Adam Ruins Everything (2015) s02e21 Episode Script

Reanimated History - The Copernican Ruin-aissance

1 The Renaissance the most innovative and hardest to spell period in history.
During this era, extraordinary scientific minds broke free from the chains of ignorance Minds like that of Nicolaus Copernicus, who redefined our understanding of the solar system in a flash of inspiration.
Actually Eureka! We aren't at the center of the universe! The Earth revolves around the Sun! Copernicus bravely published his theory despite the inevitable wrath he'd face from the Catholic Church.
Copernicus! We're here to burn you alive! I shall not be silenced! Aah! It is a powerful story of one brave scientist facing off against the forces of ignorance.
While Copernicus was a remarkable astronomer, this whole myth about a lone rebel scientist is complete malarkey.
In fact A lot of the stories we tell about the Renaissance are wrong? I was gonna say wrong and incomplete, but thanks for setting me up! I'm Adam Conover and this is "Reanimated History.
" Adam, you ought to love Copernicus! He was the first thinker to question the accepted view of the universe! Not true! Earlier scholars criticized the accepted view long before Copernicus did.
Here we go again.
Between the 9th and the 13th centuries, many major scientific figures in the Islamic world questioned the Greek astronomy that the rest of Europe accepted, among them, Al Battani and Al-Tusi.
Aristotle? Ptolemy? Guess what, Greeks.
Just cause ya name is hard to spell doesn't mean ya know what's up.
You're right! The planets aren't moving the way the Greeks said they should! We should do our own observations.
And they did.
Their innovative work produced observational data about the stars and mathematical formulas for how the planets move, which Copernicus later incorporated into his own theories.
In other words, he didn't do it alone, he stood on the shoulders of scientific giants.
Ah, I'll never figure out how Mars and Venus move.
Use my diagram, Nicolaus.
Thanks! Now I just need some solid observational data.
Take mine.
I've done it! Heliocentrism! The Earth revolves around the Sun! Just make sure history doesn't forget our contributions! Don't worry.
They won't! They did.
Today, we act as though Copernicus' revolutionary conclusion came to him in a flash of inspiration, but the truth is, his insight was supported by hundreds of years of work by many different thinkers.
He didn't do it without help.
Okay, silk tie, so he didn't do it alone, but he still had the courage to speak up against the repressive Catholic Church! See? They are coming to burn him alive right now.
Run, Copernicus! Sorry, wrong again! Copernicus himself didn't face any opposition from the Church because he worked for the Catholic Church his entire life.
Wait seriously? Copernicus, how's your work going, ya old church bureaucrat? Finished early, boss! In fact, I've been working on my astronomy.
I have this new theory I'm calling Don't care! Well, maybe they didn't care at first, but when he published his book, they saw the danger it posed to their theology and they burned him alive probably.
Right? Nope! In fact, the book barely showed up on the Church's radar.
Your Holiness, Copernicus' new book says that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
Who cares? I'm trying to figure out the miracle of how Jesus turned water into wine.
But he dedicated the book to you! Oh, what a sweetheart! Copernicus dedicated his book to the Pope? Yep! In fact, the church was so tolerant of Copernicus' ideas that some of his writings were even taught and read at major Catholic universities.
Welcome to "Not Blasphemy 101.
" Today we'll be talking about someone the church has absolutely no problem with Copernicus.
Anyway, even if Copernicus and the Church were besties, his theory still frightened and confused the public.
It removed humans from their place at the center of the universe.
Even Carl Sagan said it was "a great demotion to human pride" and he was a smarter nerd than you, so I'm not wrong this time! Sorry, but you are.
Didn't think your head could get any bigger, but here we are.
Sagan was following a long tradition of writers who, since the 17th century, have postulated that the public was angry that Copernicus "demoted" them from the center of the universe.
The only problem is, the entire idea is completely ahistorical, because there's no evidence anyone ever felt that way.
In fact, most people at the time were taught the exact opposite! Everyone from Christians to Jews to Muslims were actually taught that the center of the universe was a terrible place to be.
For Christians, it was close to Hell and far from Heaven's light.
Oh, the center of the universe is a damned place! Satan himself nips at my heels! Huh! Ha ha ha! Wrong! The Earth revolves around the Sun! Huh! Not so bad! No! Now I have to commute to work! So Copernicus' theory wasn't a demotion.
You could even say it was a promotion! So no one burned him alive, even once?! Did the Catholic Church even care? Oh, they did eventually, but not until long after Copernicus' death, after someone else made it cool to hate on him.
