Suppression of Galileo II

Lead: Condemned in 1632, the Italian scientist was not given reprieve until 1993.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Galileo, the Italian mathematician and astronomer, believed along with the Polish scholar Copernicus' that the earth revolved around the sun. The Roman Catholic Church disagreed. It taught that the earth was the center of the universe and in 1616 told Galileo to cease and disist his teachings on the subject. In 1624 there was a new pope, he was a long time friend and protector of Galileo and the scientist thought that perhaps a personal appeal would bring him some relief. He felt that it was dangerous for the church to champion a position so vulnerable to scientific evidence, that if people found themselves convinced by proof of something that it was made a sin to believe, they would reject the church's teachings in other areas and perhaps even attracted to the new Protestant ideas coming from Martin Luther in northern Germany.

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Suppression of Galileo I

Lead: Few early scientists contributed as much to the understanding of the way the universe works as Galileo but in his lifetime he was not popular.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Galileo Galilei was the son of a poor nobleman and destined for a medical career. Yet, while at the University of Pisa in northern Italy, he became fascinated with mathematics and by 1589 was teaching at the University level. Fairly early in his career, he came to believe the theory taught by the Polish mathematician Copernicus that the planets revolve around the sun, but was hesitant to teach this openly because of the almost universal acceptance of the older theory which placed the earth of the center of the universe.

 

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Scopes Monkey Trial II

Lead: In the summer of 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow met in legal conflict during the trial of John Thomas Scopes. Their clash was as much cultural as it was legal.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Scopes agreed to be the defendant in a case testing the constitutionality of the Butler Act which was Tennessee's attempt to prevent teaching of ideas in the public schools thought to be in conflict with the Bible. The prosecution invited William Jennings Bryan to lead its team. John Scopes accepted the help of Clarence Darrow in the defense.

Scopes Monkey Trial I

Lead: In the summer of 1925, in Dayton, a small mining town in Eastern Tennessee, a teacher of high school biology was brought to trial for teaching the theory of evolution.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: On a sunny May afternoon, John Thomas Scopes, a popular twenty-five year old biology teacher, was playing tennis with some of his students. At the end of the game he noticed a small boy obviously waiting for him at courtside. The youngster had a message. His presence was requested at Fred Robinson's drugstore. There he found several of the town's leading citizens and they had a proposition. A recent issue of the Chattanooga News contained an offer by the American Civil Liberties Union to pay the expenses of anyone willing to test the constitutionality of the Butler Act. Robinson and Sue Hicks wanted to know if Scopes would let himself become the legal guinea pig in a case testing the legality of the Act.

Edison vs. Westinghouse I

Lead: One of the great struggles in the history of technology was that between Thomas Alva Edison and George Westinghouse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The use of electricity as a means of lighting homes, businesses and streets was in its infancy in the early 1880s. Thomas Edison had improved the incandescent light bulb and was hard at work constructing the power system for the City of New York. To get the power from generating power plants out to the customers, he used direct current which can be compared to a water flowing in a pipe. Power goes in one direction at a constantly low voltage over wiring that was very expensive so as to not blow out the light bulbs waiting for power down the circuit.

Eugenics II

Lead: From its start as an optimistic approach to improving the human condition, eugenics degenerated into a racist tool in the hands of bigotry and ultimately led to the gas ovens of the Third Reich.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fundamental problem with eugenics, even as Sir Francis Galton articulated it in the 19th century, was that it focused primarily on inborn characteristics and almost completely disregarded social, environmental, educational, and physical factors when examining the human race. Basically, eugenicists advocated a form of genetic determinism. A person is born with a genetic imprint that determines the course of their lives. Not surprisingly these theories became a powerful tool in the hands of racists. It all depends on who is setting the standard. If society is to improve itself, it is said, it must eliminate genetic threats to racial purity. In the sad history of eugenics, a wide variety of groups have been singled out for social restriction, sterilization, or elimination. Feeble-minded or mentally ill people, habitual criminals, sexual libertines, Negroes, Native Americans or any non-whites, Jews, gypsies, and evangelical Christians have all fallen under the wary and sometimes fatal scrutiny of the eugenic mandate. They bore undesirable human traits.

Eugenics I

Lead: In the 19th and 20th centuries, theories about the way to improve the human condition spawned the pseudo-science of eugenics. Unfortunately, optimism about making mankind better degenerated into the darkness of racism.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sir Francis Galton confessed to having had a happy childhood. His upper-class parents gave him a Cambridge education though he never took his degree, and left him sufficient inherited funds so that he could avoid work and indulge his great love of travel. From 1845 to 1853 Galton explored parts of the Middle East and Africa, including a very careful but ultimately fruitless expedition from West Africa in search of Lake Ngami, which is in Botswana, north of the Kalahari Desert. After his marriage he turned to more scholarly pursuits producing books on a wide variety of subjects including fingerprinting, calculus, genetics and weather prediction. Galton is best known, however, for his advocacy of improving the human species through selective parenting, a process he called eugenics.

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Medical Miracle in Panama III

Lead: Sanitation made possible the construction of the Panama Canal.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the years following the Spanish American War, Army Surgeon Dr. Walter Reed had transformed the city of Havana, Cuba, virtually eliminating the tropical diseases of malaria and yellow fever. He did so by rejecting the common medical wisdom of the time that such illnesses were caused by bad air or swamp gas. Reed went after the mosquito which, some scientists at the time believed, transmitted the diseases when it fed upon a victim. Reed cleaned up the city. Malaria and yellow fever were almost completely eradicated.