Discoveroids Say Galileo Was Well Treated

For the past few months, most of the posts at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute keep flogging the same few creationist books over and over, telling about radio interviews, podcasts, etc. This isn’t surprising, since they have no genuine news to report, but it makes for difficult blogging. Whenever we visit their website, it’s always the same stuff we’ve discussed before.

That’s true today, but their subject is so revolting that we have to mention it. We’re talking about the latest post by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. It’s titled Galileo Myth Goes Marching On.

The title of his post is revealing. Everything the Discoveroids don’t like (e.g., evolution) is a “myth,” and the actual myths they do like (e.g., their intelligent designer — blessed be he!) are declared to be scientific facts. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The Galileo myth [yeah, “myth”] posits that the great astronomer’s story illustrates the near-inevitable conflict between science and religion — or “faith and fact.”

Are you throwing up yet? If not, you soon will be. Then he says:

As science historian Michael Keas [a Discoveroid “senior fellow”] explains, the story is actually more complicated, nuanced, and interesting than the myth would have it: In Unbelievable [link omitted], Professor Keas [a professor at Biola, a bible college] explores seven myths about the history of science and faith. It’s a great read.

Here’s Keas’ Discoveroid bio page. They’ve been blogging about his book for months. We first wrote about it back in November — see Yet Another Discoveroid Book — Truly Amazing. Get ready now — here it comes. Klinghoffer tells us:

In the case of Galileo, the scientific evidence available at the time was not at all a slam dunk for the Copernican view. His trial and house arrest by the Catholic Church were not simply a panicked religion fighting back against scientific truth. [Then what were they?] There were scientists and theologians on Galileo’s side and others against him. Unlike Giordano Bruno, Galileo was not burned.

He wasn’t burned — Wowie! That’s favorable treatment indeed! By the way, the Discoveroids wrote something similar to this a month ago, and we posted Discoveroids Defend the Inquisition. There we went into details about the savage treatment Galileo received — including threats of torture, being forced to confess heresy, being forced to recant his belief in the solar system, and the banning of his book. It’s all there, with links, so we won’t repeat it here.

Klinghoffer continues to praise how Galileo was treated:

He lived out his life at his comfortable rural estate, Villa Il Gioiello, on the hillside outskirts of Florence. Which, by the way, looks like quite a place. Its name means “The Jewel.” The photo at the top shows a loggia, a room with open walls, overlooking a lovely parklike setting.

Wowie — they treated Galileo like a king! Let’s read on:

Of course, as Keas emphasizes, this is still a shameful episode for the Church, but not a simple one!

Shameful, but not simple — what does that mean? We would describe the treatment of Galileo as brutal, tyrannical, and absolutely indefensible. Perhaps that’s why we haven’t been invited to join the Discovery Institute. Here’s more from Klinghoffer:

Yet textbooks and the media have portrayed Galileo as a martyr for science, and they continue to do so. His myth goes marching on.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And to make things worse, the scientific truth of the intelligent designer is suppressed. Anyway, here’s the end of Klinghoffer’s thrilling post:

As we’ve seen in recent arguments with evolutionists [the fools!], the mistaken notion remains highly influential: a reasonable adult must either give up religion or isolate it, like a poor sick thing, from science. Not so.

All we’ve ever said is what has been the basic rule in the US for over two centuries: Church and state should be kept separate, and neither should interfere with the other. If that had been the rule in Galileo’s time, there would have been no Inquisition. But if you ask the Discoveroids, they’ll tell you — as they just did — that the Inquisition wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

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23 responses to “Discoveroids Say Galileo Was Well Treated

  1. So they offered Galileo the Comfy Chair?

  2. docbill1351

    Klankerwanker projected:

    the near-inevitable conflict between science and religion — or “faith and fact.

    The way he wrote this, you would pair “faith” with “science” and “fact” with “religion.”

    In other words, he just explained the Tooter’s Creed.

