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by Bohdan Yuri
2008-03-06 09:07:09
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sadness does come by
like seasons on the fly:

the joyful birth of hope,
nurtured buds fully grown,
sharp cuts into your soul,
that leave your heart cold.

sadness does come by
like the seasons on the fly.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-06 10:37:28
From today's cover:

"If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone." - Thomas Hardy (Add a comment)

Comment: and then again they might not have left him alone. If the inquisitors were Platonists who had read Book X of the Republic they would have seen the poetry as an attempt to deceive by sweetening the poison with sugar and would have probably been even harsher on Galileo.

Anticatholic bigots like nothing better than grind their axe on Galileo's trial but if the event is looked upon without bias and prejudice one realizes that even Galileo realized, with Cardinal Bellarmine, that what he had put forward was a theory which remained to be proven empirically.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-06 10:45:09
P.S. As Karl Popper has well taught us, the mark of a scientific theory is whether it makes predictions which could in principle serve to falsify it. To which Thomas Kuhn added that there is always a presupposition or a paradigm by which scientific revolutions happen and it is usually taken for granted because it is not provable sceintically.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-06 10:47:39
P.S.P.S. Errata above: the last word should be "scientifically."

Sand2008-03-06 11:53:45
All those religious guys, of course, had definite proof that the Earth was the center of the universe.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-06 12:01:32
No surprises here: unfailingly the hard-wired anti-Catholic anti-religion bigot pops its head again in the name of political correctness and untstoppable progress and "enlightened" rationalism.

Sand2008-03-07 16:31:23
Now,now, Mr.P. you shouldn't fire off a display of emotional fireworks merely to distract attention from a reasonable question you find disagreeable to face.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-08 14:47:09
Now, now Mr. S. one has to wonder if it has ever occurred to you that, true to the form of an intellectual bully parading as the irenic objective intellectual, most of your "reasonable" questions are nothing else but veiled sophistic tricks to impose your allegedly "enlightened" opinion and win an argument or have the last word, with precious little concern for an authentic dialogue, truth and ethics. Indeed, that would be an incovenient truth. It is far easier to project it.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-08 14:54:17
Sand 2008-03-06 11:53:45
All those religious guys, of course, had definite proof that the Earth was the center of the universe

P.S. By the way, Mr. S, as per proper English syntax, the above far from being an inquiring question, as you claim, is a sarcastic empty statement proving nothing and signifying nothing to which only a fool would give an answer. That is analytic philosophy 101.

Sand2008-03-08 15:06:56
If, as an instructor of the vulnerable young, are too stupid to recognize a statement that challenges your statement "that what he had put forward was a theory which remained to be proven empirically". All I implied was that the Church had no empirical basis for denying Galileo and you find the only answer is to use rabble rousing emotional attacks on me personally rather than confronting the statement. I pity your students.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-08 16:12:10
Now, now Mr. S. whose feathers' are being ruffled here? Are the voices visiting again and urging you do cavalierly defend what you know little about? Hume and Locke 101 teaches any student taught by any teacher any place in the world that the very first empirical evidence of any phenomenon in the world is the evidence of one's eyes, which may indeed turn out to be a mere appearance later on, just as a scientific theory may turn out to be false later on (as Karl Popper and Thomas Khun 101 teaches that to our students too). Cardinal Bellarmino proposed just that to Galileo and Galileo agreed that his was a theory and not a proven law of nature, albeit he remained convinced that his theory would eventually be proven.

On the other hand, if a certified blind man tells me that he sees, then either a miracle has occurred or he ouught to be recovered to an insane asylum.

Sand2008-03-08 16:52:16
It's really not worth insulting you since your attempted reply to my inquiry does that admirably. You have persistently and stubbornly totally ignored my implied question as is your usual habit. The problem I put was that the church seemed perfectly at ease in rejecting Galileo's theory as unproven although all indications were that there were substantial indications of its validity. Galileo was not, as you seemed to imply, an idiot who would propose something with no basis in perception. The church, on the other hand, seemed to feel no obligation to question it's own version of cosmology which, if you are reasonable and fair, you must admit was reasonably questionable. But, since you have never openly demonstrated either reason or fairness, I can only expect further emotional outrage from you to misdirect the discussion.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-08 21:02:49

The above link is for those readers with an open mind who wish to explore fully the whole story of Galileo. Those who wish to simply use the event as convenient bashing slandering anti-Catholic point, will undoubtedly not be convinced by one hundred tomes on the subject. Pity.

