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Galileo is accused of heresy

Galileo is accused of heresy

On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.

This was the second time that Galileo was in the hot seat for refusing to accept Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe: In 1616, he had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs. In the 1633 interrogation, Galileo denied that he “held” belief in the Copernican view but continued to write about the issue and evidence as a means of “discussion” rather than belief. The Church had decided the idea that the sun moved around the Earth was an absolute fact of scripture that could not be disputed, despite the fact that scientists had known for centuries that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

READ MORE: 8 Things You May Not Know About Galileo

This time, Galileo’s technical argument didn’t win the day. On June 22, 1633, the Church handed down the following order: “We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.”

Along with the order came the following penalty: “We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

Galileo agreed not to teach the heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy.

READ MORE: Long-Lost Letter Reveals How Galileo Tried to Trick the Inquisition


For The First Time (or the last time)

In 1610, Century Italian astronomer/mathematician/inventor Galileo Galilei used a a telescope he built to observe the solar system, and deduced that the planets orbit the sun, not the earth.

This contradicted Church teachings, and some of the clergy accused Galileo of heresy. One friar went to the Inquisition, the Church court that investigated charges of heresy, and formally accused Galileo. (In 1600, a man named Giordano Bruno was convicted of being a heretic for believing that the earth moved around the Sun, and that there were many planets throughout the universe where life existed. Bruno was burnt to death.)

Galileo moved on to other projects. He started writing about ocean tides, but instead of writing a scientific paper, he found it much more interesting to have an imaginary conversation among three fictional characters. One character, who would support Galileo's side of the argument, was brilliant. Another character would be open to either side of the argument. The final character, named Simplicio, was dogmatic and foolish, representing all of Galileo's enemies who ignored any evidence that Galileo was right. Soon, Galileo wrote up a similar dialogue called "Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World." This book talked about the Copernican system.

"Dialogue" was an immediate hit with the public, but not, of course, with the Church. The pope suspected that he was the model for Simplicio. He ordered the book banned, and also ordered Galileo to appear before the Inquisition in Rome for the crime of teaching the Copernican theory after being ordered not to do so.

Galileo was 68 years old and sick. Threatened with torture, he publicly confessed that he had been wrong to have said that the Earth moves around the Sun. Legend then has it that after his confession, Galileo quietly whispered "And yet, it moves."

Unlike many less famous prisoners, Galileo was allowed to live under house arrest. Until his death in 1642, he continued to investigate science, and even published a book on force and motion after he had become blind.

The Church eventually lifted the ban on Galileo's Dialogue in 1822, when it was common knowledge that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Still later, there were statements by the Vatican Council in the early 1960's and in 1979 that implied that Galileo was pardoned, and that he had suffered at the hands of the Church. Finally, in 1992, three years after Galileo Galilei's namesake spacecraft had been launched on its way to Jupiter, the Vatican formally and publicly cleared Galileo of any wrongdoing.

(info from NASA and the History Channel) (portrait by Justus Sustermans painted in 1636)


5. Early Life

Galileo was born to Giulia née Ammannati and Vincenzo Galilei on February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. His father was an accomplished music theorist, lutenist, and composer. Galileo took after his father and became an accomplished lutenist. Of Galileo's five siblings, three of them survived infancy. The family relocated to Florence leaving an eight-year-old Galileo with Jacopo Borghini for two years. Galileo subsequently started formal education at the Camaldoese monastery in Vallombrosa Abbey.


Galileo Vs The Church

G alileo Galilei was never destined for a life as an astronomer and physicist. Ironically, he attended school at the local monastery and after this had been well on his way for a future as a doctor. His father, Vincenzio, had high hopes for his son and arranged for him to study medicine at the University of Pisa from 1581. In spite of this, Galileo never cared for biology, developing a far greater interest in philosophy and mathematics. Against the protestations of his father, he promptly switched subjects and never looked back.

Studying hard for four years, Galileo left university without a degree and turned his hand to private tutoring. During this time he wrote his short treatise, Cosmography, which he used to teach his students about the mysterious celestial bodies. Cosmography adhered to the widely accepted, traditional geocentric philosophies of Aristotle and Ptolemy, which placed the Earth at the centre of the universe.

He soon moved on from his tutoring career and returned to the University of Pisa in 1589, where he spent the next three years as the professor of mathematics. It is likely that this is when he succeeded in disproving Aristotle’s theory that objects of different mass fall at different speeds, though whether Galileo actually tested this by dropping balls of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is disputed as the only record we have of it is a biography written by his pupil Vincenzo Viviani in 1717.

Unfortunately, his unconventional beliefs made Galileo unpopular so his contract at the university was not renewed. He moved once again in 1592 and travelled north to Padua, where he assumed a new, higher paid position as a professor of mathematics at the city’s university. Here, Galileo really began to hone his research. He conducted a number of experiments, many of which were in the field of mechanics.

Starting in 1602, he made some of the first scientific observations regarding pendulums. He also uncovered the principle of isochronism, where a pendulum would take the same time to complete a swing regardless of how big that swing was. Ultimately, this led to the invention of the accurate mechanical clock in 1656 – a device humanity came to rely on.

After a few years of dedicating his time to his experiments, everything changed. In 1609, Galileo heard rumours that a device that could make distant objects appear close had been invented in the Netherlands: the telescope. Once he learned that it had been simply made with just a tube and a lens on both ends, he immediately set out to re-create one for himself. His initial versions ranged in magnifying power, up to eight times, but by 1610, he had developed a telescope that could be magnified 20 times – far more powerful than the original, rudimentary invention.

Armed with his telescope, the possibilities open to Galileo were endless. Just between 1609 and 1610 alone, he discovered mountains on the Moon, the four satellites of Jupiter and numerous stars in the Milky Way. He observed the different phases of Venus and, mistakenly, believed that he had found two ‘ears’ that accompanied Saturn. Although he did not realise it, Galileo had actually observed Saturn’s iconic ring, which would first be confirmed in 1656.

Galileo’s celestial discoveries, coupled with his mathematical genius, placed him light years ahead of his contemporaries. His sudden fame came at a time when the Copernican Revolution was already well underway. Back in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus published On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres, which argued that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the centre of the universe. This theory became known as ‘heliocentrism’ (from the Greek ‘hēlios’ meaning ‘sun’), and contradicted the notion that the universe revolved around our planet, or geocentrism (from ‘gē’ meaning ‘Earth’). As Galileo was making his own celestial observations, German astronomer Johannes Kepler was also conducting significant research in the field.

Kepler’s Astronomia Nova was published in 1609 after his decade-long research into the motion of Mars. One of the most momentous works to ever grace the world of science, not only did Kepler conclude that orbital paths were elliptical and not circular, he also argued that his findings supported heliocentrism. With his telescope, Galileo’s revolutionary research was about to prove that Copernicanism was not just a hypothesis – it was reality.

Galileo decided to share his new discoveries, starting with his book Sidereus Nuncius in 1610. Also known by its English name, Starry Messenger, it drew a lot of interest and raised his celebrity profile to new heights. That same year, he was appointed to the prestigious position of court mathematician to Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, one of his former pupils. However, Starry Messenger also attracted a lot of criticism. Galileo’s conclusion that it was the Sun at the centre of the universe was not accepted by the Catholic Church, the most powerful institution in Italy – it steadfastly supported the traditional geocentric views of Aristotle and Ptolemy.