It was actually fundamentalist Protestants who eventually rejected Copernicus because his work contradicted passages in the Bible.
Wanna know about astronomy? Check the Bible.
Why you can't fart in church? Bible.
Does Copernicus suck? The Bible says yes.
And when the Catholic Church saw how the Protestants were gaining influence, they started to get worried.
No one wants to be Catholic anymore.
What do they have that we don't? Cronuts? Maybe we gotta switch gears on this whole tolerating science thing.
And when Galileo started looking through his telescope, adding his observations to Copernicus's theory, that's when the church really freaked out.
Now this guy is starting with the telescope? That's it! Let's hate science ten times more than the Protestants ever did! So the Catholic church turned from tolerance to suppression, rejecting Copernicus' theory and banning his book.
This class is now "Blasphemy 101.
" Please take out your textbook and throw it in the fire.
But this didn't happen until 70 years after Copernicus died and after other scientists like Galileo and Kepler added to his work.
In his own time, Copernicus suffered none of the persecution you've heard about.
It's so easy to follow your dreams when your church supports you.
Well, you did it again, crater face.
Somehow everything I thought I knew about Copernicus is wrong.
Well, sure, the myth is wrong, but the real story is still impressive! A church employee from a small town built on the work of scientists who went before him and changed the way we think about the entire universe.
But I liked it better when he was a scientific badass! Oh, well, if it's a badass you want, how about the story of a Flemish dwarf who revolutionized the entire study of human anatomy? So when I pitch a cool scientist, I'm wrong, but when you do it, it's gold? Pretty much.
Now it's time for the story of a man who single-handedly revolutionized the study of human anatomy and changed medical science forever.
Today's Unsung Badass of History is a Flemish dwarf by the name of Andreas Vesalius.
In 1537, Vesalius enrolled in the University of Padua in Northern Italy, one of the best medical colleges in the world.
Ah, the smell of knowledge which smells a lot like dried blood.
Medical colleges during the Renaissance taught what they thought to be the most respected medical science of the time.
The only problem, lots of it was wrong.
Back then, the ultimate authority on human anatomy was a Greek physician by the name of Galen.
His work had dominated the field for over a thousand years, and Vesalius was a fan.
Whoa, you like Galen too? Hell, yeah.
Galen rules.
Welcome to medical school.
Lesson one will be on Galen, lesson two will focus on Galen, and lesson three, we will pivot 360 degrees to Galen.
Teachers at the time literally thought it was more important to study Galen's books than the human body itself, so much so that when they did dissections in school, the Professor would just read a commentary on Galen and an assistant would point things out as a surgeon chopped up the body.
The professor never even looked inside! Now we will remove the heart.
Whatever you're looking at is the heart.
Uh, I love him too, but aren't you going to check if Galen is right? As if he'd ever be wrong.
He's Galen! Idiot.
After graduating at the age of 23, Vesalius was given the job of Professor of Anatomy and Surgery and started doing his own research, which is when he started to suspect that Galen wasn't as perfect as everyone thought.
They may laugh, but I'm going to do my own dissections and observations.
Let's see.
Galen says there are two bones in the lower jaw, but there is very clearly only one.
Well, simple mistake! Hmm.
Galen says there are five lobes on a liver, but I see only two.
What is happening? Vesalius went on to identify more than 200 instances where Galen got some aspect of basic anatomy dead wrong.
This breast bone has three segments, not seven! Major blood vessels start in the heart, not the liver! Could it be Galen, the father of human anatomy, never dissected a human? No! No! You're a liar! I hate you! I hate you, Galen! Vesalius finally concluded that Galen had done his dissections on monkeys, dogs, and other animals and simply theorized that humans were similar.
Humans have two jaw bones, soft floppy ears, and their stomachs are full of bananas! And this incorrect anatomy had been taught to physicians for over a thousand years! But when Vesalius brought his discovery to his fellow physicians, many rejected him.
I have incredible news! According to my dissections, Galen was wrong! Hold up.
You opened up a body to see how a body works? It can't be wrong if it's in a book, dummy.
That's it! I must pursue the truth.
And to do that, I'll need a lot of corpses.
Galen rules! Vesalius initially stole the bodies of executed criminals to perform his own detailed dissections.
Just be cool, Vesalius.
If anyone asks, this is your friend Bernie and he's here for the weekend.
(narra I think I'm gonna be sick.
Yeah, well, sometimes progress is gross.
After these pioneering dissections, Vesalius was inspired to write the greatest book on human anatomy the world had ever seen.
It was called "De Humani Corporis Fabrica" or "On the Fabric of the Human Body," and it included the very first accurate drawings of human anatomy.
