“The notion that Galileo’s trial was a conflict between science and religion should be dead. Anyone who works seriously on Galileo doesn’t accept that interpretation anymore.”
So says Thomas Mayer, a historian at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. Here’s a clip from the article:
Records riddled with holes
The Roman Inquisition began in 1542 — 22 years before Galileo’s birth — as part of the Catholic Church‘s Counter-Reformation against the spread of Protestantism, but it represented a less harsh affair than the previously established Spanish Inquisition.
Galileo’s first trial ended with the Inquisition issuing a formal order, called a precept, in 1616 demanding he stop teaching or defending the heliocentric model. His decision to ignore the precept ultimately led to the second trial 15 years later.
But some people have argued that Galileo never actually received the precept from the Inquisition. By their logic, the astronomer misunderstood the formal order as a mere rap on the knuckles. Continue reading