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AP - Galileo: victim of persecution or self-undoing?

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Archived Post

Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 234
Location: Skyscript

Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 11:02 pm    Post subject: AP - Galileo: victim of persecution or self-undoing? Reply with quote

3 Sept 2003


Beth wrote:

another impetous was my disgust that Gallileo was persecuted for being correct and disproving the philosophies of the ever evil Aristotle

I will argue this until I take my last breath: Galileo was NOT prosecuted for being right. In fact he was in error about quite a bit, he thought planetary orbits were circular, and as a result and system was rather less useful than Ptolemy's when it came to predicting the whereabouts of the planets. Galileo was even given permission (this was not 21st century America) to teach his heliocentric theory, which he did for more than ten years prior to his arrest and conviction. He couldn't teach it as truth unless and until he could prove it, an idea not without contemporary adherents.

You might argue, and the Church recently conceded the point, that he did not violate the agreement he signed regarding teaching heliocentrism as truth. I think he did, and the contemporary Church simply was bowing to pressure over what, by the 20th century, was a non issue.

He got in trouble out of his own doing and because of the rough and tumble of the politics of his day. If ever a man walked around with a "KICK ME" sign on his back, it was Galileo. The man knew how to make enemies. If you haven't already, read this article by Deborah:

Galileo remained a devout Catholic until his death.



I know the story, I also know entirely too much about catholic politics, which is why I gave catholicism up for lent. It's been a long lent.

And he was correct in that the planets (as stated by copernicus) were in heliocentric orbits. He was also correct in stating that one should base ones theories on Observation and not just on musing. (hence a small rock and a large rock both fall at 9.8 meters per second squared.) He also stated he was uncertain as to why his orbital calculations were incorrect and required more observation. He also died NOT recanting the truth of his works. the church was wrong before it is wrong now it will be wrong again, world without end, amen. (my opinion, other may vary.) this could turn into quite an arguement/discussion of course, so you may want to email me on that instead of clogging the forum.



All of what you say about Galileo's beliefs is true but, in my opinion, quite beside the point. In Deb's article and other places it is noted that the final trial (space does not permit going into the whole story and it is posted elsewhere)was held to determine whether or not he violated an agreement he signed some 14 years earlier. He was found guilty of violating that agreement, which was interpreted to be a heresy. Now, one can disagree with the original guilty verdict should one so desire, but the fact is the trial was not held in order to silence him. He had been openly teaching the heliocentric theory for 14 years without incident, and the Church made consessions to proven phenomenon that contradicted Church teachings in the past. There is no reason to believe the same wouldn't have been extended to heliocentrism, if he had the proof. It was his pride and frankly arrogance that got him into his predicament (He had Leo rising after all).

He wanted heliocentrism accepted based on his sayso ("My observations are right and you have to prove me wrong before you can say otherwise," was his stated position). This is something we would not accept today, much less would we expect it to be accepted in 17th century Italy. In point of fact, his attitude was as hard headed as theirs.

He turned out to be correct (along with others) about the basic principle, but he couldn't prove it, and foisting contemporary values (and not contemporary scientific method) on the 16th and 17th century makes no more sense than expecting Galileo to be able to defend himself with contemporary science.

He was guilty of that which he was convicted: teaching something as truth that he could not prove. And I think the Church was wrong for taking it back, but I still go to Mass.

And now I'm going on vacation Barman! One more ale please.




Have a good holiday Tom. Hope you enjoy yourself.



I will argue this until I take my last breath...

I think that was Galileo's problem Laughing

Last edited by Archived Post on Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Archived Post

Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 234
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Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AP - This is an archived post, but may still be responded to.
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