But all was not yet lost for Galileo. He was not confronted with total opposition to his astronomical findings – for instance, Jesuit astronomers managed to repeat his observations themselves. Galileo even had a few admirers from the Church, most notably Cardinal Maffeo Barberini. Despite being faced with all the evidence, the Church refused to reconcile with the Copernican model. Some astronomers within the Church, such as the Jesuits, advocated the Tychonic system, developed by astronomer Tycho Brahe, which mathematically supported Galileo’s research but also maintained the status quo. According to Brahe, the Sun and Moon revolved around the Earth but the other planets orbited the Sun – a mix of the two theories.

Infinitely frustrated that his evidence was being ignored, Galileo refused to back down. He campaigned incessantly in favour of Copernicus’ theories and clashed with theologians, who desperately clung to their geocentric views. Even though he provoked attention, his combative behaviour backfired and the Jesuits turned their back on him. Now the Catholic Church decided that they had let Galileo run wild long enough – it was time to put its foot down.

What followed was one of the most momentous events in history regarding the tentative relationship between religion and science: the ‘Galileo Affair’. In 1616, the Roman Catholic Inquisition investigated Galileo’s work, for which he was being accused of heresy. A group of theologians were asked to assess the theory of heliocentrism that Galileo had so defiantly defended and whether it held any merit.

Of course, the theologians’ primary task was the defence of the Catholic Church and the Bible and less than a week later, the judgement was passed. They announced that heliocentrism contradicted the Holy Scriptures and thus Copernicanism amounted to heresy. No sooner had the verdict been delivered than Galileo was ordered to stop his support for the theory and all works associated with it, including his, were banned pending suitable corrections. Instead of getting acceptance, Galileo had been left with disaster.

This was not a clear-cut case of science versus religion, of who was right and who was wrong. The possible ramifications of Galileo’s conclusions were terrifying to the Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation had dominated Europe throughout the 16th century, shaking Western Christianity to its core. In order to maintain its authority during a time of great instability, the Catholic Church gripped onto tradition much tighter than they ever had before.

The last thing the papacy needed was Galileo advocating for Copernicanism, which not only threatened the traditional interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, but also the authority of the Church itself. This was a dangerous and sensitive time to go up against Catholicism, as Galileo had discovered. However, despite the ban, he was still allowed to discuss Copernicus’ theories on the condition that he treated them in a purely hypothetical sense.

Quietly waiting for the whole debacle to subside, Galileo continued his work. Despite the controversy, he had not wavered from his support for heliocentrism but by this point he was in his 50s and suffering from recurring periods of ill health, which made his research slow down significantly.

Then in 1623, seven years after his condemnation, it appeared that Galileo’s luck was finally about to change. His long-time friend and supporter Cardinal Barberini – who had valiantly defended him during the Inquisition – was elected to the head of the Catholic Church as Pope Urban VIII. Galileo was ecstatic. Although he was still banned from openly advocating heliocentrism, he believed that with his friend as the head of the Catholic Church, the opportunity to have his research accepted was now within his grasp.

With renewed vigour, Galileo started to work on a new book, which compared the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems. He received permission from the pope to do so during a visit to Rome in 1624, under the condition that Copernicanism would be treated purely as a theoretical hypothesis. After receiving approval from the watchful Vatican censors in 1630, Galileo finally published his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems two years later in 1632.

Dialogue consisted of a series of conversations between three characters, Salviati, Sagredo and Simplicio. Salviati, a Copernican scientist, argues in favour of Galileo’s theory, while Sagredo acts as an impartial scholar. Simplicio supports geocentrism and is depicted by Galileo as an idiot, emphasised by Simplicio’s derogatory name, which translates to ‘simpleton’ in Italian. After years of struggle, Galileo’s ambition had finally been achieved. His defence of Copernicus was printed in black and white for the world to see. He had deviously disregarded the stipulation that heliocentrism must be portrayed as mere theory – and he had even managed to do it all with the Church’s approval. Galileo basked in his success, unaware that his downfall was right around the corner.

Galileo had taken on the Catholic Church all those years ago but now the battlefield was completely different. Copernicanism had not actually been banned until the Inquisition in 1616 and the issue had not been about Galileo himself, rather the threat heliocentrism posed to the power of the papacy. Now Galileo had crossed a line by publicly promoting a theory that had been officially condemned by the Church.

To make matters worse, he had offended his powerful one-time ally, the pope – the one man who could have really helped him. When Pope Urban gave Galileo permission to write his Dialogue, he asked that the astronomer include his pro-geocentric arguments in favour of Ptolemy. Galileo’s creation of Simplicio insinuated that, along with those who supported the Ptolemaic system, the head of the Church was a fool. He had single-handedly ensured that any help he could have received from Pope Urban was now just a pipe dream.

To save face, the Church needed to make an example of the man who was causing so much trouble. After all, if Galileo could openly express his support for heliocentrism, what would stop others from starting to voice their own interpretations of the Bible and its scriptures? Denounced as a heretic, Galileo was summoned to Rome in 1632 to face trial, while his Dialogue was forbidden from sale.

By now, Galileo was almost 70 years old, frail and suffering from poor health. It took him an exhausting five months to reach Rome, so his trial did not begin until in February 1633. When he arrived, he was confined and interrogated as his accusers tried to coax a confession out of him. He had been charged with violating the 1616 injunction against him – something he vehemently denied.

The investigators hoped that by threatening Galileo with the prospect of torture, he would soon relent and admit to his wrongdoings. Instead, he stayed true to his ideas and insisted that he had followed the rules set before him by merely discussing Copernicanism. He even added that his Dialogue had been approved by the Church itself. However, after a couple of months, Galileo was struggling to maintain this tricky stance as his health continued to deteriorate. Finally, he gave in and told the investigators what they wanted to hear – that his Copernican argument had been too forceful.

The weak and elderly scientist clung to the hope that the Inquisition would take pity on him, considering his age and condition, but he had no such luck. In June, Galileo was convicted of heresy and forced to publicly renounce his support for Copernicus’ theory and heliocentrism. At the same time, he also had to announce that he wholeheartedly believed in the Ptolemaic system, with the Earth well and truly positioned at the centre of the universe. Meanwhile, his Dialogue was officially placed on the Church’s list of prohibited books.

Galileo’s punishment did not end there. Initially given life imprisonment, his sentence was commuted to house arrest and he spent the rest of his life cooped up in a Florentine villa. But this did not prevent him from continuing to work on his theories, even though he was slowly going blind. Choosing a less controversial topic, Galileo returned to his investigation into mechanics. During his last years, he wrote one of his most famous works, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. This magnum opus summarised approximately three decades of Galileo’s research in the field of physics, including his ideas on the laws of motion.