Oh, now I see! My foot bone's connected to my ankle bone! Over time, the book was recognized as a masterpiece.
I know we've had our differences, what with me dumping trash on you and all, but, uh, could you sign my copy? The book and its dedication to Charles V helped Vesalius land a job as a court physician to the Holy Roman Emperor.
I feel sick.
Uh, were you eating gold again? It's just so tasty! Vesalius's work was a turning point in human anatomy and medicine, showing how the field could move beyond Galen by focusing on observation and evidence, and that's why Andreas Vesalius is an Unsung Badass of History.
Impressive! Hmm.
It just goes to show that the Renaissance was a time when mankind developed some of our greatest ideas.
Well, we also learned some painful lessons, like when the Dutch became so obsessed with tulips that they created the world's first recorded economic bubble! Tulips? What on earth do tulips Now there is an interesting specimen.
Is your hair really that tall? Or is it your skull? I'll have to do some dissecting to find out.
Aah! No, I just bl! To see what is arguably the first modern economy, look no further than the Dutch golden age of the 17th Century.
It was a tolerant and cosmopolitan society that attracted traders and immigrants from across Europe.
Just FYI, we will not kill you if you are different.
Finally! They had no aristocracy, which allowed for social mobility and the development of a middle class.
I know you are poor, but if you want to become rich, that is a thing you can do here.
Herring? They also had a powerful global trade network, causing money to pour in from around the world.
To support their flourishing economy, the Dutch helped develop crucial modern financial institutions A commodity exchange, a lending bank and a joint stock company.
In the Dutch, we can see the seeds of our modern economy.
And the beginnings of one of our most destructive economic forces! Weirdly enough, this outfit works on you.
Thank you! You know, the food's great, too.
Raw herring with pickles and onions? More, please! Ew.
But the Dutch weren't all progress.
They also created the first recorded economic bubble! Allow me to tell you the strange story of Tulip Mania.
What is Tulip Mania? Let's set the scene.
The success of the Dutch economy meant that the middle class had cash to drop on luxury items, and tulips were one of their favorites.
Why in the world were flowers a luxury item? Well, tulips were new to the Netherlands and hard to get, which made them a status symbol.
As you can see, this man is very rich and powerful Many tulips.
This family is doing pretty well.
And this woman oh, no, she has but one tulip.
It is best not to look her in the eyes.
And rarer tulips with multicolored petals commanded the highest prices.
They were basically the Dutch version of limited edition Beanie Babies.
Rare tulips for sale! Going fast, folks! In the 1630s, tulip prices began to rise.
Oh, brother, I can't keep up! And then prices went from high to completely insane, partly because of a unique feature of tulips.
See, tulips only bloom in the spring.
The rest of the year, the flowers turn back into bulbs and can be resold, but when they're flowering, they can't be moved.
But that didn't stop people from wanting to buy them.
So instead of buying the tulip itself, they'd buy a contract that meant they would get the tulip in the future.
I must have that tulip.
I'll give you 500 guilders now, and you give me a contract I can redeem in six months.
That sounds like a perfectly harmless solution.
Sold! This is what's called a futures contract, and here's the important part Once you had the contract, you could resell it to someone else, potentially for a lot more money, and that little feature brought out the financial speculators.
Hmm, if he paid 500 guilders for a single flower, I bet I can find someone willing to pay even more.
I'll buy that contract for 1,000.
Ho-ho! Sold! Did you just make a 500 guilder profit off a single flower? I've got to get in on this! I'll buy it for 2,000 guilders! In 1636 and 1637, the prices in this rickety market took the heck off and the result was "Tulip Mania!" At its height, a single tulip bulb was trading for the same price as 5,700 pounds of meat.
Totally worth it.
It's not like I need food.
Or three times the annual salary of a skilled craftsman.
I worked for three years just so I could afford a piece of paper that says I get one flower.
Even the equivalent of a luxury home in Amsterdam.
Ah, a flower I can look at for a couple of months.
That's definitely worth more than my house.
This is insanity! Yes, it was.
The Dutch completely lost track of what the tulips were actually worth.
Instead, they'd buy them at crazy prices because they could sell them for even crazier prices.
This is what we now call an economic bubble.
A bubble occurs when people are so excited about making a profit that the price of a good becomes detached from its actual value, and as prices got higher, the bubble got bigger.
I've got rare tulips to sell! Who's willing to give me 12 boats for one tulip? I've got red mixed with white! Looking to trade for a small castle.