Sand2008-03-08 22:25:23
Greater pity that you view any curiosity about church obstinacy as bashing and absolutely refuse to confront my objections directly.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-08 23:55:07
P.S. Also very instructive, s veritable eye opener on the subject is a recent favorably reviewed book by Professor Thomas E. Woods (Ph.D.Columbia University) titled How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. It spans 280 pages and 11 chapters (among which ch. 4: the Church and the University; ch. 5: the Church and Science; ch. 6: Art, Architecture and the Church; ch. 7: The Origins of International Law; ch. 8: The Church and Economics; ch.10: The Church and Western Law; ch. 11: The Church and Wesern Morality)Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2005.

Here is one of the many acclamations:

"Dr. Woods' book is a superb and scholarly refutation of the widespread and deeply rooted prejudice that the supernatural outlook of the Roman Catholic Church disqualifies Her to make any valuable contribution to the "progress" of humanity. This book is a magnificient illustration of Christ's saying: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice; the rest will be added unto." Whether we turn to science, legal questions, economics, education, scholarship, fina arts, Dr. Wood shows convincingly the fecundity of a supernatural approach to life. This book is highly recommended."

--Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, professor emeritus, the City University of New York

Sand2008-03-09 01:43:54
Sure. Read a book. Read ten books. Just go away and stop bothering me with questions I cannot face. After all, any sensible questioning of whatever the church has done is religion bashing and that's just too naughty to accept. Go sit in the corner and read a book.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 03:03:18
That is certainly preferable to burning them or putting them on the shelf (or in one's DNA)and leaving them unread because they contain unwelcome truths that contradict one's prejudices.

Sand2008-03-09 03:40:35
Come to the window, Mr Galileo. See! The Sun rises in the East. Any fool can see it sets in the West. The Pope can see that the Sun revolves around the Earth! What is this silly theory about the Earth revolving around the Sun? Do you realize what you are doing? You are confronting the great Catholic religious power with a theory that it might be wrong! It cannot permit that, foolish man. You have this silly idea that the Catholic Church is about love and peace and teaching mankind to be good to each other. What nonsense! The Catholic Church is about power and if you confront the Church with an idea that might prove the Church wrong, you will be imprisoned and perhaps even tortured. It does not matter that the Church might be wrong. That has nothing to do with it. The Church can forgive murderers and torturers and pederasts and all sorts of crooked scoundrels as long as it maintains its power! It's all about power, not about Jesus who has been dead these many centuries and whether he rose to heaven like a soap bubble or rotted in the cave has nothing to do with it! Come, Mr. Galileo! Merely look out the window! See! See! It's obvious the Sun is moving across the sky. It's obvious it is circling the Earth. Recant your childish theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Be aware that the Pope can send you to prison, to torture. What is that you're mumbling? That the Earth does move? Come now! Mr. Galileo Away with your silly theories! Why yes. I think perhaps you are beginning to see the truth.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 08:24:25
Spoken as a Dostoyevskian Grand Inquisitor. There is however a difference between the search for truth of a Dostoyevsky and the bashing of an anti-Catholic bigot and only fools cannot distinguish one from the other. difference.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 08:50:09
P.S. Excerpts from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamozov's Grand Inquisitor's rebuke to God for having created Man free:

"For the mystery of man's being is not only in living, but in what one lives for. Without a firm idea of what he lives for, man will not consent to live and will sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if there is bread all around him. That is so, but what came of it? Instead of taking over men's freedom, you increased it still more for them! Did you forget that peace and even death are dearer to man than free choice in the knowledge of good and evil? There is nothing more seductive for man than the freedom of his conscience, but there is nothing more tormenting, either. And so, instead of a firm foundation for appeasing human conscience once and for all, you chose everything that was unusual, enigmatic, and indefinite, you chose everything that was beyond men's strength, and thereby acted as if you did not love them at all-and who did this? He who came to give his life for them! Instead of taking over men's freedom, you increased it and forever burdened the kingdom of the human soul with its torments. You desired the free love of man, that he should follow you freely, seduced and captivated by you. Instead of the firm ancient law, man had henceforth to decide for himself, with a free heart, what is good and what is evil, having only your image before him as a guide-but did it not occur to you that he would eventually reject and dispute even your image and your truth if he was oppressed by so terrible a burden as freedom of choice? They will finally cry out that truth is not in you, for it was impossible to leave them in greater confusion and torment than you did, abandoning them to so many cares and insoluble problems." (Pg. 422-423)

