The Flat-Earth Society Has Arisen Again

Ever heard of geocentrism? It’s the belief that the Earth is at the center of the universe and that the sun - and everything else in creation - revolves around the Earth. It’s considered pretty stupid right now, given that Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler debunked it over 500 years ago. Nevertheless, stupid ideas can take on a new life if some idiot puts enough money behind them.

Case in point: what happened earlier this month to former “Star Trek” actress Kate Mulgrew. A couple of geocentrist whackjobs with a little bit of money hired her to narrate a documentary called The Principle without telling her what that documentary was about. That documentary claimed, in defiance of all modern science, that the sun revolves around the Earth, although Mulgrew didn’t realize this from the words that she read and what the producers told her about the movie.

As news of her role in the documentary started to make the rounds on the internet, Mulgrew decided to take action. In a statement posted to Facebook just a few days after new broke about the documentary she wrote that she was “not a geocentrist… nor in any way a proponent of geocentrism.” Mulgrew then clarified her reasons for helping out with the film, saying that she was a “voice for her hire, and a misinformed one.”

It really doesn’t take too much thinking to understand why Kate Mulgrew was so quick to separate herself from the documentary and its producers. Geocentrism was disproven 500 years ago, and the only people who still believe in it are fringe nuts and religious fundamentalists. Really, when it comes down to it, believing that the sun revolves around the Earth is about as sensible as believing in Bigfoot or the reptile Illuminati, and anyone, like Kate Mulgrew, who wants to be taken seriously as a modern, thinking person should reject the idea outright.

The same really is true of climate change denial. Over 97 percent of scientists agree that global warming is real and that human beings are causing it by burning fossil fuels. There is no debate. Climate change is a fact, just like the Earth revolving around the sun is a fact, and anyone who says otherwise should be treated like a crazy person.

But the opposite is true: in some circles, denying climate change is about as mainstream as it gets, and for Republicans it’s the default position. According to some estimates, around 58 percent of Congressional Republicans deny the existence of man-made climate change including 100 percent of last year’s freshman Republicans in the House of Representatives. That leads to some crazy things. Just yesterday, for example, all four Republican candidates for North Carolina’s Senate seat said “no” when asked by a debate moderator if climate change was a fact. One of them even went so far as to say “God controls the climate.”

That’s right. While people in the scientific community are debating whether or not human beings will go extinct within this century as a result of climate change, the only answer some people in the Republican Party have to the question of climate change is “God controls the climate.” This is ridiculous. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if all four Republican candidates for North Carolina’s senate seat said the sun revolves around the earth?

Of course, climate denialism in the Republican Party would be ridiculed without the help of the right wing media, led by Fox So-Called News. Not a day goes by without some Fox host laughing off climate change like it’s some kind of joke. This is exactly what happened on yesterday’s episode of The Five. When host Bob Beckel brought up a graph put together by NASA showing the sharp rise in carbon dioxide emissions over the past few decades, he was ridiculed by Eric Bolling and the rest of The Five team.

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