A scientist makes observations through a telescope and publishes his findings.  They are somewhat controversial, accepted by some and challenged by others.  This does not deter him, as he is simply reporting the facts as they are observed.

The ruling authority gets involved, as the facts he has reported directly contradict  what the authority believes and wants the population to believe.  They chastise and harass him, trying to force him into retracting his ideas.

Instead, he publishes a book - ostensibly with the authority's permission - comparing his observations and theories with what the authority proposes, in language the average reader could understand.  He presents his facts, rebuts the arguments of his detractors, and makes his case.

The authority's response is immediate and total.  Within a year, his books are banned from publication anywhere.  His theories are verboten, and discussing them can lead to similar punishment.  The authority must not be contradicted.

He is sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

This isn't the plot of a drama or movie.  This is a brief version of the life of Galileo Galilei.  That book, known as Dialogo, wasn't taken off the banned list for almost 300 years.

One of the most famous diagrams from Dialogo depicts the Copernican model of orbit (Copernicus himself never suffered for his theory, as he died on the eve of its formal publication).  That page is shown below:
Galileo's crime was speaking the truth to an authority - the Catholic Church, in this case - that disagreed: Copernican theory was considered heresy, as it contradicted the Earth-centric Biblical view the Church officially supported.  In 400 years, the facts haven't changed, and many of Galileo's arguments and theories as presented in Dialogo hold up today, but he died a prisoner because he refused to deny the reality of the world.

America isn't at that point -  yet.  The current administration certainly seems headed in that direction, with blatant denial of facts, muzzling of the organizations that are responsible for publishing facts, and (it appears) a process for political review of scientific information before it can be released.

Many people, especially scientists, believe optimistically that facts are their own defense - that the truth can stand on its own against lies and deceit.  We have already witnessed that this isn't the case.  It is the duty of every rational person to support the truth and deny any attempt at burying or destroying it.  The truth needs its defenders.  Science needs and army.

In the last week and in response to the administration's decision to silence all public communication from many government science organizations, members of those organizations set up alternative media accounts to continue getting the truth out.   Right now, they are collections of individuals, and individuals are vulnerable.  There needs to be a movement, and movements need something to stand for.

I say that we follow Galileo and refuse to concede the truth, no matter the cost.  Science needs an army, and I for one am willing to fight.

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