(meteorobs) Error Regarding Galileo

George Gliba gliba at milkyway.gsfc.nasa.gov
Thu Apr 28 15:00:40 EDT 2005

On Thu, Apr 28, 2005 at 02:36:33PM -0400, Terry Richardson wrote:
> On Apr 28, 2005, at 11:17 AM, George Gliba wrote:
> >
> >Keep religion out of it. The Catholics burned Giordano Bruno to the 
> >steak in
> >1600, and put Galileo under house arrest for their modern scientific 
> >thoughts.
> >
> George et al.,
> Though off topic, I am compelled to make a brief response to correct 
> the oft repeated misconception that Galileo was persecuted for his 
> scientific thoughts. (Bruno is a separate and very different issue.)
> 1. Let me say first I am not Roman Catholic nor am I at all fond of 
> that branch of the Church.
> 2. I am a long time member of HAD (the historical division of the 
> American Astronomical Society).
> 3. I am fond of the truth.
> 4. The record clearly shows that Galileo was a jerk and created the 
> entire mess that resulted in his house arrest (and I will privately 
> send references those requesting them-it is exam time so be patient). 
> As one example we have a letter to Galileo from Monsignor Giovanni 
> Ciampoli in Feb. of 1615 explaining to Galileo that Cardinal Barberini 
> (the future Pope Urbane VIII) just the day before said how much he 
> admired Galileo's worth but wanted him to use caution in not exceeding 
> the limitations of physics and mathematics and in particular to stop 
> interpreting scripture which was the job of theologians. It was the 
> interpretation of scripture which got him in trouble.

Interesting point, but I'm sure many historians would also agree that Galileo
was not a "jerk". The theologians also said Earth was created around 4,000 BCE
and that Copernicus was wrong. Perhaps Pope Urbane VIII (Simplicio) and many
other theologians of the time were also "jerks".


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