As for the Catholic Church, it would take them over three centuries to admit that Galileo had been right all along. Despite the obstacles he faced, there is no doubt that Galileo helped to establish science in the intellectual world, even if this was not achieved during his lifetime. It is a testament to the man’s tenacity that 80 years after his death, his heliocentric theories were eventually vindicated by another great scientific mind, Isaac Newton. Galileo continues to be a scientific inspiration to this day. In 1989, an unmanned spacecraft sent to study Jupiter and its moons was named after the Italian scientist, so his legacy lives on – even in the stars.


Why was Galileo accused of heresy?

But, as the people are, this does not make them knowing anything else in the same degree. But people think so and ask them about other things, if they became famous ones. If the research they are learnt for is expensive, they need this "fans" to get the money - and he became a famous, popular man - and rich enough.

In his time we speak of was the beginning of the 17th century, 30-years war not only on the battle fields but in the verbal fightings, too. The ones made decisions on this land is mine, all my subjects have to believe "this!" - and their enemies told another religion, only for to make the difference fact. The folks had to follow, sometimes very quick in changing all. There was a third movement, now wishing no spaecial religion but doing on their researches.

In this situation Prof.Galileii went with those who cursed the Roman Catholic church in their near, Italia, but did not decide to follow instead of this another church. He hold with those who wrote polemic "letters" on the market places against some preachers words, that each word in the Holy Bible is unchangeable "truth" - even those words which are not laws or witness about an event, but ancient praises, frame-stories.

His papers made the simple people crazy, speaking in an very aggressive sound about some "mistakes" - and this was not science, not valuable by research and labour but pure polemic in the name of science - the folks took it so as if said: "if one point in The Bible is told "false" the whole tradition is not holy - look: all the professors are laughing about that pope and all his teachings about sin or not thing might be wrong. And they laugh, but there doesn't come a thunder on them!"

Not all the professors "laughed" in this way, and this thesis of Galilei was not the first - about the sun being surrounded by the earth, while the eye of a human makes us think, that the earth stands and the sun comes and goes. There is no "error" and no "mistake" if a socalled "doxology" praises G*D for having created that what we see. There isn't told, how HE did arrange this.

But Prof.Galilei let the people think it a problem of belief and "truth" - a lot of others made the same and similar "jokes" - a lot of polemic preachers fighted them as silly.

Then came the day the "Holy inquisition" made a research on Mr.Galilei and accused him for teaching heresy - because of this result, that he had gone much too far in his polemics and his followers left any confidence in their own church and risked their eternal life by not further wishing to follow the 10 comandments

- This was, what happened, in short. - It was a bit more complicated, what they, the accusators, spoke. But this was fact - perhaps he himself didn't feel or wish this, he preached revolution and it was not, that he explained, how it comes, that we see a sun coming and going while this sun is in the middle of an circle the earth goes around her once in 1 year and rotates daily. Other astronomers found this, too. There is no dogma, to say this in poetic feeling or that in a scientifical formula. But he mixed that up as if it were impossible for him, a professor, to ask a professor of theology, to know this. It was wrong to offend the Holy Book and the church.

The problem of Prof.Galilei was really not to find out that the earth ist running around the sun or being a ball - (against imaginations that the earth is a plate and the sun comes and goes over and under or around us human beings) which other people in his times knew, too, even inside the Vatican and in other universities

- his heresy began with his publishing these pure astrophysical things - running around on the market places and distributing cheap popular-papers ("Flugblaetter"), connecting the thesis with it, that the Holy Bible "tells a nonsense" and the church "is not teaching a wisdom and truth, but silly errors like that. ".

This was an unfriendly act and had no real connection, the one with the other what he told .

To tell a religious truth was not his job and he did not study about that, to know this as exactly as he learnt and knew the physical relations between material bodies.

His religion was not based on an idea whether suns run around earthes or the contrary - his heaven would not been promised that it would become so if it is not here so.

And, severe: He was the famous and highly paid and honoured science-man - and not Mr.Everybody sitting in a meadow and playing with apples as if they are globes, because he was a High School teacher in his own science.

There were teachers in his science to speak about such things, and others in his time, who learnt the same things as he, they came to the same results, because this discipline is looking, combining and drawing the line of thoughts, defining one fact to found the other - without any "hurrray!"-results forever. The use is, to learn more, on and on, their job is to prove any result they find, and then to add the next question. They have their market writing books and meeting each another.

Belief is another topic and way, it results on witness of people who saw and heard in their times historical events, they, too, added one to the other, thought about and told the results. Only one sector of this, what came in tradition of the believers is written in the Holy Bible. The Bible tells in the language and knowledge of those witnesses of theit events, and they did not think in words of his time about things which are not relevant for the question what happens with our life and what follows after our death, and WHO is our G*D - HE came not in the way of research, proof and decision to our knowledge - people met some events and the one told this to the next, it started as a community deciding to follow the rules of THIS G*D - we did not know more of HIM as those rules and a pact, what will happen, if we do these laws - and what will happen if not.

In these laws nobody can find a sentence that is is need for those laws, that the sun goes around the earth or the earth has to be a plate or the elefant has to be green coloured.

But Mr.Galileo Galilei - maybe - now fighted only some popular preachers from the more poetic school, those who told on the market places eagerly stories and, clever or silly as the single preacher was, some of them fell so deep in love to the poetic parts of the Bible, when King David was singing praise to The Creator and similar textes, and in the eyes of men the sun does "come" in the morning and "go" in the evening, seems to be a ball, and the stars seem to stay in different sphaeres - and this is a physical truth, too, that our eyes sees this so - in relation to our directly receiption to live in those pictures around a human body who sees this so.

The poetic singer feels good in the knowledge, that our G*D made this all in eternity - the great and the tiny, HE gave some proofs, what HE could make to happen

- but HE loves and likes us, this is the belief and His laws shall help us to live just and friendly, the rich and the poor together in one earth under one sky and later to be together in the heaven with only the good people which hurt nobody in eternity. This is hope - is love - is belief that we got it in our religion. The preachers would say: this is a truth, the whole book, was given to us from our G*D just "so", as written. This is not "full of errors and mistakes" - looking through a telescope is not the same as hearing loving words.

(- But surely, they, the preachers near the professor Galilei, didn't say exactly so in my words, that's clear, they felt offended and fighted re-offending, I assume.)

A science about stars or physical bodies might be a tool to solve this or that problem in future, but it is not more, it is not the help, if we fear to die but longed to have more existence between our beloved ones, and still need a really good joy we long for since our birthtime because we had no good days in this llife - or a reason to believe in mankind's possibilities to keep peace between rich and poor in the society of men on the fundament of some justice in the authority of mercy and equality of men in the house of 1 FATHER.

Therefore his heresy was the way he told it to the simple people, who could not know what "happened", and then going around to tell them: if a poet in the Bible sings in his joy something about "6 days" of creation or about anything - a Mr.Galilei knows "other facts as results from mathematic", the total Holy Book could only be telling more "false" things, if this one is in any part written in other words as his formulas.

in that time Mr.Galilei (*1564-1642^) lived in the time of his processing with the inquisitors in his own villa , in a nice residence, in the periphery of Rome, with its pools, light, gardens and flowers, he could see his visitors and friends there, not a day hungry, he was a rich one, as before, it was only forbidden to go out of the house and teach, or to write again such polemic papers or books . In his case was no tortur used because this was enough of "tortur" for him, that he had to stay in this house near Rome and to tell nothing on a marketplace until he makes his peace with his own church .