  3. There were those who said that they were open to real evidence for the Copernican system. And, by their standards of evidence, there was no evidence. They said that if there was good evidence, their interpretation of the BIble was open to change.
    The standards of evidence that they were demanding are quite similar to the standards that creatioists demand of evolution. The case is not quite the same, for the geocentrists had a model, an explanation for the motions of the
    heavens. They were not just negativists. They were asking for a reason to change the theory of the motions. Was helicoentrism better than geocentrism?
    On the other hand, they were operating by the standards of law for the day, which we find awful. (We find the standards of fifty years ago awful, but I won’t go into that.)
    But about the standards of evidence that they were looking for. Galileo could not meet those standards. One example is the distance to the “fixed stars”. There was no direct evidence for just how far they were, and that was not able to be measured until the 19th century. Depending on how strict your standards of evidence, it would be the 20th century before that would be available. But it wasn’t long after Galileo when “nothing in astrtonomy made sense except in the light of heliocentric model of the Solar System.”
    I suppose that Ihave to make this comparison clear.
    Today’s creationists are operating without an alternative to evolution. They are resfusing to accept the possibility that their interpretation of the Bible is mistaken. Even though the Bible does not supply an alternative to evolution.

  4. “The inquisitions were not that bad”…and today in ‘merica.. chris-anul-ty can’t discriminated!!! AHAHAHHH! Persecution! They like their hyperbole.

  5. docbill1351

    Let’s see if Konkerbonkers will take the Galileo Challenge. We’ll put him up in a little house in Tuscany where he can live for nine years like Galileo.

    Just like Galileo.

    No electricity. No running water. No medicine not available in 1633. No food not available in 1633. Yes, he can live a nice, restful life in his idyllic little house. I’m sure he’ll love it!

  6. Our dear SC asks: “[Then what were they?]”
    A petty revenge of Pope Urbanus VIII, because Galilei had mocked him in his book Dialogo. Something the IDiots from Seattle could have done.

  7. Yet another advertorial. I have a theory. Klinghoffer is not a real person. It’s just a nom de plume used by an unstable, emotional, 20-something intern, which enables the DI to drive down running costs.

    On the other hand, Ann Gauger, she of ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’ fame, is a very real and nice person, though only dragged out of the cupboard, swept for cobwebs, and placed on display on very rare occasions these days. Best write a book, Ann.

  8. @Draken I do believe that Galileo was Italian. If memory serves, the dreaded instrument of torture to which you refer was a was a favourite of the… oh bugger.

  9. Ok Kloppydunkle in one paragraph you say the Galileo era church treated him badly and then in the next paragraphyou say that no they didn’t. I’ve seen better smokescreens created by a single match on a windy day .
    You’re coming close to allowing your conscience to start dictating what you write instead of your need for a Discoveroid paycheck Klinkleclapper.

  10. Any time you find yourself forced to defend both the Spanish Inquisition and the Roman Inquisition you must acknowledge you have lost your argument.

  11. Karl Goldsmith

    They have been busy getting the shills to five star Darwin Devolves on Amazon, seventeen reviews everyone being five stars!

  12. j a higginbotham

    Guest Lecturer at BIOLA, without even a profile page.

  13. Dave Luckett

    The Galileo story is a historical narrative. Like all such it is a somewhat romanticised version which often contains real events and facts at its core. All historical personalities, without exception. are subject to this effect. There is some admixture of fantasy into all narrative history. Once the fantasy becomes notable, and more so as it becomes dominant, the product is called legend, not myth.

    Legends are stories about heroes and ancestors that credit them with enormous stature and prowess. Villains, too. On the extremes – when we get to heroes like King Arthur of the Britons, Roland of Roncevalles, or Jesus of Nazareth, we find an element of the supernatural as well.

    Myth is something else. A myth is a story told to ascribe a supernatural cause to a natural phenomenon or human custom. The early Genesis stories are myths. When we get to the story of Abraham, we merge into legend. (Well, maybe.)