Sand2008-03-09 09:32:08
Ah! Galileo, why be a mere fool overconcerned with the nonsense of truth elicited by understanding what you perceive instead of realizing that truth is whatever the Catholic wishes you to believe? Who could be so idiotic as to believe that the power structure of the church is dependent upon reality? It depends upon whatever the adherents can be made to believe and the elders of the church are quite competent in manipulating that and will brook no interference from mere scientists. Come, Mr. Galileo! Gaze intently at my revered Catholic instruments of torture and think again about the movements of the Sun and the Earth.

Sand2008-03-09 10:11:55
Please, Mr. Galileo, understand we are not so different. You look upon the heavens for truth and I look into the soul of man where free will can distinguish between good and evil. Some learned men believe the will resides in the liver, some in the heart. There is even that odd fellow or two who would assign the brain as the source of free will. I have a somewhat different viewpoint. You see this small instrument here. It somewhat resembles a pair of pliers. As an interlocutor for the inquisition I have found it extremely useful for determining the seat of the free will. On occasion when I merely quickly pull off the small fingernail of a small finger the free will reveals itself as residing in that fingernail and the recipient of my modest efforts quickly agrees to admit the church is absolutely correct. On more difficult occasions this useful tool reveals the site of the free will in the scrotum. It seems very variable. Would you be interested in my holy Catholic techniques locating the site of your free will, Mr. Galileo?

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 15:56:41

Is that what the voices, or perhaps the FSM, told you about the Galileo event? Don't believe them. They are liars. I include the link previously forwarded so that you may unburden yourself of those prejudices and much ignorance on the matter and not make a complete fool of yourself by resorting to slander and shallow ludicrous caricatures. Also, tell the voices next time they visit to read chapter five of Dr. Woods book already mentioned: chapter five: The Church and Science which ends with those words "...no serious scholar shall ever again be able to repeat the tired mythology about the alleged antagonism between religion and science. The appearance of modern science in the Catholic environment of
Western Europe was no coincidence after all"(p. 114)

Woods begins his exploration of the Church stimulation of science with tehe Csthedral School of Chartres which began in the 11the century A.D. which all the ignoramuses of our brave "enlightened" world brand as the age of ignorance. The bashing voices told them so.

Sand2008-03-09 16:10:56
I now turn to my main topic of evolution and whether the pope lives up to the ideal of keeping off the scientific grass. His "Message on Evolution to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences" begins with some casuistical doubletalk designed to reconcile what John Paul II is about to say with the previous, more equivocal pronouncements of Pius XII, whose acceptance of evolution was comparatively grudging and reluctant. Then the pope comes to the harder task of reconciling scientific evidence with "revelation."

Revelation teaches us that [man] was created in the image and likeness of God. ... if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God ... Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. ... With man, then, we find ourselves in the presence of an ontological difference, an ontological leap, one could say.

To do the pope credit, at this point he recognizes the essential contradiction between the two positions he is attempting to reconcile: "However, does not the posing of such ontological discontinuity run counter to that physical continuity which seems to be the main thread of research into evolution in the field of physics and chemistry?"

Never fear. As so often in the past, obscurantism comes to the rescue:

Consideration of the method used in the various branches of knowledge makes it possible to reconcile two points of view which would seen irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure the multiple manifestations of life with increasing precision and correlate them with the time line. The moment of transition to the spiritual cannot be the object of this kind of observation, which nevertheless can discover at the experimental level a series of very valuable signs indicating what is specific to the human being.

In plain language, there came a moment in the evolution of hominids when God intervened and injected a human soul into a previously animal lineage. (When? A million years ago? Two million years ago? Between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens? Between "archaic" Homo sapiens and H. sapiens sapiens?) The sudden injection is necessary, of course, otherwise there would be no distinction upon which to base Catholic morality, which is speciesist to the core. You can kill adult animals for meat, but abortion and euthanasia are murder because human life is involved.

