...comes this latest piece of magical divination: a promise that doing an MRI of an actor and an astronomer reading from Shakespeare and Galileo, respectively, "might yield some clues to Galileo and Shakespeare's drives".

Given that MRIs of the brains of dead salmon have yielded "clues" to nothing in particular, I don't see why an actor's or an astronomer's brains--or a sheep's entrails, if it comes to that--might not also yield "clues" as well, to be duly "interpreted" as the augurs of Rome did. In our current culture of credulity, as long as you wear the priestly garment of the lab coat you are a high priest and an MRI or some other sciency device is your Urim and Thummim. The human race will always demand a priestly caste to interpret Reality for it. It will just change the vestments and the furniture it uses--and, of course, the gods it cycles through in its pagan avoidance of the real God.

Speaking of strategies for avoiding the real God, Mike Flynn (at the first link) has a nice little postscript on the latest stupid stuff being said in the press of the Country that Used to Be England in order to perpetuate the Big Bad Church vs. Science legend of Galileo. We've now reached the point where reporters could write "Galileo was tortured for centuries in the dungeons of the Inquisition" and when you point out this is a complete lie, the person making the assertion has his eyes glaze over with boredom at your stupid facts, informs you that what he says is "basically true, even though I may have a few details wrong" and continues regaling his audience with complete fiction. The single most difficult aspect of presenting the Catholic faith in the Age of Anti-Catholic Credulity is that it is so much easier to just make up any ignorant anti-Catholic twaddle and fling it like monkey dung than it is to laboriously wipe it off with actual facts.

One entertaining way to short-circuit the "Catholic Church's Age Old War on Science" harangue just as it is really getting revved up is to ask, "Aside from Galileo--doomed to life in a palace--can you name any other scientists persecuted for doing science in the alleged centuries-long War on Science conducted by the Catholic Church?" Sometimes that question manages to penetrate the thick gauzy layer of smugness and elicit something almost approaching the thought process. It's a salutary thing for people who worship, but seldom use, the intellect to attempt now and then.