I’ve never heard of SALON, which is apparently some sort of pseudo-intellectual event agency. This organisation is presenting one of their events in the Banqueting House in London on 24th June with the title 1649. Alone the opening sentence of the description made me cringe an a historian:
1649 was a pivotal year. The English public – having tired of a King who had raised taxes for wars and spent it on art – upped and executed him.
I leave it to my educated and knowledge thirsty readers to read up on the real causes of the English Revolution and the resulting regicide, as this is not the purpose of this brief post. My interest concerns rather more the speaker chosen to present the history of science of the period, the good Dr Stuart Clark, who should be well known to the readers of this blog for his displays of history of science ignorance here and here. Salon presents him thus:
Stuart Clark, described by The Independent as a UK star of astrophysics teaching (alongside Stephen Hawking) will be on hand to explain the scientific world of 1649. Having undertaken extensive research for his acclaimed historical fiction series based in this period, no one is better qualified to explain where science was at in the mid 17th century, and how new ideas were beginning to remodel the minds and hearts of the people of England. [my emphasis]
I personally regard the statement, “no one is better qualified to explain where science was at in the mid 17th century”, as a crass insult to all professional historians of science and not just the legion of very competent experts for the science of the seventeenth century whom it disqualifies.