Just the popes in his time were very interested in sciences and had a lot of respect against teachers of the High Schools of their times. This time is called Renaissance.

But if he would not finish to make political revolution against the belief of the people and the institution of his own church , and her teaching that a Holy Book is really " holy " ( ) in the church - but his anger was based on only his own most fresh knowledge in one or two points which might change tomorrow when he becomes to know another fact, additionally to the others he knew - then, indeed, it could happen, that the judges would decide, in that times, that he had to be burnt as a " dangerous heretic " because his polemic was bad for the peace between the simple people . This was a law he knew, a saecular.

Only dramatic Romans or films add the " dark prisons, chains, pains and tortures " on his case. Let's tell a word on saecular inquisition of that times - this was not his case.

It was the churches inteest to stop that torture-nonsense growing on, and the Jesuit Frederic Count of Spee began to fight it with clear arguments, in those same years.

In his time - look at his birth-and-death-date around 1600 - the great European reformators hat done what they did, and the politic wished this to happen, and on the end of Galilei's life even the ugly 30-year's war was over, and the saecular judges and state-inquisitors put a lot of people in prisons and under tortures for "nothing", only if the accusation was arosed against somebody - just since the year of 1502 - fresh, the saecular reason for this was simply a new law of the emperor Maximilian - not of the church.

They - not the church - believed actually in a huge lot of witchcraft, magical practises, daemons and dangers for the public welfare by such powers of simply poor people

- and the Emperors "new" Law had gone back to late Emperor of Rome and believed in torture as a way to find out a truth in situations, where p.e. a simple possibility could not prove that this person "A" could have done what the accusator told he /she did. Maybe all witnesses saw this person in the city of "B" while the accusation told, that he had stolen the jewellery in the same hour in the city of "C". - Then this old Roman law ordered the "torture until this persons tells how he /she could do that" - and, surely, in a special degree of pain people tried themselves to find an idea, how - by daemons, devils, magical powers, witchcraft - and if this "could be" (plausible in any crazy way, and the traditional belief is really: that devils and demons are existing), only then the poor delinquents could come free from the torture - guilty or not, only to have a finish with the pains. Fact is: Nothing is believable, told under such circumstances. But this saecular-nonsense went on.

Compare this to the case of Galilei - it is not similar, because he knew what he told, and the problem was not the earth or the sun or which of them goes around - in a belief, that G*D made all, it is the same great wonder, whether the sun goes around or the earth or the galaxies - the wonder was since the beginning, that such a GREAT G*D in interested in human conscience, love and justice, is interested to kow each of us. Why should a torture change a witness , whether a man had found or not a result while adding mathematic formulas ?

- Wrong or right - in such cases, if a person adding "6" to "5" found a resultat "18" or "65" - it is wrong as long as 1 = 1, or he is making a joke

- this needs no tortures to find a way to make the error " plausible ".

If this delinquent says "adding 2 to 135 gives the result of 137" - ok

- but if he permanently added:" and I tell You, people , these ugly bad people do hate people like me thinking he truth, and they themselves are not intelligent enough to add 135 to 2, You should believe them in no way anything they tell You !"

- this is a very bad style, but needs no torture .

Prof.Galilei did not hide anything, he was only a polemic man in that time, maybe he was angry with a single preacher or with some other thing he remembered an injustice in the name of church - maybe a politic reason, a elementary school teacher or someone in his family made him feeling so angry on his own church.

- The only thing was: he should not mix up this with his job as an honorable high degree teacher . He had been a great researcher, had constructed a telescope (1609) in his best years - the first astronomical telescope of the world! - and the people who admired this made him a rich man

- it was far under this niveau to go around with polemic cries on the market places.

So he needed only the time to decide - without publishing anything - to remember that he had a real job to do, and that this job was not to change churches or Bibles or the peoples poetic beliefs.

Later on, after he made this peace - he could teach again, and surely bad, his private polemic war went on around his "case", more than before. They made him a "martyr" of science.

But Mr.Galilei (*1564-1642^) died 78 years old, in a normal way, nobody burnt him or broke him a leg in the name of a belief.

When he was dead he even couldn't tell himself, that nothing so bad had happened to him in that process-time, and he only felt offended by this accusation to be a heretic (it was hertertic what he had done) - and the fear, what could happen to him, if he doesn't stop the polemic, only this was his pains - the fanatics between his fans told him "infallible" even in topics he did never think about.


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo's experiments into gravity refuted Aristotle © Galileo was a hugely influential Italian astronomer, physicist and philosopher.

Galileo Galilei was born on 15 February 1564 near Pisa, the son of a musician. He began to study medicine at the University of Pisa but changed to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became professor of mathematics at Pisa. In 1592, he moved to become mathematics professor at the University of Padua, a position he held until 1610. During this time he worked on a variety of experiments, including the speed at which different objects fall, mechanics and pendulums.

In 1609, Galileo heard about the invention of the telescope in Holland. Without having seen an example, he constructed a superior version and made many astronomical discoveries. These included mountains and valleys on the surface of the moon, sunspots, the four largest moons of the planet Jupiter and the phases of the planet Venus. His work on astronomy made him famous and he was appointed court mathematician in Florence.

In 1614, Galileo was accused of heresy for his support of the Copernican theory that the sun was at the centre of the solar system. This was revolutionary at a time when most people believed the Earth was in this central position. In 1616, he was forbidden by the church from teaching or advocating these theories.

In 1632, he was again condemned for heresy after his book 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems' was published. This set out the arguments for and against the Copernican theory in the form of a discussion between two men. Galileo was summoned to appear before the Inquisition in Rome. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, later reduced to permanent house arrest at his villa in Arcetri, south of Florence. He was also forced to publicly withdraw his support for Copernican theory.

Although he was now going blind he continued to write. In 1638, his 'Discourses Concerning Two New Sciences' was published with Galileo's ideas on the laws of motion and the principles of mechanics. Galileo died in Arcetri on 8 January 1642.


The Conviction of Galileo as a Heretic and the Day the Sun Stood Still

Joshua 10:12-14 12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on [ b ] its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

Joshua Stopping the Sun by Pauwels Casteels (1649-1679)

Pauwels Casteels painting illustrates the story of Joshua at the battle of Gibeon against the alliance of Amorite kings. The Israelites were winning the battle, partly due to God raining hailstones upon the Amorite army, but with the setting of the sun, Joshua commanded that the “‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon!” According to the Bible, the sun stopped in the sky and the day was prolonged until the Israelites could complete their victory over the Amorites. The painting shows the chaos of the battle, the large scale of the battle, and on the upper right side of the painting the people running from the large hailstones. Joshua appears as a commander-in-chief of his army and nature as he rides his white horse.

Luther: In the Table Talk, June 4, 1539, we read of the following regarding this new ideas:

“There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”

On April 12, 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun as Copernicus presented in theory and Galileo confirmed with his telescope. Galileo maintained that his writings were for the purpose of discussion and not belief but his trial ended in conviction.

