There was a time when Heliocentricity was punishable by death, suggesting that the Monarch wasn't divine would see your head separated from your shoulders whether or not you had dandruff and the Witchfinder Pursuivant roamed the country looking for witches to drown. Okay, I admit that I got that last one from Black Adder but you know the score.
We look back at previous generations and laugh at their foolishness at believing supersticious nonsense. We justify our ridicule of the Dark Ages with the widespread acceptance that fact based rationale is probably the best way to make sense of the world.
But maybe we have not progressed as far as our smugness lets us believe.
The Home Secretary says that he has lost confidence in a Professor who has simply done his job as a scientist and that is to state the evidence and produce findings based on the evidence.
When a fact based opinion is given to politicians and their first reaction is to wonder what the Daily Mail would think we are getting into dangerous territory. If we'd followed that practice in the 1930s we'd all be speaking German.
Instead it should be the Home Secretary that people should lose confidence in. The Labour Government is persuing policy based on nothing more substantial than the magic of the Wookey Hole Witch. The Prince of Darkness is probably grasping his planchette in his left hand as he consults his ouija board before giving Adam Crozier his daily set of instructions.
Even now I suspect Gordon Brown is thumbing through to the astrology page in the Daily Mail for advice on when to call the election. I await the next Government initiative to vet asylum seekers. Chuck them in the Serpentine and if they drown they can stay. Oops. Maybe in the current climate I shouldn't be floating ideas like that?
For all Gordon Brown's alleged high IQ, he and his cabinet have only proved themselves to be more and more intellectually bankrupt as the days tick by.