The Ptolemaic astronomical system placed Earth at the center of the universe, with the Sun, planets and stars revolving around our special, God-given place in the Cosmos. It was totally wrong, of course, but you could make accurate predictions about astronomical positions.
These calculations involved claiming a planet stopped its rotation, backed up for a spell and then moved forward again. But, determined Earth-centrists conjured the mathematics to make this system work. (Remember this when mathematicians try to proclaim their superiority.)
While others also contributed observations and data, Nicolaus Copernicus best explained the astronomical reality to the 16th century West. The Copernican system, fine-tuned ever since, puts the Sun at the center of our solar system with Earth and the other planets revolving around it.
Dislodging people – God’s last and favored creation – from the center of everything offended the Catholic hierarchy that controlled the thought of Medieval Europe. Responding to this threat to their dogma and power, the Church burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in Rome in 1600 for heresy. Though the charges centered on doctrinal issues, Bruno was noted for suggesting the stars were distant suns much like our own.
About 30 years later Galileo was forced to recant his support of these power-threatening truths. He could not persuade his accusers to look through his telescope to see the craters of the Moon or the moons of Jupiter. Blind ignorance prevailed, and Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
Escaping the Medieval mindset was not easy – and is touch and go close to home today. The Copernican version prevailed because it was correct and because it also satisfied one of the few worthwhile observations to emerge from the thousand years of the literary criticism called Scholastic Philosophy.
In the 14th century, Britain’s William of Ockham proposed a theory for arguments that “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.” The simplest correct explanation is to be preferred.
Known as Ockham’s Razor, the principle of simplification began its life in logic. But it is also applicable in other areas. In one sense, it can be seen as an extension of an inscription on Apollo’s Temple at Delphi: “Nothing too much” – a maxim for frugal living and environmental sanity.
Clear thinking and clean living are still admirable in some circles.
In others, not so much.
So, traitorous supporters of loser Donald Trump ignore the simple fact that he lost the 2020 election – he got outvoted – and opt for convoluted conspiracy theories to explain his defeat. The lack of evidence just fuels their convictions, solidifies their loyalty.
Newt Gingrich, playing the anti-Semite card, claimed that Jewish billionaire George Soros financed the theft of the election – without explaining exactly how, anti-Semitism alone suffices.
Michael Flynn, who was being paid by Turkey and Russia while serving in our military, repeated the anti-Semitism and upped the antics by lumping Bill Gates and the World Health Organization into the conspiracy. No facts – since there are none – only a wild claim designed as a mantra for committed traitors.
Flynn – whose growing crazy talk makes one wonder how he ever made corporal, much less general – came forward later claiming thermostats connected to the Internet were manipulated by those non-existent conspirators.
Trump joined those who favor Rube Goldberg explanations by echoing the false claim that Dominion voting machines had been programmed to change Trump votes to Biden or delete the Trump votes altogether. Just why they would need to be rigged two different ways was omitted. But the more confusion the better for conspiracists.
No, people were not throwing out bags of ballots or finding suitcases full of ballots.
No, there were not thousands of votes by dead people or people voting multiple times. (We do have one man whose wife disappeared under suspicious circumstances admitting that he cast her vote – for Trump.)
But these Ptolemaic explanations for Trump’s defeat at the ballot box pale in comparison to Italygate. Here the claim is that the U.S. Embassy in Rome used satellites and military technology to remotely switch Trump votes to Biden. For good measure, a variant conspiracy virus included the Vatican in this anti-Trump camp. (Committed klansmen are anti-Catholic.)
Yes, the simplest explanation is the best. Joe Biden won the popular vote in enough states to win the most electoral college votes and the presidency. Employing Ockham’s Razor, we need to sweep out those conspiracies with the other loose clippings – and sweep out those traitors who continue to espouse those lies.
(Duncan resident Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)