Augustine, Galileo and natural science
#1
An important topic.

The Galileo affair is probably the biggest black eye that the Church has suffered over the centuries, not because she was proven to be fallible, but because the incident has served to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of many moderns.

What's the lesson of the Galileo affair?

Our attitude towards science should not be one of hostility. It should be one of dialogue between the "book of nature" and the "book of faith".

Galileo was not perfect and he even had shoddy reasons for positing what he did. He backed into a correct position, so to speak. However, he did brilliantly reference the ever-more-brilliant Augustine in his private letters explaining his position.

When the literalistic (i.e. most simplistic) reading of a Scriptural text SEEMS to contradict widely held scientific or natural knowledge in any field of study, our duty is not to superimpose the literalistic text on the widely held belief in an attempt to stifle debate. This necessarily does two things,
a. It closes our minds to possible natural truths, of which God is the author, just as he's the author of supernatural truths,
b. It scandalizes nonbelievers, who have good reasons for certain natural beliefs, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, refusing to accept anything Christians say, even on faith.

Rather, we ought to accept the most likely natural theory and seek ways of understanding the Scriptural text in light of it. Augustine was wonderful here. He notes that ten people can have ten different insights into a Scriptural text (say, the formlessness of matter in the beginning) and all ten people may have something valuable to offer.

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#2
(06-19-2011, 11:36 PM)Alabama Trad Wrote: An important topic.

The Galileo affair is probably the biggest black eye that the Church has suffered over the centuries, not because she was proven to be fallible, but because the incident has served to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of many moderns.

What's the lesson of the Galileo affair?

Our attitude towards science should not be one of hostility. It should be one of dialogue between the "book of nature" and the "book of faith".

Galileo was not perfect and he even had shoddy reasons for positing what he did. He backed into a correct position, so to speak. However, he did brilliantly reference the ever-more-brilliant Augustine in his private letters explaining his position.


The Church has always been respectful of science.  What she does not tolerate is intrusion into articles of faith.  As an example, Pius XII said that the Church does not prohibit investigation into the pre-existent matter evolutionary fiasco.

When the literalistic (i.e. most simplistic) reading of a Scriptural text SEEMS to contradict widely held scientific or natural knowledge in any field of study, our duty is not to superimpose the literalistic text on the widely held belief in an attempt to stifle debate. This necessarily does two things,
a. It closes our minds to possible natural truths, of which God is the author, just as he's the author of supernatural truths,
b. It scandalizes nonbelievers, who have good reasons for certain natural beliefs, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, refusing to accept anything Christians say, even on faith.

Rather, we ought to accept the most likely natural theory and seek ways of understanding the Scriptural text in light of it. Augustine was wonderful here. He notes that ten people can have ten different insights into a Scriptural text (say, the formlessness of matter in the beginning) and all ten people may have something valuable to offer.
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#3
Galileo in many ways got what he deserved.  Most of the people pushing the Heliocentric view of the universe did so as a way to discredit scripture and to undermine the church.  Nonetheless, Pope Urban VIII asked Galileo to privately a compose a book dealing with the controversy, Galileo rather than politely fulfilling his request wrote a caustic and mocking book that depicted Urban VIII as a simpleton and then published the book in Italian for the public to see.  The fact that he published in Italian was a big deal as it was seen as an attempt to undermine the authority of the Pope by going directly to the people.

That's what got Galileo in hot water.  Not his scientific views, but that he was a disrespectful ass toward the Holy Father. Instead of sharing his scientific views on the universe privately with the Pope, as the Pope had requested, Galileo decided to be mocking and belligerent. 

In short, if Galileo could have posted on these forums he would have banned for belligerency and then complained that he was persecuted for his views.   
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#4
(06-19-2011, 11:44 PM)wulfrano Wrote:
(06-19-2011, 11:36 PM)Alabama Trad Wrote: An important topic.

The Galileo affair is probably the biggest black eye that the Church has suffered over the centuries, not because she was proven to be fallible, but because the incident has served to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of many moderns.

What's the lesson of the Galileo affair?

Our attitude towards science should not be one of hostility. It should be one of dialogue between the "book of nature" and the "book of faith".

Galileo was not perfect and he even had shoddy reasons for positing what he did. He backed into a correct position, so to speak. However, he did brilliantly reference the ever-more-brilliant Augustine in his private letters explaining his position.


The Church has always been respectful of science.  What she does not tolerate is intrusion into articles of faith.  As an example, Pius XII said that the Church does not prohibit investigation into the pre-existent matter evolutionary fiasco.

When the literalistic (i.e. most simplistic) reading of a Scriptural text SEEMS to contradict widely held scientific or natural knowledge in any field of study, our duty is not to superimpose the literalistic text on the widely held belief in an attempt to stifle debate. This necessarily does two things,
a. It closes our minds to possible natural truths, of which God is the author, just as he's the author of supernatural truths,
b. It scandalizes nonbelievers, who have good reasons for certain natural beliefs, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, refusing to accept anything Christians say, even on faith.

Rather, we ought to accept the most likely natural theory and seek ways of understanding the Scriptural text in light of it. Augustine was wonderful here. He notes that ten people can have ten different insights into a Scriptural text (say, the formlessness of matter in the beginning) and all ten people may have something valuable to offer.




The Church has always been respectful of science.  What she does not tolerate is intrusion into articles of faith.  As an example, Pius XII said that the Church does not prohibit investigation into the pre-existent matter evolutionary fiasco.

