50,000 Watts of Hate: Last Rant of the Year

In this installment of the most profane, intellectually-stunted, and ludicrous statement made on Colorado talk radio today and the last of 2006, we pay tribute to a true Renaissance Man – Peter Boyles. From our friends at Colorado Media Matters:

During the past several months, Colorado Media Matters has documented how 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles repeatedly has invoked the names of Renaissance-era astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) and Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564 – January 8, 1642) to refute charges that he and other critics of illegal immigration were making racist or bigoted remarks. By asserting similarities with Copernicus and Galileo, Boyles apparently attempted to elevate in stature himself and such commentators as former presidential candidate and conservative author Pat Buchanan, and talk show host Glenn Beck to the philosophical level of two giants in the field of science.

Armed with theories based on scientific research, Copernicus and Galileo each advanced the unpopular, yet subsequently proven, notion of heliocentrism — the theory that Earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa. While noting that Copernicus and Galileo had been labeled “heretics” for disseminating their once-controversial beliefs, Boyles repeatedly has equated critics who brand him and others as “racists” for their comments regarding illegal immigration with officials of the 16th- and 17th-century Catholic Church. The implication: His critics and the Catholic Church stifled meaningful discourse on a controversial issue while resisting “the truth.”

Copernicus is famed primarily for his rejection of the geocentrist — or Earth-centered — model of the universe. But some historians suggest that, contrary to Boyles’ assertion, the church did not condemn Copernicus for advancing the heliocentric model. As professors David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers of the University of Wisconsin wrote:

Indeed, various churchmen, including a bishop and a cardinal, urged Copernicus to publish his book, which appeared with a dedication to Pope Paul III. Had Copernicus lived beyond its publication in 1543, it is highly improbable that he would have felt any hostility or suffered any persecution. The church simply had more important things to worry about than a new astronomical or cosmological system. Although a few critics noticed and opposed the Copernican system, organized Catholic opposition did not appear until the seventeenth century.

Galileo did promote his theories during the 17th century, as he openly subscribed to the Copernican view of the universe — deemed heretical in 1616, nearly 75 years after Copernicus’ death. Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633 and ordered to recant his heliocentric ideas. And while he was sentenced to imprisonment, the sentence was commuted to house arrest.

On at least six occasions from August to December, Boyles declared that charges of racism leveled against himself, former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm (D), Buchanan, and other immigration critics were comparable to the condemnation Copernicus and Galileo suffered from the Catholic Church.

The Dawn of Reason
On August 4 — referring to Denver Post columns critical of Lamm for controversial remarks he made regarding racism in the United States — Boyles told his guest, CNN’s Beck, “[E]very one of their columnists attacks Dick Lamm and calls him names. Fine. It’s the equivalent of the church going back after Copernicus or going after Galileo.”

As The Rocky Mountain News reported, at a July 24 speech sponsored by the Vail Symposium, Lamm suggested “that Hispanics and blacks need to take responsibility for their ‘underperformance’ and should adopt the values of the Japanese and Jews.” Lamm’s comments at the symposium echoed sentiments expressed in his book, Two Wands, One Nation: An Essay on Race and Community in America (Fulcrum Publishing, January 2006), which the News quoted:

“Let me offer you, metaphorically, two magic wands that have sweeping powers to change society. With one wand you could wipe out all racism and discrimination from the hearts and minds of white America. The other wand you could wave across the ghettos and barrios of America and infuse the inhabitants with Japanese or Jewish values, respect for learning and ambition,” Lamm wrote.

“I suggest that the best wand for society and for those who live in the ghettos and barrios would be the second wand.”

Post columnists Cindy Rodr