On June 22, 1633, the Church handed down the following order: “We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.”

Along with the order came the following penalty: “We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

Galileo agreed not to teach the heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy.


Galileo to Turing: The Historical Persecution of Scientists

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Turing was famously chemically-castrated after admitting to homosexual acts in the 1950s. He is one of a long line of scientists who have been persecuted for their beliefs or practices

[partner After admitting to "homosexual acts" in early 1952, Alan Turing was prosecuted and had to make the choice between a custodial sentence or chemical castration through hormone injections. Injections of oestrogen were intended to deal with "abnormal and uncontrollable" sexual urges, according to literature at the time.

He chose this option so that he could stay out of jail and continue his research, although his security clearance was revoked, meaning he could not continue with his cryptographic work. Turing experienced some disturbing side effects, including impotence, from the hormone treatment. Other known side effects include breast swelling, mood changes and an overall "feminization". Turing completed his year of treatment without major incident. His medication was discontinued in April 1953 and the University of Manchester created a five-year readership position just for him, so it came as a shock when he committed suicide on 7 June, 1954.

Turing isn't the only scientist to have been persecuted for his personal or professional beliefs or lifestyle. Here's a a list of other prominent scientific luminaries who have been punished throughout history.

__Rhazes (865-925)
__ Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī or Rhazes was a medical pioneer from Baghdad who lived between 860 and 932 AD. He was responsible for introducing western teachings, rational thought and the works of Hippocrates and Galen to the Arabic world. One of his books, Continens Liber, was a compendium of everything known about medicine. The book made him famous, but offended a Muslim priest who ordered the doctor to be beaten over the head with his own manuscript, which caused him to go blind, preventing him from future practice.

__Michael Servetus (1511-1553)
__ Servetus was a Spanish physician credited with discovering pulmonary circulation. He wrote a book, which outlined his discovery along with his ideas about reforming Christianity -- it was deemed to be heretical. He escaped from Spain and the Catholic Inquisition but came up against the Protestant Inquisition in Switzerland, who held him in equal disregard. Under orders from John Calvin, Servetus was arrested, tortured and burned at the stake on the shores of Lake Geneva - copies of his book were accompanied for good measure.

Galileo (1564-1642)
The Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei was trialled and convicted in 1633 for publishing his evidence that supported the Copernican theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. His research was instantly criticized by the Catholic Church for going against the established scripture that places Earth and not the Sun at the center of the universe. Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy" for his heliocentric views and was required to "abjure, curse and detest" his opinions. He was sentenced to house arrest, where he remained for the rest of his life and his offending texts were banned.

__Henry Oldenburg (1619-1677)
__ Oldenburg founded the Royal Society in London in 1662. He sought high quality scientific papers to publish. In order to do this he had to correspond with many foreigners across Europe, including the Netherlands and Italy. The sheer volume of his correspondence caught the attention of authorities, who arrested him as a spy. He was held in the Tower of London for several months.

__Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964)
__ Domagk was a German pathologist and bacteriologist who is credited with the discovery of the first commercially-available antibiotic, sulfonamide, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1939. Because a Nazi-critical Carl von Ossietzky had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935, Domagk was forced by the Nazi regime to refuse the prize. He was arrested by the Gestapo for a week. After the war, in 1947, he was finally able to receive his Nobel Prize, but not the associated cash prize because too much time had elapsed.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Born in Ulm in Germany, Einstein was a non-practicing Jew. His work on the General Theory of Relativity and his pacifist politics roused violent animosity from right-wing members of German society. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, Einstein was in California and was almost immediately deprived of his posts in Berlin and his membership of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. His property was seized and his books were burned in public. Einstein never returned to Germany, and signed a letter to President Roosevelt alerting him to the fact that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon. He recommended that the US begin similar research.

You can read about more persecuted physicians in this paper by Steven Hajdu.


Galileo is accused of heresy - HISTORY

"The Christian resolve to find the world evil and ugly, has made the world evil and ugly."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Today, the Christian Church does not have the power it once had, yet, we have witnessed the Christian abuses of children, child rape, molestation and other vile acts that reveal the true nature of many Christians and the effects their "God" has upon his followers. The pedophilia scandals are just a small sample of what Christians are capable of. This is due to the evil energy they tie into. "God" and the "Devil" are backwards! This can be plainly seen in the Old Testament where that "God" of Christianity was "a Murderer and a Liar from the beginning."

Years ago, when the Christian church had complete control over government, human life and spirit, we can see from the inquisition, just how sick these people are and just what lengths they will go to get you to accept "Jesus." Just as is seen in the numerous Christian abuses of children today, years ago, with the Inquisition, girls as young as nine and boys as young as ten were tried for witchcraft. Children much younger were tortured to extract testimony against their parents.¹ Children were then flogged while they watched their parents burn.

The Inquisition was early communism. The Catholic Church was the NKVD and KGB of the Middle Ages. For more detailed information, read The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Inquisition and communism, both Jewish programs are both nearly identical systems of mass murder, torture, and enslaving the masses.
"Christianity and communism are very close spiritually and ideologically. This is a fairly well known concept that has been adopted by various thinkers, from Thomas More to Lev Tolstoy. Few people know that the world's first socialist state was established in Paraguay and was based on the ideas of Catholic Jesuits before Marx created his teachings."
"The "Society of Jesus" - the Jesuit religious order - in the Catholic Church was roughly equivalent to the KGB in the Soviet Union."
Above quotes taken from "Pravda" [The main Communist Party Newspaper and leading newspaper of the former Soviet Union] From the article: Is there any difference between Christianity and Communism? 30/04/2013

Truth be known, nearly all of the inquisitors and high-ranking Catholic clergy were Jews.

A documented case in the Silesian town of Neisse reveals a huge oven was constructed, which over a ten year period, more than a thousand "condemned witches, some as young as two years old" were roasted alive.² Many victims were also extremely old, some in their 80's. This made no difference to the church.

The Christian Church murdered, tortured, mutilated and destroyed millions and millions of lives both directly through the Inquisition and indirectly through all of the wars they incited. The damage and destruction this foul religion has perpetrated against humanity is almost beyond comprehension. Most people aren't even aware of the facts. Between the years of 1450-1600, the Christian Church was responsible for the torture, and burning of some 30,000 alleged "witches."³

During the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine CE 306-337 the doctrines of the Christian church were regarded as the foundation of law. 4 Heretics [persons who opposed church teachings, or who were even accused of such] were sought out, tortured and eventually murdered. Heresy was an offense against the State as well as the Church. For hundreds of years, civil rulers tried to stamp out all heresy.

As early as CE 430, the Church leaders declared heresy punishable by death. In CE 906, "The Canon Episcopi" was the first Church body to expressly forbid the use of witchcraft. 5 Before the Inquisition was fully underway, the Church accepted heretics back into the fold, under terms it considered reasonable. The following is an example:

For three Sundays, the heretic was stripped to the waist and whipped from the entrance of the town/village all the way to the church door. He/she was to permanently deny him/herself meat, eggs, and cheese except on Easter, Pentecost and Xmas, when he/she is to eat of them as a sign of his/her penance. For twenty days, twice a year he/she was to avoid fish and for three days in each week fish, wine and oil, fasting, if his/her health would permit.

