Category Archives: Controversies

The Trial of Galileo Galilei

“There was an era when even the brightest minds perceived the earth as flat .For if the earth were round, then surely the oceans would spill off. History if it has taught us anything at all has taught us that the strange ideas we deride today will one day be our celebrated truths”..Dan Brown

Lyrics:

Galileo Galilei

“Propaganda spreading over my name;
Say you wanna bring another life to shame.
Oh, man, you just a-playing a game

Oh, man, it’s just a big disgrace.
The way you draw bad card
The way you make wrong moves “…....Bob Marley – Bad Card

The Trial of Galileo is a story that I particularly love.At a time when everyone believed that the earth was the centre of the universe and all celestial bodies revolved around it, Galileo’s deductions and experiments proved otherwise he strongly supported the Copernican theory (” the Earth is another planet revolving around the fixed sun once a year, and turning on its axis once a day“) which was floated in 1543. A belief that caused him many a sleepless night and probably his death.Safe to say that Galileo did not die a happy man having been forced to denounce his works in the name of going against the catholic church and Christianity as a whole.

 

The constant need to say what will please others,say what others say and believe what others believe is a problem that ails us.It was a problem then and its a problem now.Fear of being ridiculed,shunned,exiled or even killed bars the truth from being a reality and renders it a fantasy.”Respect for other peoples opinions” is just but a phrase used to make it look like humanity has advanced psychologically,when in reality very few people do abide by this.

 

Holding on to a truth that nobody wants to believe is hard but seemingly possible. This is a story that screams ignorance,injustice hate and selfish pride.As I read through the story of Galileo I know that he is just but one of the thousands of people  in history who knew that all that humanity required was just but “A Renaissance of the mind “.A Renaissance that is yet to come so I say that all that humanity requires today  is just but “A Renaissance of the mind“.Thousands of years from now someone somewhere will proclaim that all that humanity requires “now”  is just but “A Renaissance of the mind“.

 

The human mind is the most powerful resource on earth and legend has it that as Galileo walked out of the court room during the last day of his trial he whispered “Eppur Si Muove” meaning “Nevertheless it does move” .Despite the tragedy that is Galileo’s story that alone gives it a some what fairytale ending for at the back of his mind he knew what needed to be known.

Italian pictural school “Trial of Galileo”

Below is a short summary of the trial,excerpts taken from The Trial of Galileo Galilei and Doug Linder(2002)

In the 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei, two worlds come into cosmic conflict.  Galileo’s world of science and humanism collides with the world of absolutism that held power in the Catholic Church.  The result is a tragedy that marked both the end of Galileo’s liberty and the end of the Italian Renaissance.

  • Admonition and False Injunction

(1) Galileo proposed that :The sun is the centre of the world and wholly immovable from its place.

Assessment: This proposition was unanimously declared “foolish and absurd. philosophically and formally heretical in as much as it expressly contradicts the doctrine of the Holy Scripture in many passages 

  • Response

 Galileo responded to criticism of his Copernican views in a December 1613 Letter.  In his letter, Galileo argued that the Scripture–although truth itself–must be understood sometimes in a figurative sense. A reference, for example, to “the hand of God” is not meant to be interpreted as referring to a five-fingered appendage, but rather to His presence in human lives.  Given that the  Bible should not be interpreted literally in every case, Galileo contended, it is senseless to see it as supporting one view of the physical universe over another.  “Who,” Galileo asked, “would dare assert that we know all there is to be known?”.

  • Sentence

On the morning of June 22, 1633, Galileo, dressed in the white shirt of penitence, entered the large hall of the Inquisition building.  He knelt and listened to his sentence:

“Whereas you, Galileo, the son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine that the sun is the centre of the universe and all planets revolve around it. And, so that you will be more cautious in future, and an example for others to abstain from delinquencies of this sort, we order that your  book Dialogue of Galileo Galilei be prohibited by public edict. We condemn you to formal imprisonment in this Holy Office at our pleasure.”

  • Forced Recantation

 by Galileo

“… with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church; and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything against the Holy Church and that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me….

After being held in custody for a substantial amount of time  Galileo received permission to move into his own small farmhouse in Arcetri(Florence),Italy , where he would grow blind and, in 1642, die.

“Tank Man” anonymous man who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in protest

“I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me”….Five for Fighting-Superman