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Comment Re:They've got to be kidding (Score 1) 333

The content at issue, true, but not the scientific nature of the argument nor its ramifications for "reactionaries" or "liberals." The issue of content was the fact that the character in the book presenting the argument for the geocentric point of view was named "Simplicitus." And, by virtue of carrying the imprimatur, the book indicated that the Church believed the factual content to be correct. Galileo is the reason that they're not given out before the book is written, incidentally. Don't underestimate how big a deal is. What got Galileo in trouble was getting the Pope to endorse his book before it was written, and then reneging on the content after getting an endorsement that carried a lot of authority. Afterward, he was asked to withdraw the book because it couldn't be separated from that papal endorsement. Galileo could have withdrawn it (and the endorsement), re-written it, re-published it without the imprimatur and that would have been the end of it. What he did, was claim that The Powers That Be were trying to suppress The Truth, and then went on a major self-promotion tour promoting the idea that the Church had supported him until they really understood the issue, which wasn't the case. Granted: he was a fantastic astronomer and was ultimately proven correct. But, it's a good lesson that being right is no substitute lack of class, lying, attempted character assassination (against the Pope) and a bad personal style. I don't know, do you think calling the advocate for the geocentric point of view Simplicitus "advocates heliocentrism"? Maybe? You can pick up free translations of his work online if you like. It's an entertaining read. You can also get the court documents from the Vatican archives if you're a history nut, like me.

This view of the Galileo trial was generally held until the Protestant Reformation when some people in that movement dredged it up and essentially created some urban legends about it (with some pretty festive variations, like he'd been executed) to smear the Church. Keep in mind, that it was the same Church that hid Johannes Kepler from the torch-and-pitchfork crowd not much later when they claimed some pretty far fetched things about his work. Again, it's not necessarily content, it's style. It's the same thing as the evolution comment at the top of the thread. In THIS CASE, on THIS TOPIC (scientific), the Church has historically, usually tried to avoid taking sides; of course, there are always counterexamples.

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