He/she was to wear monastic vestments with a small cross, sewn on each breast. He/she was to hear mass daily. Seven times a day, he/she was to recite the canonical hours and in addition, at Paternoster ten times each day and twenty times each night.
He/she was to observe total abstinence from sex. Every month he/she was to report to a priest who was to keep the heretic under close observation. He/she was to be segregated from the rest of the community. 6

There is no precise date for the beginning of the Inquisition, most sources agree it manifested during the first six years of the reign of the Catholic Pope, Gregory IX, between 1227 and 1233. Pope Gregory IX who ruled from 1227-1241 is often referred to as the "Father of the Inquisition."

The Inquisition was a campaign of torture, mutilation, mass murder, and destruction of human life perpetrated by Christians and their Jewish root. The Church increased in power until it had total control over human life, both secular and religious.
The Vatican wasn't satisfied with the progress made by regional leaders in rooting out heresy. Pope Innocent III commissioned his own inquisitors who answered directly to him. Their authority was made official in the papal bull of March 25th, 1199. 7 Innocent declared "anyone who attempted to construe a personal view of God which conflicted with the Church dogma must be burned without pity." 8

In 1254, to ease the job of the inquisitors, Pope Innocent IV decreed that accusers could remain anonymous, preventing the victims from confronting them and defending themselves. Many churches had a chest where informants could slip written accusations against their neighbors. Three years later, he authorized and officially condoned torture as a method of extracting confessions of heresy. 9


Victims were tortured in one room, and then, if they confessed, they were led away from the chamber into another room to confess to the inquisitors. This way it could be claimed the confessions were given without the use of force. The Inquisitional law replaced common law. Instead of innocent until proven guilty, it was guilty until proven innocent.

Inquisitors grew very rich, accepting bribes and fines from the wealthy who paid to avoid being prosecuted. The wealthy were prime targets for the church who confiscated their property, land and everything they had for generations. The Inquisition took over all of the victims' possessions upon accusation. There was very little if any chance of proving one's self innocent, so this is one way the Catholic Church grew very wealthy. Pope Innocent stated that since "God" punished children for the sins of their parents, they had no right to be legal heirs to the property of their parents. Unless children came forth freely to denounce their parents, they were left penniless. Inquisitors even accused the dead of heresy, in some cases, as much as seventy years after their death. They exhumed and burned the victim's bones and confiscated all property from their heirs, leaving them with nothing. 10

The actions of the inquisitors had devastating effects on the economy that left entire communities totally impoverished while the church glutted with wealth. They also crippled the economy by holding certain professions suspect. Inquisitors believed the printed word to be a threat to the church and interfered with the communication brought about by the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Maps, cartographers, traveling merchants and traders were all placed under intense suspicion a threat to the church.

Although the church had begun murdering people it deemed heretics in the 4th century and again in 1022 at Orléan, papal statutes of 1231 insisted heretics suffer death by fire. Burning people to death prevented the spilling of blood. John 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

The pedophilia witnessed today is just a small example of the insanity and the twisted, warped minds of most Christians and where any power that they obtain leads to.

The Witch hunts, 1450-1750 were what R H Robbins [The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology] called "the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization." In this 300-year period, the church stepped up the mass murder and systematic torture of innocent human beings. Torturers were allowed as much time as they needed to torture their victims. Most courts demanded that prior to the torture, the victim be thoroughly shaved, claiming that any Demon left undetected in the victim's body hair might intervene to deaden the pain that the torturers inflicted or answer for the victim. 11

Doctors would be in attendance if it seemed the victim might die from the torture. The victim would then be allowed to recover a little before more torture was applied. If the victim died during the torture, inquisitors claimed the Devil intervened with the purpose of sparing the victim further pain or preventing them from revealing his secrets. 12 Those who fainted had vinegar poured into their nostrils to revive them. The victim's families were required under law to reimburse the courts for the costs of torture. Entire estates were seized by the church. Priests blessed the torture instruments prior to their being used. Certain devices were employed to inflict the maximum pain indisputable evidence of the sick Christian mind:

Judas Cradle

The victim was pulled up by a rope or chain and then lowered to the point. The torturer controlled the pressure by attaching weights to the victim or rocking or raising and dropping the victim from various heights.

Brodequin [The Boots]
The brodequin was used to crush the legs by tightening the device by hand, or using a mallet for knocking in the wedges to smash the bones until the bone marrow spurted out. People who passed out were further condemned as the losing of consciousness to be a trick from the Devil in order to escape pain.

Burning the feet.
Oil, lard and grease were applied to the feet before roasting them over a fire. A screen was used to control or increase the pain as exposure to the fire was applied on and off for maximum suffering. Also, as a variation, some victims were forced to wear large leather or metal boots into which boiling water or molten lead was poured.

Hanging and the Strappado

The victim's hands were bound behind the back. They were then yanked up to the ceiling of the torture chamber by a pulley and a rope. Dislocation ensued. Christians preferred this method, as it left no visible marks of torture. Heavy weights were often strapped to the victim to increase the pain and suffering.
Squassation was a more extreme form of the torture. This method entailed strapping weights as much as hundreds of pounds, pulling limbs from their sockets. Following this, the Christian inquisitor would quickly release the rope so they would fall towards the floor. At the last second, the Christian inquisitioner would again yank the rope. This dislocated virtually every bone in the victim's body. Four applications were considered enough to kill even the strongest of victims.

Many were hung upsidedown as well until strangulation ensued.


This device was often used to silence the victim on the way to the burning stake, so they could not reveal what had occurred in the torture chamber or defend themselves in any way.

Ripping the flesh

Christian clergy delighted in the tearing and ripping of the flesh. The Catholic church learned a human being could live until the skin was peeled down to the waist when skinned alive. Often, the rippers were heated to red hot and used on women's breasts and in the genitalia of both sexes.

Breast Rippers

The Iron Torture Chair was studded with spikes. The victim was strapped in nude and a fire was lit beneath the chair. Heavy objects were also be used. They were placed upon the victim to increase the pain of the spikes. Blows with mallets were also inflicted. Often, other torturous devices were applied with the chair such as the flesh ripping pincers, shown above and leg crushing vices.

Skull Crusher
This one speaks for itself. Christian clergy preferred this device because it did not leave visible marks, unless the skull was completely crushed, which happened.

The Rack

The Rack, aka the Ladder was another device that was used extensively. The procedure was to place the nude or near nude victim horizontally on the ladder or rack. Ropes were used to bind the arms and legs like a tourniquet. The knot could be steadily twisted to draw tight the ropes and stretch the victim to where the muscles and ligaments tore and bones broke. Often, heavy objects were placed upon the victim to increase the pain. This was considered by the church to be "one of the milder forms of torture."


