For almost 400 years, the Inquisition’s trial of Galileo, a/k/a the Galileo affair, has been recognized as a classic confrontation of science and religion.
Galileo’s book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, discussed the astronomical evidence he produced — see Creationism, Galileo and the Phases of Venus — in favor of the sun-centered solar system first proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543), about which see Copernican heliocentrism.
In that post we also discussed two specific scripture passages were used as evidence against him during the trial:
Ecclesiastes 1, verse 5: The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Joshua 10:13: And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
Under threat of torture, the trial ended when Galileo renounced the solar system and confessed heresy. See — Recantation of Galileo. June 22, 1633. But that wasn’t enough. His book was banned and placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and he was kept under house arrest for the remaining seven years of his life.
Although the Church has recognized its error — see List of apologies made by Pope John Paul II, and now holds Galileo in high regard, from time to time, we encounter people who actually defend what the Inquisition did, and put the blame on Galileo. The Discovery Institute did that about a year and a half ago — see Discoveroids Defend the Galileo Trial. As we said then:
The reason creationists defend what happened to Galileo is because they crave the kind of power that religion once had in the West, and they secretly wish that they too could do that sort of thing to those who teach things they don’t like.
Today the Discoveroids are doing it again. This just popped up at their creationist blog: Listen: Did Galileo Prove the Catholic Church’s Irrational Opposition to Science?, and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
On a new episode of ID the Future [Wowie, a podcast!], host Andrew McDiarmid interviews science historian and author Michael Keas about Keas’s new book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion.
They keep plugging that book. We wrote about it back in November — see Yet Another Discoveroid Book — Truly Amazing. Then they say:
Download the podcast or listen to it here.
We’ll omit that link. If you want to listen to the thing, click over there and find it for yourself. After that they tell us:
The myth this time is that the Roman Catholic Church tortured Galileo for opposing official teachings on the structure of what we now call the solar system.
We’re not aware of any reputable source claiming that Galileo was actually tortured. But the threat of torture was implicit in the Inquisition’s trials. The Discoveroids continue:
In fact Galileo had found support for heliocentrism but hadn’t proved it scientifically [Huh?]; there were scientists and theologians both against him and for him; and he wasn’t tortured, anyway.
That’s how they defend what was done to Galileo? Their brief post concludes with this:
There’s plenty here for both scientists and theologians to learn — as well as anyone who thinks Galileo shows the Church was at war against science.
Plenty to learn? Well, yes. It’s always interesting to learn who defends the Inquisition in that matter. Aside from that, there’s plenty more that could be used to fertilize the lawn.
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