Our Disastrous Failure to Follow the Science

Consider these statements:


“The earth revolves around the sun.”
“Women, as a group, do not possess the physical strength to make good soldiers.”
“The earth rotates upon its axis.”
“It is a biological absurdity to pretend that a man can marry a man, or a woman a woman.”
“The tilt of the earth on its axis is responsible for the seasons.”
“A child needs a father and a mother.”
“The orbit of the earth around the sun is an ellipse.  In summer in the northern hemisphere, the earth is at its farthest from the sun.”
“It is wrong to do the child-making act if you are not married and thus prepared to take care of the child, providing him with a well-established family for the rest of his life.”
“Venus shines upon earth in phases, like the moon.”
“Boys naturally gravitate toward rough and sometimes dangerous or destructive play, while girls do not.”

I have heard all my life what a great sinner against the truth and scientific inquiry the Church has been, because she comported herself poorly in the Galileo affair, sentencing that irascible genius to house arrest in a posh villa in Florence.  If anyone has the means, my family and I would be pleased to know which crime against a consensus opinion I must commit to earn a similar sentence.

For the American academy commits more crimes against the truth, and more egregiously, in a single week than the whole Church committed in the entirety of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  An exaggeration?  Let us think about the matter.

Galileo had no proof for his heliocentric thesis.  One of the arguments he adduced, that the revolution of the earth around the sun was responsible for the tides, was feeble, and the pope’s astronomers knew better.  What Galileo insisted upon could not be seen.

None of the astronomical assertions I have made above is obvious.  Indeed, I have found that very few college students can explain to me why the sun appears, to us northerners, in the southern hemisphere. Or where the sun will be at noon on the equinox, given that they are standing on the earth at a particular latitude. Or what the elliptic orbit has to do with the speed of the earth’s revolution. Or that the earth does not move at a constant speed. Or why Venus shows in phases if you view it in a telescope, but Mars does not. Or what the position of Polaris has to do with where you are, and so on.

They do not know that the main argument against the heliocentric position had to do with parallax – the apparent shift in the relative positions of objects depending upon the angle of your vantage point, so that if the earth moved around the sun, the stars should seem to alter their pattern slightly from spring to autumn, unless those stars were so tremendously far away that the parallax could not be discerned.  Nor was there at that time any clear reason to suppose that the stars were so distant.

But the things I have said regarding men and women, and boys and girls, will lose you your livelihood if you say them almost anywhere in academe in the decadent western world.  Dare anyone deny it?  Those who are angered by what I am saying about current sins against truth will be the first to denounce you and drive you out of the academy if you say them in a classroom, or a faculty lounge, or on social media.  Perhaps you can say them alone in your bathroom, for now.


There is more.  Those things about the sexes were uncontroversial until a few cultural and historical seconds ago. That is because they are immediately obvious. Boys grow to be men, and girls grow to be women.

The boys have bodies that cry out for action and rough play – the metabolism, the endocrine glands, and the musculature determine the direction of play, in boys as in other physical creatures.  The girls have bodies directed toward the bearing and the nurture of children.  Everyone knows it.  That is why it must be energetically and vociferously denied, with obvious and severe punishments for anyone who would deny it.

If a man lies bleeding on the battlefield, the female soldier next to him, except in the rarest of circumstances, will not be able to lift him up and carry him away.  Even if she could, because of an exceedingly lucky combination of a big-boned woman and a man of small stature, he still must pay a price for the absurdity, because another man would be able to carry him more readily and make quicker work of it.

And here we are talking about only one of a thousand ways in which the greater strength of men, and their greater speed afoot, and their more fully oxygenated blood come into play in war.

It is a clown show that a man pretending to be a woman should compete against women in swimming – a sport in which the woman’s greater percentage of body fat makes her naturally more buoyant, so that she has to do less work to move the same weight than the man does. It is a perfect bedlam of drunken raving clowns to send the same women into combat against men; of no military advantage, and a harm to both sexes, not to mention to the unborn children those women may be carrying.

In many places, the Church hangs by a thread of sanity and commitment to the truth.  She would join her voice also to the madness, and cheerfully go on persecuting people who tell the truth, except that her divine Founder will not permit her to, regardless of the superstitions of those prelates who believe that one more round of worshiping at the altar of Belial will bring happiness instead of confusion, cultural decay, infidelity, and death – betraying men and women, and making a holocaust of children.


*Photo: Giulio Origlia/Getty, 2019

You may also enjoy:

Robert Royal’s Science and Religion, Rightly Understood

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek’s Mixed Messages from the Vatican and Bishops

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is Distinguished Professor at Thales College. Be sure to visit his new website, Word and Song.