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Defending Galileo’s Legacy

D’Andre Thomas

HIST 112
Professor Walden
January 27, 2015
Galileo Galilei is a decorated physicist and mathematician who has been charged with prosecuting heretics. Although his beliefs may seem to defy the church they are facts and can be proven with reason. Nothing in the physical world should be questioned by biblical passages. Through demonstrations with a telescope I believe that Galileo proved that the galaxy is heliocentric therefore the charges should be dismissed.
Facts of the Case
In 1609 Galileo learned of a magnifying device being used in Holland called a telescope. It consisted of two glass pieces in a tube. Using its design he constructed an instrument that allowed him to see things in the sky that were naked to the human eye. In 1610 he noticed multiple stars around Jupiter that seemed to move around it. He concluded that they were moons and rotated around the planet. This intrigued him because the Copernican model showed that the moon revolved around the Earth. He attempted to show his findings to the Roman Inquisition but they were seen as heretical and contradicting of the Holy Scripture. This model was censored in 1623 but Galileo’s friend Barberini was elected pope so he began to write a book about it. The resulting publication was titled Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and appeared to be a defense of Corpernicanism. This led to the calling of Galileo to Rome to defend himself.
Galileo has been charged with being a heretic because of his support for the Copernicus model. This model says that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the universe instead of the Earth. It is seen as heresy because it has already been declared contrary to the Holy Scripture. Galileo was ordered to "abjure, curse and detest those opinions.”
Defending Argument
Galileo discovered that the Copernicus model is true and has physical proof so he should not be charged as a heretic. He did not purposefully seek to defy the church he is just looking at the facts. With his telescope he learned that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He did not plant the moons around Jupiter in the sky to overturn hundreds of years in history. The truth does not hurt the arts it establishes investigation that leads to growth. As times change new technology is created that was not available back then. When Galileo disagrees with Aristotle or the bible he means no disrespect. Aristotle didn’t have any proof of his beliefs but Galileo does. The telescope allowed him to see things that were never seen before. The council could not disapprove Galileo’s findings. They even refused to look through the telescope when it was right in front of them. The truth could have been demonstrated to them but they weren’t interested. This means the arguments against Galileo are based off hatred and ignorance. How can they refute arguments they don’t understand or at least listen to? The main argument against Galileo is that he contradicts teachings in the bible. Using the Augustinian method he responds that bible verses should not always be taken literally. The bible can be untrue if the verses are taken out of context. The church and Galileo had different interpretations of some bible verses. For example 1 Chronicles 16:30 says “Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” This could be seen as saying the Earth doesn’t move although Galileo can prove that it rotates. This means that Galileo doesn’t reject the bible, only misinterpretations of certain verses. The prosecutors are too blind and take the bible too literally. This is why scriptural passages should not be taken into consideration on physical things. We should judge this trial on real life experiences and reason. Bible passages tend to have to have different meanings that can’t explain nature. I believe that the prosecutors in this case fear the truth because it goes against everything they’ve learned in their lifetime. The geocentric model has been around for years and to learn it is false would devastate people. They also believe that heaven is in the sky which Galileo struck down with the telescope. The only thing he could see beyond the sky were stars and planets. What they need to realize is that the truth evolves history and does not diminish it. These new findings will bring a new era in which scientific reason will be born. Galileo has already made many contributions to the church. They should have complete trust in him now. He is in no way shape or form trying to start a rebellion against the church. The proof lies on human reason. In order to charge Galileo all sides of the case should be observed which means disapproving his findings with the telescope. Until his theory can be debunked by using logic to make judgments the prosecutions accusations are useless.
Galileo has made a groundbreaking observation that the Sun and not the Earth is at the center of the universe. If the prosecution relies on the facts and not history they can see for themselves through the telescope that this is true. The Holy Scripture can be misinterpreted at times so it should not pertain to physical discoveries. Therefore because Galileo can prove that the Copernicus model is right he should not be charged as a heretic. Galileo is the father of observational astronomy and his name shall not be tarnished by silly accusations.

Halsall, Paul. The Crime of Galileo: Indictment and Abjuration of 1633. 1999. Accessed 1/27/15.
Lee, Harold. Defending Copernicus: Galileo and the Telescope. 2014. Accessed 1/27/15.
Panofsky, Erwin. Galileo as a Critic of the Arts: Aesthetic Attitude and Scientific Thought. 1956. Accessed 1/27/15.
White, Jessica. Analysis of Galileo's Letter. 2013. Accessed 1/27/15.

[ 1 ]. Harold Lee. . Defending Copernicus: Galileo and the Telescope. 2014.
[ 2 ]. Paul Halsall. The Crime of Galileo: Indictment and Abjuration of 1633. 1999.
[ 3 ]. The Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany.
[ 4 ]. Position that poetry, songs, instructions or historical statements in biblical texts need not always be interpreted literally.
[ 5 ]. The Holy Bible.
[ 6 ]. The Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany.
[ 7 ]. Erwin Panofsky. Galileo as a Critic of the Arts: Aesthetic Attitude and Scientific Thought. 1956.
[ 8 ]. Jessica White. Analysis of Galileo's Letter. 2013.…...

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