Can you imagine how they felt, the early Greeks – Pythagoras (6th century BC), Aristotle (330 BC), later Ptolemy (2nd century AD) – knowing that the earth was round but being surrounded by deniers who thought the theory was downright silly. Why, people and animals on the down side of the earth would fall off, and if we tried it, ships would sail right off the edge.
It must have been frustrating for these great minds – philosophers, mathematicians, geniuses. They knew they were right but the theory was difficult to prove, so civilizations stayed land bound for centuries and progress was slowed. Eventually most people came to accept that the earth is an orb (except for a few flat-earth theorists who thought the whole thing was a conspiracy to debunk religion).
Now we are supposedly in a modern, enlightened era, centuries past the “Dark Ages” where knowledge and reason deteriorated. But are we? We still have naysayers that resist facts, like Holocaust deniers – who claim that the Nazi genocide of the Jews did not happen, despite extensive historical data. This dangerous position is anti-Semetic and racially biased, promotes white supremacy, and attempts to erase the lessons of aggression.
Today an even greater risk comes from the climate change deniers – who claim that global warming does not exist or is not primarily caused by humans or is of little consequence, despite massive scientific proof to the contrary. It is financial gain that drives this contrary position – companies, owners and investors who do not want business restrictions (such as auto efficiency standards or limitations on dirty fuels or where they can dump waste water).
This resistance is dangerous to the world at large: people, animals, plants. Water, air, land are all affected by our ongoing abuse. What’s more, much of the damage is irreversible and time is not in our favor. We can ill afford another Dark Ages because we do not have centuries to persuade resistors this time.
— Jonnie Martin