Catholicism's "net" is not limited to moral considerations, if only because Catholic morals have scientific implications. Catholic morality demands the presence of a great gulf between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom. Such a gulf is fundamentally anti-evolutionary. The sudden injection of an immortal soul in the timeline is an anti-evolutionary intrusion into the domain of science.

More generally it is completely unrealistic to claim, as Gould and many others do, that religion keeps itself away from science's turf, restricting itself to morals and values. A universe with a supernatural presence would be a fundamentally and qualitatively different kind of universe from one without. The difference is, inescapably, a scientific difference. Religions make existence claims, and this means scientific claims.

The same is true of many of the major doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. The Virgin Birth, the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Resurrection of Jesus, the survival of our own souls after death: these are all claims of a clearly scientific nature. Either Jesus had a corporeal father or he didn't. This is not a question of "values" or "morals"; it is a question of sober fact. We may not have the evidence to answer it, but it is a scientific question, nevertheless. You may be sure that, if any evidence supporting the claim were discovered, the Vatican would not be reticent in promoting it.

Either Mary's body decayed when she died, or it was physically removed from this planet to Heaven. The official Roman Catholic doctrine of Assumption, promulgated as recently as 1950, implies that Heaven has a physical location and exists in the domain of physical reality - how else could the physical body of a woman go there? I am not, here, saying that the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin is necessarily false (although of course I think it is). I am simply rebutting the claim that it is outside the domain of science. On the contrary, the Assumption of the Virgin is transparently a scientific theory. So is the theory that our souls survive bodily death, and so are all stories of angelic visitations, Marian manifestations, and miracles of all types.

There is something dishonestly self-serving in the tactic of claiming that all religious beliefs are outside the domain of science. On the one hand, miracle stories and the promise of life after death are used to impress simple people, win converts, and swell congregations. It is precisely their scientific power that gives these stories their popular appeal. But at the same time it is considered below the belt to subject the same stories to the ordinary rigors of scientific criticism: these are religious matters and therefore outside the domain of science. But you cannot have it both ways. At least, religious theorists and apologists should not be allowed to get away with having it both ways. Unfortunately all too many of us, including nonreligious people, are unaccountably ready to let them.

I suppose it is gratifying to have the pope as an ally in the struggle against fundamentalist creationism. It is certainly amusing to see the rug pulled out from under the feet of Catholic creationists such as Michael Behe. Even so, given a choice between honest-to-goodness fundamentalism on the one hand, and the obscurantist, disingenuous doublethink of the Roman Catholic Church on the other, I know which I prefer.

Richard Dawkins, one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists, is Charles Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and Senior Editor of Free Inquiry.

Emanel Paparella2008-03-09 17:42:28
Clinging to Tradition?

Anti-Catholics often cite the Galileo case as an example of the Church refusing to abandon outdated or incorrect teaching, and clinging to a "tradition." They fail to realize that the judges who presided over Galileo’s case were not the only people who held to a geocentric view of the universe. It was the received view among scientists at the time.

Centuries earlier, Aristotle had refuted heliocentricity, and by Galileo’s time, nearly every major thinker subscribed to a geocentric view. Copernicus refrained from publishing his heliocentric theory for some time, not out of fear of censure from the Church, but out of fear of ridicule from his colleagues.

Many people wrongly believe Galileo proved heliocentricity. He could not answer the strongest argument against it, which had been made nearly two thousand years earlier by Aristotle: If heliocentrism were true, then there would be observable parallax shifts in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. However, given the technology of Galileo’s time, no such shifts in their positions could be observed. It would require more sensitive measuring equipment than was available in Galileo’s day to document the existence of these shifts, given the stars’ great distance. Until then, the available evidence suggested that the stars were fixed in their positions relative to the earth, and, thus, that the earth and the stars were not moving in space—only the sun, moon, and planets were. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 17:57:09

The Church is not anti-scientific. It has supported scientific endeavors for centuries. During Galileo’s time, the Jesuits had a highly respected group of astronomers and scientists in Rome. In addition, many notable scientists received encouragement and funding from the Church and from individual Church officials. Many of the scientific advances during this period were made either by clerics or as a result of Church funding.

