today’s youngest—those twelve years old and younger who could not receive the vaccine—will be the scholars, the historians, the medical professionals, the elected officials who will evaluate the actions we all took.

They will have the benefit, and perhaps the tragic reality, of the data regarding the spread and ultimate death toll from Covid-19 and the variants. They will be the judge of the efficacy of our actions and whether we did everything we could to mitigate the effects of the virus.

I for one hope their analysis shows we acted reasonably, rationally, and effectively, but I fear many will spend perhaps decades trying to understand how, in the face of a controllable plague, we descended into political bickering and fatal inaction.

Wear a mask. Encourage others to wear the mask and get vaccinated.

Seems such a contradiction that we so quickly rally around the flag to send troops against our perceived enemies yet when the enemy is domestic ignorance we suddenly become rabid civil libertarians about our individual choices. Too bad we weren’t so rabid about doing everything we can to save lives as opposed to taking them when we perceive a threat.


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