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Galileo: trial & aftermath

Galileo: trial & aftermath

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Galileo: trial & aftermath

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  1. Galileo: trial & aftermath • The trial of 1633 • The charge: Galileo had disobeyed Bellarmine’s order of 1616. • The Copernican theory was not debated at the trial. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 1

  2. Galileo: trial & aftermath • Galileo was convicted. • Sentence: Banning of the Dialogue; imprisonment; & reading of penetential Psalms. • The sentence of imprisonment was immediately changed by Urban VIII to house arrest. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 2

  3. Galileo: trial & aftermath • After leaving Rome, Galileo resided for several months with his friend, Archbishop Piccolomini of Siena. • Then returned to his villa Arcetri outside of Florence. • Resumed his scientific research. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 3

  4. Galileo: trial & aftermath • Gradually become blind. • Died at Arcetri in 1642. • Buried in church of Santa Croce, Florence, across from Michelangelo. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 4

  5. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1613; 1615; 1636) • Is principally a discussion about how to handle conflicts between scripture and science • The passages at issue: Psalm 92:1; Psalm 103:5; Ecclesiastes 1:5. • Appeal to the authority of Augustine for interpreting some passages of scripture metaphorically. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 5

  6. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • The two-book metaphor (182 & 183). • God reveals self in two ways--nature and the Bible • Thus no contradiction between these two forms of revelation is possible-- truth is one. • The significance of the two book metaphor for the relation between science & religion Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 6

  7. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • The Principle of Accommodation – the scriptures were often written in plain language to accommodate the understanding of common people. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 7

  8. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Principle of modification by scientific demonstration (183, 194, 197, 206-07) • If there is a conflict between science and scripture, then the interpretation of scripture must be changed only where the scientific position has been demonstrated. • Otherwise the traditional interpretation of scripture stands. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 8

  9. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • How Galileo thought this applied to Copernicanism -- the argument from tides Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 9

  10. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Principle of Neutrality (183, 185, 186) – Scripture is neutral with respect to scientific theory & when scripture says something about physical phenomena, these statements have no bearing on science. “The intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heavens go” (186). • Galileo blundered by accepting Bellarmine’s high standard of scientific truth (Shea 122 CHECK) Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 10

  11. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Comments on the letter • The P. of modification by scientific demonstration appeals to a very high standard for scientific truth--certitude, conclusive proof--one proposed by Bellarmine--. • But it was also the standard of Aristotle, & on this issue, Galileo accepted Aristotle’s position. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 11

  12. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Shea proposes that Galileo blundered by accepting Bellarmine’s high standard (Shea 122). • The two principles are inconsistent. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 12

  13. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Note the shift in the burden of proof in the two principles. • Under the P. of the Modification by Scientific Demonstration, the burden of proof is on those challenging the traditional interpretation of scripture. The traditional interpretation is to be adopted unless there is reason to believe that the passage should be read metaphorically & the only relevant reason for this is what can be demonstrated scientifically. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 13

  14. Galileo: Letter to the Grand Duchess • Under the Principle of Neutrality, the burden of proof is on those who claim a traditional interpretation of passages of scripture dealing with the natural world. • The Principle of Neutrality is commonplace in contemporary biblical hermeneutics. • The Principle of Neutrality may be a good principle for biblical hermeneutics, but is it a good principle for the relationship between science and religion generally? Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 14

  15. Galileo: interpreting the trial • Interpreting the trial • Was it simply a clash of religious authority with a scientist’s freedom of expression? • Some other factors • Galileo’s personality • Copernicanism was not well-confirmed • The attitude of the Roman censors was that Galileo had no right to meddle in biblical hermeneutics (Shea in L&N 119). Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 15

  16. Galileo: interpreting the trial • The new conservatism of Rome in the face of the Reformation. William Shea: “In this climate of opinion a revolution in science or any field of human endeavor could easily be perceived as a threat unless shown to agree with the teachings of the church” (L&N 118). See also Westman 86. • Part of this new conservatism was a new biblical literalism. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 16

  17. Galileo: interpreting the trial • A change in worldview – demotion of place of humans in the universe; the idea of the fittingness of humans at the center of the universe. Thomas Kuhn: “Copernicanism was potentially destructive of an entire fabric of thought. . . . More than a few lines of scripture were at stake.” (The Copernican Revolution 192). Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 17

  18. Galileo: interpreting the trial • The alliance of Aristotle with Catholic theology via Aquinas at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Shea comments that the Counter-Reformation turned Aristotelianism into rigid dogma (L&N 115). Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 18

  19. Galileo: postscript • The 1992 Vatican apologia • In October of 1992, Pope John Paul II before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, offered an apology for the Galileo affair. • Cardinal Paul Poupard of France gave the speech (he headed the commission which studied the case). Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 19

  20. Galileo: postscript • Theologians who attacked Galileo failed to understand the Scripture should not be taken literally when it described the physical world. No one is named, but the reference is to “theological advisors” (members of the hierarchy are not mentioned). Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 20

  21. Galileo: postscript • Galileo suffered greatly from these errors. • Complemented Galileo for being more perceptive in his interpretation of Scripture than the theologians who opposed him. Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 21

  22. Galileo: postscript • Nothing was said about the condemnation of 1616, which set off the chain of events leading to the trial Galileo: trial & aftermath - slide 22