Galileo, Therefore I’m Right
There was some discussion yesterday of what to call the ‘argument’ that goes along the lines ‘Galileo was ignored/suppressed/censored, I’m ignored/suppressed/censored, therefore my ideas are on a par with Galileo’s ideas.’ I said I simply thought of it as the Galileo fallacy. (Chris Williams on the other hand offered an alternative in the Bozo the clown fallacy. ‘They laughed at Newton, they laughed at Einstein…’ ‘Yes and they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.’ That works.) Once I’d said that, I thought I might as well google it – and behold, a few citations of the Galileo fallacy.
At Bad Logic for instance.
Just about every logical fallacy ever imagined turns up in pseudoscience, including: “Galileo Fallacy” “They laughed at Galileo, and he was right. They laugh at me, therefore I must be right.” Variation common in education: “Einstein didn’t do well in school, therefore any kid who does poorly in school is like Einstein.”
Some authors want you to know they’re suffering for their beliefs. For example, “Scientists scoffed at Copernicus and Galileo; they laughed at Edison, Tesla and Marconi; they won’t give my ideas a fair hearing either. But time will be the judge. I can wait; I am patient; sooner or later science will be forced to admit that all matter is built, not of atoms, but of tiny capsules of TIME.”
Apparently people who edit philosophy magazines see a lot of that kind of thing. ‘Please read my complete theory of everything, available at www.randomnutter.com.’
And there’s a variation at Evowiki: Galileo Wannabe:
You commit this fallacy if you compare yourself to Galileo Galilei or another scientist suppressed by authorities or disbelieved by your peers. This is very popular among pseudoscientists…A popular answer is, “they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Columbus, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown”. Indeed, being “suppressed” is not correlated to being right.
No, it’s not, but it’s such fun to imply that it is!