Galileo Convicted of Heresy for Teaching the Heliocentric System of the Earth Revolving Around the Sun

Despite the considerable evidence that the Bible provided the necessary intellectual basis for science, 1 atheists often claim that, historically, science and religion have been at war. For centuries, they say, the church opposed the advancement of science and human progress in general. When asked for evidence in support of this view, they usually cite the &lsquoGalileo affair&rsquo. Few, however, know what really happened, and many historians see the events of the time very differently to the caricatures often presented by the media.

Galileo Galilei (1564&ndash1642) was one of the giants of early science. Although best-known for his work in astronomy, he was also an accomplished mathematician and made significant contributions to the understanding of motion, materials, and the development of the scientific method. Some have even described him as the &lsquofather of science&rsquo.

During the seventeenth century, there was much debate about the motions of the heavenly bodies and whether or not the earth was the center of the universe. Galileo believed that the earth moved around the sun and argued against the popular view that the sun moved around the earth. In 1633, the Roman Catholic Church forced him to renounce this view as heresy and imprisoned him for writing a play in which he argued in favor of it. Consequently, Galileo has often been portrayed as a martyr to progress, someone who was shamefully persecuted by an ignorant clergy simply because he attempted to further the advancement of science.

The reality, however, is quite different. At the time of Galileo&rsquos trial, the scientific evidence did not support his assertion that the earth moves, and his &lsquoproof&rsquo that it did was based on a flawed argument. It was only many years later that scientists were able to claim that he was right. 2 Galileo was foolish and arrogant in the way he argued his case he made enemies unnecessarily and threatened the establishment&rsquos hold on the education system. Even at the time, many considered that he was the victim of politics rather than attempts to safeguard Christian doctrine.

The Copernican model, which put the sun at the center with the planets, including the earth, in orbit around it, is known as a &lsquoheliocentric and geokinetic model&rsquo&mdashfrom Greek, hēlios (the sun) and kentron (centre) and, (the earth) and kinētikos (moving). Here, as well as orbiting the sun once per year, the earth spins, completing a full rotation every 24 hours. Copernicus argued that the spinning of the earth explains the apparent movements of the sun (and other heavenly bodies) around the earth over the course of the day and night. As with Ptolemy&rsquos model, the planets&rsquo orbital paths were circular but with added epicycles. Again, these were needed to make the theory fit with observations. This heliocentric model was favored by some mathematicians as a means of predicting the positions of the planets over time. In 1533, the Copernican theory was presented to Pope Clement VII who received it favorably and rewarded the presenter with a generous gift. 3

Another model was proposed by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546&ndash1601). As with the Ptolemaic system, the earth was stationary and central, with the sun, moon, and stars in orbit around it. However, the planets orbited the sun. (See fig. 4.) By the end of the sixteenth century, Brahe&rsquos system had largely replaced Ptolemy&rsquos as the preferred model.

With the help of an improved telescope he built in 1609, Galileo became convinced that Copernicus was correct and argued that we could be sure that the earth was in motion because of the oceanic tides. The spinning of the earth, he said, along with its orbiting of the sun, caused the water to ebb and flow over the earth&rsquos surface. While some Roman Catholic astronomers were favorable to the Copernican system, others, including most of the leading scientists of the day, felt that Galileo&rsquos insistence on the &lsquofact&rsquo of the Copernican system went well beyond the evidence. If the earth spun, they asked, why didn&rsquot everything fly off it, as water flies off the rim of a spinning wheel? Also, why were there not fierce winds? A pressing problem with heliocentric models was that they predicted that small changes in the positions of stars would be visible over the course of the year. This is known as &lsquostellar parallax.&rsquo

Cristoforo Grienberger, one of the Church&rsquos most respected astronomers, argued that Galileo would do better to produce more convincing proofs before seeking to &lsquoadjust&rsquo Scripture to fit with his theory. 4 Indeed, for many, the failure to observe changes in the positions of the stars strongly favored Brahe&rsquos model. 5

Cardinal Robert Bellarmine was arguably the most respected Roman Catholic theologian of the time, and was also knowledgeable about astronomy. In a letter written in 1615, he acknowledged that, if it could be demonstrated that the earth orbits the sun, it would be necessary to reconsider how the scriptures should be interpreted in this matter. However, he also made clear that no such demonstration had been given to him. He wrote:

&ldquo&hellip if there were a real proof that the sun is in the center of the universe &hellip and that the sun does not go round the earth but the earth round the sun, then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining the passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and we should rather have to say that we did not understand them &hellip But I do not think there is any such proof since none has been shown to me.&rdquo 6

Galileo had not presented this proof because he didn&rsquot have it. Instead, he bluffed, ridiculed his opponents and, in remarkable arrogance, claimed that the problem lay in their inability to follow his arguments. 7 He became impatient and, early in 1616, sought to convince the pope (that is Pope Paul V), presenting the oceanic tides as &lsquoproof&rsquo that the earth is not stationary. The pope responded by summoning his advisors 8 whom he asked to consider the matter. Under pressure to provide an answer, they responded quickly. Their conclusion was that Galileo&rsquos belief that the sun is stationary was contrary to Scripture and heretical, and that his view that the earth is not stationary was an error.

In response, the pope directed that Cardinal Bellarmine urge Galileo to abandon his opinion and, if he refused, be commanded before witnesses, under threat of imprisonment, to refrain from teaching, defending, or even discussing it. Galileo agreed to abide by the ruling. In addition, on 5 March 1616, it was decreed 9 that Copernicus&rsquos theory was &ldquofalse and contrary to Holy Scripture&rdquo. The decree, however, stopped short of condemning it as heretical. Moreover, Copernicus&rsquos book was not to be &ldquoprohibited and condemned&rdquo, because it was felt that, with amendment, it would present the heliocentric theory only as a &lsquomathematical hypothesis&rsquo, rather than something true and reconcilable with Scripture. Indeed, as a means of performing calculations, and producing calendars and star charts, it was considered useful. Hence, it was only to be &ldquosuspended until corrected&rdquo.

Although approved by the pope, these rulings were not endorsed in such a way as to make them unchangeable&mdashand deliberately so. 10,11,12 Hence, the pronouncement against the Copernican system could, in theory, be reversed at some point in the future. Moreover, the requirement for Galileo to &ldquoabandon his opinion&rdquo should be understood in the context of a written statement, by Cardinal Bellarmine himself, to the effect that Galileo had not been forced to renounce his view. 13,14 Although Roman Catholic astronomers were required to conform outwardly, there was no absolute prohibition on their inward thoughts on the matter. 15 Nor were they prohibited from discussing it quietly among themselves. 16

Some have maintained that the Roman Catholic Church&rsquos ruling on this matter was based primarily on religious considerations. Others, however, doubt this. For many academics of the day, the suggestion that the earth was not stationary seemed a radical and even dangerous idea, a departure from common sense and the perceived wisdom held almost universally by the esteemed scholars of the past. And as pointed out above, it conflicted some of the best science of their day. It threatened to overthrow the very foundations of medieval astronomy and discredit Aristotle, the revered philosopher whose writings had been the basis of what had been taught in the universities for centuries. According to Professor Giorgio de Santillana, it was chiefly these professors, rather than churchmen, who were behind the prohibition of Copernicanism in 1616. 17

In 1623, a friend of Galileo became pope&mdashPope Urban VIII. Urban had supported Galileo in 1616 and had opposed the view that his teaching was heretical. Had it been in Urban&rsquos power, the prohibition against the Copernican theory would not have been passed. 18 Moreover, as pope, he had confided to a colleague that, in his understanding, the church had neither condemned nor would condemn the doctrine of Copernicus as heretical, but only &ldquorash&rdquo. 19 Hence, he was happy for Galileo to argue in favor of the model, so long as he presented it only as a hypothesis&mdashalbeit one that explained the observations very well. He could not, however, assert that it was true, as God, he said, being all-powerful, could have produced the observable effects in some other way.

