Defending Lamm's statements, Boyles equated him with Copernicus and Galileo

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Radio host Peter Boyles equated Denver Post columnists' criticism of former Gov. Richard Lamm's recent comments on race with "the church going back after Copernicus or going after Galileo."

The day after Gov. Bill Owens (R) appeared on the August 3 broadcast of The Mike Rosen Show and defended controversial statements made by former Democratic governor and one-time Reform Party presidential candidate Richard Lamm linking cultural values of certain racial and ethnic groups to educational or economic achievement, KHOW-AM radio host Peter Boyles equated criticism of Lamm's statements by Denver Post columnists with "the church going back after Copernicus or going after Galileo."

Boyles stated: "You know, Galileo, Copernicus are the two great examples of what I'm talking about. They were disproving all the belief systems of the Catholic Church at the time. So, instead of the Catholic Church coming to terms with it and saying, 'You know what, they're on to something, here,' they simply banned them as heretics. ... Now we are at this moment again." He added that the persecution of Copernicus and Galileo for their discoveries is equivalent to "labeling someone a racist" for making characterizations such as Lamm's.

Lamm's controversial statements include the suggestion in his recent book, Two Wands, One Nation: An Essay on Race and Community in America (Fulcrum Publishing, January 2006), that "underperformance" by African-Americans and Hispanics could be remedied by "infus[ing] the inhabitants [of 'the ghettos and barrios of America'] with Japanese or Jewish values, respect for learning and ambition." In addition, the Vail Daily reported (registration required) on July 25 that, in a July 24 speech, Lamm stated: "I believe that there's elements of the Hispanic culture both here and in Mexico and Central America and South America that are simply not success-producing of the kind that other immigrant groups have had."

Colorado Media Matters found two Denver Post columns that addressed Lamm's recent statements in the two weeks before Boyles's comments. On August 1, Post columnist Cindy Rodriguez wrote: "In his book, Lamm touts Asian culture for producing educated children in America. But if Lamm were to delve deeper he would find that the majority of children born to Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian refugees have even higher dropout rates than Latinos. Why is that? It's because the majority of parents who came as refugees from those countries were not literate."

On July 31, Post news columnist Jim Spencer wrote that the Lamm controversy "showed the danger of stereotyping, which is what many people say Lamm has done by implying that the cultures of blacks and Hispanic immigrants are not as good as those of Jews and Asians."

From the August 4 broadcast of KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: And, again, it's fascinating to hear people deal with facts. Facts are either true or false; they don't carry with them politics. In other words, there isn't politics in mathematics. Two and two are four. If you're a communist, if you're a fascist, if you're a Klansman, if you're a Nazi, if you're a black nationalist, if you're believing in the divine right of kings, if you believe the moon is a balloon, two and two is four. It's a fact. Now, they're either true facts or they're false, and that's what social science is about. Certainly is what science is about. The best examples -- you can give all these different examples -- so, when -- and Dick Lamm is out of the country or, though, you know damn well he'd be here this morning. So, he was with us after -- you know, he's talked so much with us about issues on illegal immigration. So instead of dealing with Dick Lamm in the sound studies, the way to deal with that is just call him a racist. The way to deal with it: Just call him a xenophobe. The way to deal with it is just call him a nativist. That's the new term. A hate speaker. Same things. Those are terms now used by people who have simply lost the argument. So, last week and this week in the The Denver Post -- I don't know, how do you describe the Post anymore in these situations -- simply every -- every 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. You don't know -- here is Copernicus, here is Galileo; they have done amazing discoveries. The church can't handle that, so they called them heretics. It stops everything. You know, Galileo, Copernicus are the two great examples of what I'm talking about. They were disproving all the belief systems of the Catholic Church at the time. So, instead of the Catholic Church coming to terms with it and saying, "You know what, they're on to something here," they simply banned them as heretics. And I think one of the two recanted. Was it Galileo that recanted? I think Galileo went under house arrest. One of the two had to recant the truth. In other words, had to stand there and say, "You know what, the truth is -- isn't the truth. So I can go back and live my life." Now, we are at this moment again.

[...]

So, I can believe the moon's green cheese, and, as long as I don't look at the evidence that it isn't, I can go on with my life. And the best point I was trying to make was Copernicus and Galileo. Scientifically, in early science, in the beginning of the Enlightenment, they said, "Wait a minute. What the church believes about the universe is wrong. So what the church, instead of dealing with the truth, simply labels them heretics. It's the same way -- labeling someone a racist. And it just makes no sense to me. And here's Dick Lamm pointing out, "Look over here. Look over here." It's like, remember The Emperors New Clothes? "Look at the king. Look at the king. The king has no clothes." And remember they told people that if you're really, really, really smart, if you're smarter than anyone else, you can see the wonderful cloak that the king is wearing. So everyone pretended they could see the cloak, except the little boy. And the little boy, when the king walks by totally nude, and everybody's going, "Ahh, isn't that a wonderful. Oh, look how wonderful that is. Look at that great cloak. Oh, isn't it so beautiful?" And the kid's standing there saying, "Look at the king. The king doesn't have any clothes on." That's this.

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