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In this affair the agreements between science and religion are more numerous and above all more important than the incomprehensions which led to the bitter and painful conflict in the course of the following centuries

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Introduction

Levi Fuli 9180757 Essay Question 2 Edu 783 "In this affair the agreements between science and religion are more numerous and above all more important than the incomprehensions which led to the bitter and painful conflict in the course of the following centuries" The Galileo Affair Alongside the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, the Galileo Affair stands as a dark passage in the History of the Catholic Church. The image of Galileo as an enlightened scientific visionary, throttled and broken by catholic dogma is firmly held in popular culture and symbolizes a celebrated parting of the ways between science and religion that persists even today. For many the beginning of "modern Science" is often associated with Galileo, the beginning of a pure pursuit of science, free of religious constraint. The statement above made by John Paul II in 1979 expressed a wish to look more closely at the events surrounding the Galileo affair , according to John Paul the disagreement between Galileo and the Church should never have happened and was due to a "tragic mutual incomprehension" (John Paul 1979). Faith and Science according to the Pope were not mutually exclusive or in conflict, and when properly understood can not fundamentally be at odds with each other. My interpretation of the Popes reasoning here would be based on a belief that both faith and science must be grounded on universal truth, and cannot therefore be at odds with each other, rather only a misunderstanding in the interpretation of that truth. ...read more.

Middle

If the Copernican model was true then the literal translation of these particular passages would have to be re-interpreted. One of the key points here is that contrary to popular belief Galileo did not seek to advance Science alone in the face of religion but sought rather to reconcile science with scripture. It was never his intent to separate religion from science. (Southgate 1999) Galileo chose to address this issue of scripture in a famous letter to Benedetto Castelli in which he appealed to a broader interpretation of the bible, arguing that while its true that scripture itself cannot err, its interpreters can and have done in many ways. In essence scripture was not meant to represent strict scientific fact and that the bible was intended as once quoted by a papal cardinal "to teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go" (Woodward 1999) It would be this pivotal clash of religion, science and scripture that was a key issue in the Galileo affair. By encroaching into the theological stage seeking to re-interpret biblical scripture to fit copernicanism he fell into the hands of the many enemies he had made during his campaign to promote copernicanism. Politics, Epistomology: The private interpretation of scripture was a key issue against the Protestants during the reformation and there was very little tolerance of trespass in this area from even as respected a figure as Galileo. This came also at a time when the Vatican was struggling to assert its central authority. ...read more.

Conclusion

Galileo was not persecuted for his scientific findings, far from it he was feted across Europe for his work. It was in seeking to reconcile it with biblical scripture and his insistence on having Copernicism accepted as truth rather than hypothesis that led eventually to his being placed under house arrest late in his life. It was his misfortune in choosing to do this at a time when the Vatican was seeking to assert its authority and the question of scriptural interpretation was of central concern. The Galileo affair has come to symbolise a celebrated departure of faith and science, something that ironically Galileo himself as a deeply religious man, which is evident in his letter to Castelli, did not intend or want. The advances in scientific knowledge during the medieval period may in fact have been due to a catholic climate that was conducive and not obstructive of scientific research. Galileo had been wrong (yet passionate) on many occasions including his theory of tides and his dismissal of Jesuit theory of comets, it was perhaps the Church's misfortune that on this occasion, on heliocentricism, the great man had been correct. The Galileo affair was less a clash of pure science and religion, but more a complex and unfortunate interplay of personality,politics,hermeneutics,epistemology and lastly (maybe even leastly ) science!! Sources: Brecht B "Galileo" ,Grove Press,New York 1966 Gingerich O "The Galileo Affair" Scientific American 1982 Langford J J "Galileo,Science and the Church" Desclee Co,NY 1966 Southgate K "God, Humanity and the Cosmos" T&T Clark 1999 Woodward K L "How the Heavens Go " Newsweek July 20, 1998 Website Res: The Galileo Project ...read more.

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