    Legend has gathered around the story of Galileo. One can hear it gathering in the line from one of the best filksongs, Catherine Faber’s “The Words of God” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-vDhYTlCNw ) “Long ago, when torture broke the remnants of his will/ Galileo recanted, but the Earth is moving still”. (Incidentally, the song is a strong defence of science and evolution, and to my mind, very beautiful. YMMV.)

    To rehearse the weary facts again, Galileo was never actually tortured, and the threat of it was probably only implicit. Probably. The same for the threat of the stake. Whether he muttered “Eppur si muove” as he signed the recantation is also part of the legend. Probably what really did happen to him would not have happened if he had not gone out of his way to mock the Pope as well as to defend heliocentrism.

    The iDIots are at best non-scientists who write tosh for non-scientists. Klinghoffer is at best a paid polemicist, hardly to be distinguished by such a title as “essayist”. Even so, as a professional writer, he should know the odds between myth and legend. But it’s the usual effect: one who is incompetent in one field is usually incompetent in others.

  14. Dave Luckett

    Sorry, I forgot that it is now necessary to add a bye-line. The above is me, as if you did not know.

  15. Dave Luckett (and others here): The couple of times I’ve been in Florence, one of my favorite places is Santa Croce, the Jesuit church. It has the crypts of a number of founders of the Renaissance, including Galileo. I don’t know whether it’s a myth or legend, but apparently the Jesuits dug him up from Villa Il Gioiello and put him in their crypt, perhaps because they figured he might have been right.

  16. @docbill1351
    I don’t mean to downplay the fact of being interrogated by the Inquisition
    But think of the average conditions of life of the average old man of Galileo’s time. He was able, if I recall correctly, to write about science, other than astronomy.

  17. Indeed, from that perspective Galilei wasn’t treated badly. However his trial remains a symbol of theological intervention and theocratic authoritarianism, ie clergical ambition to control science. Especially the latter is ironic, given Klinkleclapper’s propaganda for so called Academic Freedom bills. Of course we already know that no IDiot is above any hypocrisy.

  18. James St. John

    A threat of torture is torture. Galileo was severely mistreated for engaging in scientific investigations. Why churchy types keep trying to defend this is beyond me – I first heard this kinda nonsense on Catholic radio years ago. If this was no big deal, as Klingon asserts, then why did the Catholic Church apologize for this, several popes ago?

  19. @James St. John
    My memory is that the Pope John Paul II did not apologize. It was reported as an apology, but he said that certain members of the church did wrong. He ws a master of PR.

  20. Michael Fugate

    If the DI were honest, they would take to heart what Galileo wrote in his defense by quoting Cardinal Baronius in a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina:
    “La Bibbia ci insegna la via per andare in cielo, non come il cielo sia fatto”

    or translated:
    “The Bible teaches us the way to go to heaven, not how heaven is made”

    If only they would.

  21. @Michael Fugate
    Thank you for giving a more accurate translation of that famous quotation. It is often “improved” by making a pun. In the original form, it is more applicable to creationism.

  22. Michael Fugate

    It is interesting that cielo is sky and paradiso is heaven – so it is a bit of a pun even as written and translated. It is the play on the two meanings that make it work.

    One item I find intriguing is some historians believe the distorting lenses of early telescopes made stars seem closer – they did not appear as pin points – and this corroborated a fixed earth ( Ptolemy’s or Tycho’s model). Before this though, I am not sure why this assumption would be made. I also wonder if inertia was contemplated even if it wasn’t mathematically discussed. Imposing science on non-science thought and writing is difficult

  23. Karl Goldsmith:
    “They have been busy getting the shills to five star Darwin Devolves on Amazon, seventeen reviews everyone being five stars!”

    Makes sense, though. Amazon allows reviews from confirmed purchasers, and only creationists/IDers are purchasers. Would you buy this book, only to be able to write a 1-star review? (Do they have the option of a zero-star review?)