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#5
(06-19-2011, 11:36 PM)Alabama Trad Wrote: An important topic.

The Galileo affair is probably the biggest black eye that the Church has suffered over the centuries, not because she was proven to be fallible, but because the incident has served to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of many moderns.

What's the lesson of the Galileo affair?
This is false. You do not know what rubbish Galileo was teaching.

Quote:When the literalistic (i.e. most simplistic) reading of a Scriptural text SEEMS to contradict widely held scientific or natural knowledge in any field of study, our duty is not to superimpose the literalistic text on the widely held belief in an attempt to stifle debate. This necessarily does two things,
a. It closes our minds to possible natural truths, of which God is the author, just as he's the author of supernatural truths,
b. It scandalizes nonbelievers, who have good reasons for certain natural beliefs, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, refusing to accept anything Christians say, even on faith.

But Galileo was wrong.

He taught that the orbits were perfect circles. Johannes Kepler used science and observations to get the truth. The orbits were ellipses. Galileo rejected the scientific works of Kepler to stick with some misguided "perfect circle" idea. Galileo was going backwards.

Kepler did not have issues with the Church like Galileo did.

Ignorance of the affair is the cause for the "scandal". Galileo's work only gets him praise now, because the work he did during house arrest was good. The work before that was rubbish.

Quote:Rather, we ought to accept the most likely natural theory and seek ways of understanding the Scriptural text in light of it. Augustine was wonderful here. He notes that ten people can have ten different insights into a Scriptural text (say, the formlessness of matter in the beginning) and all ten people may have something valuable to offer.

And we can work on understanding the facts, instead of common knowledge without any research into facts.
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#6
(06-20-2011, 12:39 AM)Rosarium Wrote:
(06-19-2011, 11:36 PM)Alabama Trad Wrote: An important topic.

The Galileo affair is probably the biggest black eye that the Church has suffered over the centuries, not because she was proven to be fallible, but because the incident has served to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of many moderns.

What's the lesson of the Galileo affair?
This is false. You do not know what rubbish Galileo was teaching.

Quote:When the literalistic (i.e. most simplistic) reading of a Scriptural text SEEMS to contradict widely held scientific or natural knowledge in any field of study, our duty is not to superimpose the literalistic text on the widely held belief in an attempt to stifle debate. This necessarily does two things,
a. It closes our minds to possible natural truths, of which God is the author, just as he's the author of supernatural truths,
b. It scandalizes nonbelievers, who have good reasons for certain natural beliefs, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, refusing to accept anything Christians say, even on faith.

But Galileo was wrong.

He taught that the orbits were perfect circles. Johannes Kepler used science and observations to get the truth. The orbits were ellipses. Galileo rejected the scientific works of Kepler to stick with some misguided "perfect circle" idea. Galileo was going backwards.

Kepler did not have issues with the Church like Galileo did.

Ignorance of the affair is the cause for the "scandal". Galileo's work only gets him praise now, because the work he did during house arrest was good. The work before that was rubbish.

Quote:Rather, we ought to accept the most likely natural theory and seek ways of understanding the Scriptural text in light of it. Augustine was wonderful here. He notes that ten people can have ten different insights into a Scriptural text (say, the formlessness of matter in the beginning) and all ten people may have something valuable to offer.

And we can work on understanding the facts, instead of common knowledge without any research into facts.

Thank you, Rosarium, for pointing out some of the flaws in Galileo's thesis.
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#7
(06-20-2011, 03:07 AM)wulfrano Wrote: Thank you, Rosarium, for pointing out some of the flaws in Galileo's thesis.

I could go into more detail, but the fact is that his work prior to his arrest was by their standards, and our standards, completely rubbish.

It was his work after his arrest that gets him praise.

The Church, in this case, was more for science. Galileo was trying to turn back scientific understanding.

The Galileo affair is only brought up when one expects others to be ignorant. It is never used by serious attackers of the Church.
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#8
(06-19-2011, 11:58 PM)Someone1776 Wrote: Galileo in many ways got what he deserved.  Most of the people pushing the Heliocentric view of the universe did so as a way to discredit scripture and to undermine the church.  Nonetheless, Pope Urban VIII asked Galileo to privately a compose a book dealing with the controversy, Galileo rather than politely fulfilling his request wrote a caustic and mocking book that depicted Urban VIII as a simpleton and then published the book in Italian for the public to see.  The fact that he published in Italian was a big deal as it was seen as an attempt to undermine the authority of the Pope by going directly to the people.

That's what got Galileo in hot water.  Not his scientific views, but that he was a disrespectful ass toward the Holy Father. Instead of sharing his scientific views on the universe privately with the Pope, as the Pope had requested, Galileo decided to be mocking and belligerent. 

In short, if Galileo could have posted on these forums he would have banned for belligerency and then complained that he was persecuted for his views.   

Exactly. Copernicus, who was a Catholic priest from Poland, came up with the idea that the earth revolved around the sun long before Galileo did, and even further back in history, a Greek philosopher named Aristarchus came up with the same theory in the 2nd Century B.C.

Even when Galileo was under house arrest, he had all the amenities he wanted. It wasn't like he was held in a dungeon or anything of that sort.
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#9
Good grief, I missed Alabama Trad's rants against Scripture.

Fantastic stuff.
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#10
If I recall correctly, I was once told that much of the mythology surrounding the Galileo Affair that is taught as history comes out of the French Enlightenment. Can anyone comment on this?
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