Nicolaus Copernicus dedicated his most famous work, On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, in which he gave an excellent account of heliocentricity, to Pope Paul III. Copernicus entrusted this work to Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran clergyman who knew that Protestant reaction to it would be negative, since Martin Luther seemed to have condemned the new theory, and, as a result, the book would be condemned. Osiander wrote a preface to the book, in which heliocentrism was presented only as a theory that would account for the movements of the planets more simply than geocentrism did—something Copernicus did not intend.

Ten years prior to Galileo, Johannes Kepler
published a heliocentric work that expanded on Copernicus’ work. As a result, Kepler also found opposition among his fellow Protestants for his heliocentric views and found a welcome reception among some Jesuits who were known for their scientific achievements.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:03:17
Thus Galileo did not prove the theory by the Aristotelian standards of science in his day. In his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina and other documents, Galileo claimed that the Copernican theory had the "sensible demonstrations" needed according to Aristotelian science, but most knew that such demonstrations were not yet forthcoming. Most astronomers in that day were not convinced of the great distance of the stars that the Copernican theory required to account for the absence of observable parallax shifts. This is one of the main reasons why the respected astronomer Tycho Brahe refused to adopt Copernicus fully.

Galileo could have safely proposed heliocentricity as a theory or a method to more simply account for the planets’ motions. His problem arose when he stopped proposing it as a scientific theory and began proclaiming it as truth, though there was no conclusive proof of it at the time. Even so, Galileo would not have been in so much trouble if he had chosen to stay within the realm of science and out of the realm of theology. But, despite his friends’ warnings, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds.

Sand2008-03-09 18:03:43
Then why was Galileo held under house arrest for about 16 years at the end of his life for publishing his observations that led him to conclude that the Earth was not at the center of the universe?

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:04:14
In 1614, Galileo felt compelled to answer the charge that this "new science" was contrary to certain Scripture passages. His opponents pointed to Bible passages with statements like, "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed . . ." (Josh. 10:13). This is not an isolated occurrence. Psalms 93 and 104 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 also speak of celestial motion and terrestrial stability. A literalistic reading of these passages would have to be abandoned if the heliocentric theory were adopted. Yet this should not have posed a problem. As Augustine put it, "One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: ‘I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.’ For he willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians." Following Augustine’s example, Galileo urged caution in not interpreting these biblical statements too literally.

Unfortunately, throughout Church history there have been those who insist on reading the Bible in a more literal sense than it was intended. They fail to appreciate, for example, instances in which Scripture uses what is called "phenomenological" language—that is, the language of appearances. Just as we today speak of the sun rising and setting to cause day and night, rather than the earth turning, so did the ancients. From an earthbound perspective, the sun does appear to rise and appear to set, and the earth appears to be immobile. When we describe these things according to their appearances, we are using phenomenological language. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:05:19
The phenomenological language concerning the motion of the heavens and the non-motion of the earth is obvious to us today, but was less so in previous centuries. Scripture scholars of the past were willing to consider whether particular statements were to be taken literally or phenomenologically, but they did not like being told by a non-Scripture scholar, such as Galileo, that the words of the sacred page must be taken in a particular sense.

During this period, personal interpretation of Scripture was a sensitive subject. In the early 1600s, the Church had just been through the Reformation experience, and one of the chief quarrels with Protestants was over individual interpretation of the Bible.

Theologians were not prepared to entertain the heliocentric theory based on a layman’s interpretation. Yet Galileo insisted on moving the debate into a theological realm. There is little question that if Galileo had kept the discussion within the accepted boundaries of astronomy (i.e., predicting planetary motions) and had not claimed physical truth for the heliocentric theory, the issue would not have escalated to the point it did. After all, he had not proved the new theory beyond reasonable doubt. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:06:23
Galileo "Confronts" Rome

Galileo came to Rome to see Pope Paul V (1605-1621). The pope, weary of controversy, turned the matter over to the Holy Office, which issued a condemnation of Galileo’s theory in 1616. Things returned to relative quiet for a time, until Galileo forced another showdown.

