Galileo’s battle for science over scripture.

Galileo's daughter I recently read a most interesting book, Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobell which charted the life of Galileo through letters to/from his daughter who spent all her adult life in a convent. Recognised today as a great pre-Newton philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, the book describes many of his battles with the Catholic Church and its supporters to gain acceptance for his sun centric view of our solar system. The church’s view at that time was of the sun revolving around the earth based on scripture interpretation and that all else was heresy.

O Lord my God, Thou art great indeed… Thou fixed the Earth upon its foundation, not to be moved for ever. PSALM 104: I, 5

The original view of Copernicus prior to Galileo, was to overturn the Aristotelian view such that:The Sun is the centre of the world, and consequently is immobile of local motion. Cardinals then debated Galileo’s view as to whether the sun moved around the earth, or the earth moved around the sun. Ignoring Galileo’s observation data the unanimous verdict of the panel pronounced the idea that the sun was at “the centre of our world/solar system” not only ‘formally heretical’, in that it directly contradicted Holy Scripture, but also ‘foolish and absurd’ in philosophy.
The following week the Congregation of the Index published a proclamation stating the official position on Copernican/Galilean astronomy –namely, that it was ‘false and contrary to Holy Scripture’. The decree also named names and called for action. It suspended Copernicus’s book until corrections were made in it, ‘so that this opinion may not spread any further to the prejudice of Catholic truth’.

Galileo then wrote in private correspondence to one of his students and his daughter:
They are showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they… hurled various charges and published numerous writings filled with vain arguments ……Galileo

He was eventually tried by the Inquisition, forced to withdraw his views and lived the rest of his life under house arrest just because he dared to go against scripture and actually prove that the earth moved around the sun.

Science or scripture

Now, in case you are incredulous or merely laughing at such ignorance or nonsense even though from almost 500 years ago …… this type of “anti scientific evidence belief” persists to this day! Try googling for schools that refuse to teach evolution theory or Darwinism in science. You will find that they are mainly faith based schools, public and private, predominantly in the USA in the western world. They are in the UK too and comprise both Christian and Islamic faith schools focusing on and exclusively teaching creationism: on a number of occasions the UK Department of Education has instructed these schools to conform to the approved curriculum or have funding cut off. But …. don’t hold your breath!
To my mind this is indoctrination and has no place in any school, of any faith, in any country. Children should be shown options at least so that those who want to become scientists or doctors for example can at least understand evolutionary biology and have a sound basis for the study and practice of their chosen profession. Isn’t this also part of “globalism” and worth protesting about?

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10 replies

  1. Good post; and it is worth noting that the odious creature who resurfaced in the past few days has links to Creationist academies owned by Sir Peter Vardy. Whilst that creature considered himself to be infallible as Prime Minister, it is thanks to him that multicultural identity politics have flourished and with it, schools based not just on Christian scripture but those of other religions as well. Ironically, the Labour Party that he led used to oppose denominational schools, but now supports them and so do many so-called ‘progressives’, who have now become anti-secular and by extension anti-scientific, because religion is now given preference over science. A sorry state of affairs really; and I type as someone who was brought up as a Catholic, but who gradually lost any religious beliefs by the time I was sixteen; in part because they contradicted the rational scientific-based world view of the era in which I grew up.

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    • Thank you for your most considered reply. I’d forgotten about Blair being a Catholic but hadn’t previously pegged him as a Creationist. Your information certainly adds to my post, thank you!

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      • Here is an old article, which I think that I remember reading at the time, from the Independent on Blair’s support for Creationism:

        I can’t remember when he converted to Catholicism.

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      • Thank you, an eye opener and from as far back as 2004 too. Heres a couple of quotes from the article:
        A controversial chain of schools teaching Biblical “creationism” has been given Tony Blair’s personal support despite serious doubts raised by parents and teachers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
        Martin Rogers from the Education Network, an education think-tank, said there wasnothing wrong with the principle of academies, and that large investment in struggling schools should be applauded. But the lack of accountability was a big concern. “For a very small sum of money … you can peddle the most appalling garbage,” he said.

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      • And reading it with the benefit of hindsight, it becomes apparent that Operation Trojan Horse, for the Islamic takeover of secular schools in Birmingham, had a Creationist Christian predecessor.

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  2. How tough life must be in that day and age. And you’ve rightly pointed out how such blind faith still grips our educational systems. We have many prevalent religious dogmas in Hinduism too which I personally feel should be relegated to text books on history alone. Being religious is one thing, but being blind to the obvious truth is,well… Dumb

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    • Dumb indeed, but it reminds us of the power of religious orders to this day that exist even in a secular society such as ours in the UK.

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      • Or for that matter in India, the so called biggest democracy of the world.

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      • Yes, I suppose the caste system is a perfect example where a religious system for organising society persists to this day. My extensive experience of it is in Nepal and it sickens me that these self righteous human rights organisations and protesters don’t tackle it! By the way I haven’t replied to your guest article request because I tend to only do that myself using non bloggers. I do use reblogging though where is reblog and insert another persons blog post if I like it specifically and it fits. Feel free to reblog any of mine if they are of interest.

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      • Dr B., that’s a very noble initiative – guest posting for non-bloggers – because some could really benefit from the publicity on cyberspace. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to reblog yours. I’ll keep that in mind in the future. Have a great day 😊

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