Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Now I've Heard Everything

galileo, catholic, church, heresy, science,
The Catholic Church has been around for a very long time, and wielded enormous power for a large portion of that time. As a result, the Catholic Church has a sordid past. (And a sordid present, but that's another post.)

I've heard the official Catholic response to the Inquisition before (not that many people died), but this interpretation of the Catholic Church's response to Galileo's discovery that the earth revolves around the sun is bizarre.

The Politically Incorrect truth is that Galileo found himself in the predicament he was in, not because he said the earth was not the center of the universe but because he said it without sufficiently arguing the scientific case against geocentrism. Among the problems with the theory as presented by Galileo was he said the tides were responsible for the earth's motion and he never answered the geocentrist argument involving stellar parallax. Tycho Brahe, who could hardly be called an enemy of science was unconvinced by Galileo. So it really wasn't, as is the popular myth, that the Church was/is against science. But rather the "sin" Galileo was guilty of was bad science and his insistence that the Church take seriously a theory still in its infancy. A theory if you will, that had not yet learned to walk.

So, it's not that the Catholic Church was against any position contrary to their own, it's that the Catholic Church was so concerned with science that they were deeply offended by Galileo's somewhat incomplete theory- and tried him for heresy as a result.


  1. *Sigh* I must be losing my mental faculties. For, no matter how many times I read that, it doesn’t make any more sense than it did at first – which is, none at all.

  2. I'm not often stupified, but the image of the 17th Century Catholic Church as the ultimate defender of scientific truth did the trick.

  3. !!?!?!!?!

    That's pretty much the only response to this.

  4. "A theory if you will, that had not yet learned to walk."

    English speak we beautiful.

  5. Do people even think about what they write before they write it?


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