At Galileo’s request, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit—one of the most important Catholic theologians of the day—issued a certificate that, although it forbade Galileo to hold or defend the heliocentric theory, did not prevent him from conjecturing it. When Galileo met with the new pope, Urban VIII, in 1623, he received permission from his longtime friend to write a work on heliocentrism, but the new pontiff cautioned him not to advocate the new position, only to present arguments for and against it. When Galileo wrote the Dialogue on the Two World Systems, he used an argument the pope had offered, and placed it in the mouth of his character Simplicio. Galileo, perhaps inadvertently, made fun of the pope, a result that could only have disastrous consequences. Urban felt mocked and could not believe how his friend could disgrace him publicly. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. He also alienated his long-time supporters, the Jesuits, with attacks on one of their astronomers. The result was the infamous trial, which is still heralded as the final separation of science and religion. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:08:35
Tortured for His Beliefs?

In the end, Galileo recanted his heliocentric teachings, but it was not—as is commonly supposed—under torture nor after a harsh imprison- ment. Galileo was, in fact, treated surprisingly well.

As historian Giorgio de Santillana, who is not overly fond of the Catholic Church, noted, "We must, if anything, admire the cautiousness and legal scruples of the Roman authorities." Galileo was offered every convenience possible to make his imprisonment in his home bearable.

Galileo’s friend Nicolini, Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican, sent regular reports to the court regarding affairs in Rome. Many of his letters dealt with the ongoing controversy surrounding Galileo.

Nicolini revealed the circumstances surrounding Galileo’s "imprisonment" when he reported to the Tuscan king: "The pope told me that he had shown Galileo a favor never accorded to another" (letter dated Feb. 13, 1633); " . . . he has a servant and every convenience" (letter, April 16); and "[i]n regard to the person of Galileo, he ought to be imprisoned for some time because he disobeyed the orders of 1616, but the pope says that after the publication of the sentence he will consider with me as to what can be done to afflict him as little as possible" (letter, June 18). (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:09:32
Had Galileo been tortured, Nicolini would have reported it to his king. While instruments of torture may have been present during Galileo’s recantation (this was the custom of the legal system in Europe at that time), they definitely were not used.

The records demonstrate that Galileo could not be tortured because of regulations laid down in The Directory for Inquisitors (Nicholas Eymeric, 1595). This was the official guide of the Holy Office, the Church office charged with dealing with such matters, and was followed to the letter.

As noted scientist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, in an age that saw a large number of "witches" subjected to torture and execution by Protestants in New England, "the worst that happened to the men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof." Even so, the Catholic Church today acknowledges that Galileo’s condemnation was wrong. The Vatican has even issued two stamps of Galileo as an expression of regret for his mistreatment.(continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:10:45

Although three of the ten cardinals who judged Galileo refused to sign the verdict, his works were eventually condemned. Anti-Catholics often assert that his conviction and later rehabilitation somehow disproves the doctrine of papal infallibility, but this is not the case, for the pope never tried to make an infallible ruling concerning Galileo’s views.

The Church has never claimed ordinary tribunals, such as the one that judged Galileo, to be infallible. Church tribunals have disciplinary and juridical authority only; neither they nor their decisions are infallible.

No ecumenical council met concerning Galileo, and the pope was not at the center of the discussions, which were handled by the Holy Office. When the Holy Office finished its work, Urban VIII ratified its verdict, but did not attempt to engage infallibility.

Three conditions must be met for a pope to exercise the charism of infallibility: (1) he must speak in his official capacity as the successor of Peter; (2) he must speak on a matter of faith or morals; and (3) he must solemnly define the doctrine as one that must be held by all the faithful.(continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:11:37
In Galileo’s case, the second and third conditions were not present, and possibly not even the first. Catholic theology has never claimed that a mere papal ratification of a tribunal decree is an exercise of infallibility. It is a straw man argument to represent the Catholic Church as having infallibly defined a scientific theory that turned out to be false. The strongest claim that can be made is that the Church of Galileo’s day issued a non-infallible disciplinary ruling concerning a scientist who was advocating a new and still-unproved theory and demanding that the Church change its understanding of Scripture to fit his.