What in carnation? How long did this go on?! Tulip Mania lasted for months, until one fateful day, when, for reasons unknown, the buyers disappeared.
Sir, can I interest you in a rare tulip? Sales are a bit slow.
No way.
I've been trying to unload mine all week.
Half off tulips! Only 5,000 guilders! 4,000? 1,000? 50? I'll trade this for a herring sandwich.
In February 1637, the bubble burst and the price of tulips crashed.
I'm ruined! Someone take pity on me! It's just hard to believe that all this happened over flowers! Yeah.
The Dutch helped birth modern capitalism, but they also showed how capitalism could go totally haywire.
Well, at least we're smarter than those wooden-shoe-wearers, aren't we? Nope! In fact, economic bubbles still plague us to this very day! Okay! Enough scary-talk, bubble boy.
No, seriously! We might be in one right noooow! (narrato I'm gonnad I didn't hear thaaaat.
Hello, everyone.
It's time to learn about bubbles.
Bright, colorful soap bubbles that float through the air and never hurt anyone.
Sorry, but we're talking about economic bubbles, and since Tulip Mania, they've only gotten more destructive.
In the 1980s, Japan suffered an enormous real estate bubble.
Losses were upwards of 9 trillion dollars, and 14 years after it burst, the country was only starting to recover.
There is not enough sake in Japan to numb this pain.
And in the U.
, when the dot-com bubble burst, nearly a trillion dollars in stocks evaporated in less than a month.
Who could have imagined the Internet would also have bad things? Some experts even say we might be in a bubble right now.
Maybe it's tech or student debt or even bitcoin.
But unfortunately, we won't know we're in one until it pops.
We often think of history only in terms of progress and marvelous inventions, but the fact is, not everything we invent is a good thing, and if we're ever going to fix the problems of the present, we need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past.
You can't ignore the negative.
I guess you're right.
You really can't ignore the negative, especially when it takes over your whole show and never stops talking.
Yeah, you're getting it.
I'm glad we're finally on the same page.
Speaking of pages, why don't you stay on this one? Oh, you were talking about me! Aah! I'm the negative.
Very clever.
Hi! I'm Emily Axford and this is Same Time, Different Place.
At the height of the religious wars that raged throughout Renaissance Europe, a beacon of tolerance was emerging in India.
Akbar the Great, a Mughal Muslim ruler, brought enlightened religious tolerance to his diverse subjects.
His rule was unlike any in Europe.
Born in 1542, Akbar became ruler of the Mughal Empire when he was only 13 years old.
As a descendant of Genghis Khan, conquering was, you know, just kinda part of the family business.
I hate choosing.
Just take over all of it.
By the end of his reign, he controlled an empire that covered much of modern day India from Afghanistan to Bengal.
It was a territory that included lots of different religions and sects, but, perhaps surprisingly, as long as his subjects embraced his rule, he embraced their diverse views.
All done.
Shall we punish everyone who isn't Muslim? Hmm.
No, in fact, let's do the opposite.
Mmm! There we go.
Doesn't that feel good after all that conquering? Yeah.
You can practice whatever religion you want.
The dude was crazy tolerant, especially when you compare him to how intolerant the leaders of Europe were at the time.
Just look at Ferdinand and Isabella, who ruled Spain.
It's Friday night.
I'm bored.
Shall I get the jester? No.
Let's start an Inquisition, kick all the Jews out of our country, and kill anyone who isn't Catholic enough.
TGIF! Akbar, on the other hand, invited Hindus, Jains, Parsis, and Christians to his court to debate and discuss religion.
I may be a Muslim ruler, but please, tell me of your Jesus.
Where to start? First of all, his mom never had sex.
I am hooked.
In 1575, he even built a special building called the House of Worship, which was basically a place where guys could just hang and talk religion.
So, your God is a Father, his own Son, and a Ghost?! Now, that is far out.
Hey, did you know that Jesus is mentioned in the Koran? Akbar even made non-Muslims full citizens of his empire.
Full citizenship for you and you and you and you know what? You, too.
I don't care if you believe in my God, as long as you believe in my reign.
While back in Europe, the Protestant Reformation sparked a century of religious wars.
Tu vaya con dios! Ha! But Akbar kept going full throttle on uniting religions.
In the 1580s, he even invented an uber-tolerant religion of his very own! All religions have a universal basis, so we can all be friends.
Akbar died in 1605, leaving behind a unique legacy of tolerance, yet our history textbooks barely make mention of him.
How about instead of focusing solely on war, intolerance, and plagues, we occasionally mention a guy like Akbar? I mean, is that so much to ask? Jeez!