Galileo Science And The Church Essay Research

Galileo, Science And The Church Essay, Research Paper

Wanting people to know that there was a double fault in the conflict

between Galileo and the Church Father Langford writes an account of the

facts in Galileo, Science and the Church.

Langford shows in the before mentioned book that in the beginning of

the sixteenth century the geocentric view was accepted in majority by

theologians and scientists alike, but by the end of the century scientific

ideas started to emerge that were different. Theologians also started

to speak of differences in beliefs. With the translation of the Bible

into a common language and its greater access through the invention

of the printing press individual opinions only increased. Through a

serious of events, by the end of the sixteenth century, the Church had

developed a stubborn dedication to the status quo, which tolerated no

suggestions of flaws in their beliefs.

Galileo had begun to believe the new way of thinking with regard

to science and he had begun to write of his beliefs and findings.

The controversy of Galileo?s discoveries and what they meant, apropos of

the beliefs of the Church, started a great conflict. By the beginning of

the seventeenth century the Church felt that they had to defend themselves

against the accusations of Galileo. Galileo did not see himself as

attacking the Church. He seemed to think once he had his beliefs out

that many would understand and just accept them. On the contrary, while

liberal-minded intellectuals saw his finding as a great contribution,

the theologians claimed that anyone could see how Galileo?s theory was

not possible. They stated that the sun rose in the morning continued

overhead at noon and set in the evening believing this supported the

geocentric views.

Galileo continued to write of his findings becoming more and more apposed

to the scriptural normal. The theologians were now forced to retaliate

with scripture and the battle began. Without proof Galileo upset the

status quo stating that the Bible does not give a scientific explanation

of the universe. At this point in the controversy between Galileo and

the Church it seemed that the Church was ready to attempt a compromise,

but Galileo refused to speak of his beliefs as theory because he wanted

his beliefs to either be accepted as fact of rejected completely.

This attitude of Galileo?s only worsened matters. Galileo really could

not prove his theory, and he refused to speak of it as a hypothesis.

The Church now adopts the same attitude as Galileo and demands for

Galileo to abandon his ideas or face imprisonment. At this point the

facts become vague because of a discrepancy of the authenticity of

documents in the Holy files and weather or not Galileo received or even

agreed to the conditions of the decree of 1616 is still left unknown.

However, Galileo left Rome and lied in abeyance for a couple of years.

Then a study of comets emerged which Galileo could not resist writing a

refutation on. Langford points out a bit of Galileo?s charter showing

that the refutation was written in a matter of fact sarcastic style.

The publication of this gave Galileo hope while it struck fear in the

hearts of those that were still protecting the old order. Langford points

out at this point that although Pope Urban VIII encouraged Galileo?s

writings the authority of the Church was at stake and Galileo was to

write his beliefs as hypothesis with no attempt of demonstration.

Galileo?s writings lead to a Dialogue. It is seen that Galileo made a

grave mistake underestimating the strength of the Tychonic system to

many of the influential thinkers during this Dialogue. Galileo also

rejected the tide theory of Kelper?s hoping his own theory would be some

proof of the earth in motion but he did not prove that the earth was

in fact in motion. At the concluding of the Dialogue the decision on

weather of not to print it was very touchy with the decree of 1616 still

standing, but it was allowed. After the printing the Pope was convinced,

by others, that he had been betrayed and made fun of. It also became

evident that Galileo did in fact betray the decree of 1616 in hopes

of proving his point and then the decree would be forgotten. Now, the

Church must, to save face, act upon the injustice to their institution.

Galileo goes to trial, and the prosecution treated him as an example to

those that wanted to go against theology or authority. The prosecution

bombarded Galileo with writings of his own that were taken out of context.

With the condemnation of Galileo complete he spent most of the rest of

his days under house arrest.

Langford gave the facts that explained what led up to the condemnation of

Galileo with an optimistic view. Although Galileo was wrongly treated by

the Church because of the Churches refusal to allow him to write of his

discoveries or to try and prove them, and by the questionable way that

the prosecution handled the case. Galileo also wronged the Church by the

way he approached this matter. Had Galileo not so recklessly attacked

the beliefs of the Church or had he shown a respect for their authority

things might have been much different. A little subtlety was warranted

but not used on the part of Galileo and the result was thus. So the

point of Langford is well taken that there was, as in most misfortunes,

fault and bad judgment to be seen on the part of both parties.


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