Greatly encouraged, Galileo set about writing a play 20 in which the arguments for and against the geocentric and heliocentric systems were to be discussed. As a literary work, it was brilliant&mdashwitty, majestic, and composed of breath-taking language. As a scientific treatise, however, it fell far short of what might be expected from a man of Galileo&rsquos abilities. 21 For example:

  • It misrepresented the Copernican model making it appear much simpler than it is. With its need for epicycles, Copernicus&rsquos model was arguably as complicated as Ptolemy&rsquos.
  • It failed to give due consideration to Tycho Brahe&rsquos model, the one favored by many astronomers of the day.
  • It argued that the tides arose due to the motion of the earth and failed to engage seriously with the alternative view that they were the result of the influence of the moon.

According to Albert Einstein, had Galileo not been so passionate in his quest to convince people of the Copernican model, and had someone else presented the tides as evidence for the earth&rsquos motion, Galileo himself would have been among the chief sceptics. Einstein wrote:

&ldquoIt was Galileo&rsquos longing for a mechanical proof of the motion of the earth which misled him into formulating a wrong theory of the tides. The fascinating arguments in the last conversation [in the play] would hardly have been accepted as proofs by Galileo, had his temperament not got the better of him.&rdquo 22

The play was finished in 1630 and printing was completed in 1632. It did not, however, present the Copernican system as just a hypothesis, and was soon to incur the wrath of Galileo&rsquos enemies. Many in the church hierarchy were devoted Aristotelians, having embraced much of his philosophy and science. They believed that they had &lsquoChristianized&rsquo his formidable logic and now used it in defense of the Roman Catholic faith, and as the basis for teaching in their universities. Moreover, in Galileo&rsquos play, Aristotelians were ridiculed, and their defender portrayed as a simpleton named &ldquoSimplicio&rdquo. Those who did not share the Copernican view were described as &ldquomental pygmies&rdquo, &ldquodumb idiots&rdquo and &ldquohardly deserving to be called human beings&rdquo. 23

This kind of folly and arrogance was not untypical of Galileo. In a private note he wrote of himself that &ldquoit was granted to me alone to discover all the new phenomena in the sky and nothing to anybody else. This is the truth which neither malice nor envy can suppress.&rdquo Similarly, in his play, he claimed to be the original discoverer of the solar spots and &ldquoall other novelties in the skies&rdquo. 24 Arthur Koestler wrote of Galileo&rsquos approach to debate:

&ldquoHis method was to make a laughing stock of his opponent in which he invariably succeeded, whether he happened to be in the right or in the wrong. &hellip It was an excellent method to score a moment&rsquos triumph, and make a lifelong enemy.&rdquo 25

The Aristotelian professors pointed out to the pope that his favorite argument&mdashthat Copernicanism could not be proven because God could produce the observed effects by numerous different means&mdashhad been put into the mouth of Simplicio, the man who, on every other point, had been proved wrong. Moreover, they persuaded him that Simplicio had been intended to be a caricature of his own person. The pope, a proud and vain man, was enraged, not only by this, but because he felt betrayed by Galileo&rsquos failure to abide by his instruction that the play should present the Copernican model only as a hypothesis. Feeling that he had been deceived, the pope ordered that Galileo be brought to trial by the Inquisition.

The trial

In 1616, Cardinal Bellarmine had been instructed to warn Galileo to abandon the Copernican theory and, if he refused, be commanded before witnesses, under threat of imprisonment, to refrain from teaching, defending, or even discussing it. A church document, dated 3 March 1616, records that Galileo acquiesced, suggesting that he was never actually prohibited from discussing it. 26 Cardinal Bellarmine&rsquos note, testifying that Galileo had not been forced to renounce his view, would seem to support this interpretation. However, at the trial, another document was produced indicating that the prohibition not even to discuss it had actually been given. This stated that Galileo had been commanded not &ldquoto hold, teach or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing.&rdquo The validity of this latter document, however, has been the subject of much discussion. The usual signatures are missing and the witnesses were servants who had no knowledge of the procedures. 27 While some historians think that the document was genuine, 28 others have suggested that it was a deliberate forgery by Galileo&rsquos enemies 29 still others believe that the record had simply been written in error. 30 Galileo himself denied all knowledge of this prohibition. 31,32

Despite its questionable nature, the document stating that Galileo had been commanded not to defend Copernicanism &ldquoin any way whatsoever&rdquo was accepted by the Inquisition. Moreover, it was asserted that the heliocentric view was contrary to Scripture and heretical. Galileo, they concluded, had disobeyed the command not even to discuss the Copernican theory, and had rendered himself &ldquosuspected of heresy&rdquo. In order to avoid further charges, Galileo was forced on oath to renounce the heliocentric view as heretical and false. In addition, he was sentenced to imprisonment, albeit an &lsquoincarceration&rsquo which was merciful by any standard. Firstly, he was confined in the Grand Duke&rsquos villa and secondly in a palace in Sienna where he worked &ldquoin an apartment covered in silk and mostly richly furnished&rdquo. 33 Thereafter he remained under house arrest until his death.

Many at the time questioned the justice of the verdict and sentence. The view that the heliocentric theory was heretical was not one that was held completely universal within the church. Cardinals Bellarmarine and Conti, for example, had both agreed that Scripture might legitimately be interpreted differently, allowing for a moving Earth , but only IF science showed conclusively that the heliocentric model was correct. 6,34 One archbishop is on record as stating that &ldquoGalileo was the greatest man of the age, that his condemnation was unjust, [and] that the Inquisition should not have ruled on a question of science&rdquo. 35 Even the pope himself had previously described Copernicus&rsquos theory only as &ldquorash&rdquo. According to Professor Klaus Fischer, &ldquoThat the whole trial was questionable could not be hidden to insiders. There was much resistance by high Church officials&rdquo. 36 Moreover, by the end of the century, the Copernican theory was being freely taught by Roman Catholic astronomers. 37

Conclusion

At the time of Galileo&rsquos trial, the scientific evidence favored a geostatic model. Galileo was wrong in asserting that the Copernican system was correct. The Roman Catholic Church at the time had every reason to doubt Galileo&rsquos assertions, and the pope had every reason to insist that Galileo present Copernicus&rsquos theory only as a hypothesis. Galileo lacked humility and was foolish in the way he argued his case. He made claims that he could not substantiate and mocked those who held different views. He antagonized his opponents and invited their hostility. Galileo&rsquos trial is not an example of religion opposing science. Rather, it is a tale of human pride and the protection of self-interest.


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