It is a good thing that the Church did not rush to embrace Galileo’s views, because it turned out that his ideas were not entirely correct, either. Galileo believed that the sun was not just the fixed center of the solar system but the fixed center of the universe. We now know that the sun is not the center of the universe and that it does move—it simply orbits the center of the galaxy rather than the earth.

As more recent science has shown, both Galileo and his opponents were partly right and partly wrong. Galileo was right in asserting the mobility of the earth and wrong in asserting the immobility of the sun. His opponents were right in asserting the mobility of the sun and wrong in asserting the immobility of the earth.

Had the Catholic Church rushed to endorse Galileo’s views—and there were many in the Church who were quite favorable to them—the Church would have embraced what modern science has disproved.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 18:24:31
Ah, Richard Dawkins of “the machinery of nature,” “artificial life” The Selfish Gene (1976), and The God of Delusion fame! The darling of all materialists’ and the atheists’ conventions. What happened to the voices; they are not to be trusted any longer. That would be a first positive step, albeit hardly sufficient. So now we have two Grand Inquisitors helping each other in advocating crude materialism and general destitution of the spirit. No great surprises there. The surprise would have been to have those Grand Inquisitors prove themselves educated persons (not a humbot!) with the capacity to entertain and explain two opposite ideas with an open mind rather than recite the tired mantra of the “enlightenment” of science over and above philosophy and theology.

Sand2008-03-09 18:31:41
The outrageously idiotic idea that the Catholic church was correct in Galileo's time in rejecting Galileo because he claimed the Sun as the center of the universe presumes that the church's concepts are necessarily correct to the end of time is so fantastic as to be hilarious. No person outside of a maniac, scientific or otherwise would make such a claim since there is a torrent of new discovery every year due to scientific research and much of it changes previous concepts to a great degree. Insofar as the science of Galileo's time knew with its understanding of the size of the universe, the solar system was the universe and nobody had conceived of galaxies or the immensities of space which reduces the Earth to an inconsequential particle within it.

Sand2008-03-09 18:36:16
A comparison of the qualities of Dawkins to yours, Paparella, is just too silly to worry over.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-09 22:32:38
Indeed, birds of a feather flock together; enough to make one skeptical of the objectivity and fairness of it all. Kuhn had it on target: the "enlightened" rationalist-materialist scientist still needs to enlighten himself in realizing that its misguided belief that science is the royal way to truth because it can physically verify the pehnomena of nature. What this enlightened mind fails to realize is that the paradigm which supports this belief cannot be proven empirically and in fact changes every time there is a new scientific revolution.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-10 00:01:21
What Kuhn also points out is that paradoxically those hard wired rationalists who adopt science as the only paradigm for explaining a crude materialist reality devoit of ethics and spirit end up creating a religion of their own: of the church of the FSM with its cults, its priesthood (Dawking is surely a high priest)and its dogmas. The penalty for those who don't subscribe to its tenets misguidedly assumed to be "enlightened" and superior is contempt and personal vituperation and of course excommunication from the "Church."

Mr. materealist of the church of the FSM, can you prove that God exists? No. Can you prove that he does not exist? Neither. Therefore both those who believe in his existence and those who don't have a belief system: one is flip side of the other. Science is the fig-leaf that covers the inability to really prove the positive and the negative via science, for indeed the paradigm supporting science, or philosophy, or theology cannot be proven scientifically either; it is a faith, if nothing else that of the FSM, meatballs and universal cakes and all. Bizarre indeed!

Sand2008-03-10 04:57:25
I figured Dawkins would flip you into a paranoid spiral. You want to disqualify him because he makes such obvious good sense.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-10 06:25:29
Indeed Mr. S., Grand Inquisitors, intellectuall bullies and paranoid people inevitably project their unappropriated shadows. Due to their low self-esteem they worry that nobody important enough is out to get them. So they remedy the situation by turning it tupsy turvy.

Sand2008-03-10 08:20:51
When someone feels bullied by merely stating obvious facts the indications are strong there is some problem of mental instability.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-10 10:41:00
I suppose it all depends on who doing the stating of the "obvious" facts. Even a little man or a little inquisitor (whom Nietzsche calls "the last men" thinks that he stating the obvious when he says 2 + 2 = 5. As I said don't believe those voices...they are liars and slanderers.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-14 16:26:18
Here is a more authentic voice on your darling Mr. Dawkins


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