Galileo, to Grand Duchess Christina

Galileo, to Grand Duchess Christina - Science and Religion...

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Science and Religion GALILEO GALILEI: On Theology as Queen of the Sciences Galileo's Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (1615), here  reproduced in part, might be called a scientist's declaration of independence. Since 1611  the greatest scientist (1564-164z) had been under attack by certain churchmen for  championing the Copernican theory of the universe,  not merely as a mathematical  hypothesis but as a physical fact. Replying to the attack in his famous letter, Galileo  stated unequivocally what he considered to be the proper relations between theology and  science.   QUESTIONS FOR ANALYSIS 1. How does Galileo characterize the motives of his enemies? Why in his view do they use religious arguments against him? 2. According to Galileo, why is it dangerous to apply passages of scripture to science? 3. To Galileo, how does nature differ from the Bible as a source of truth? 4. In Galileo’s view, what is the proper relationship between science and religion? SOME years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small numbers of professors—as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts; not their diminution or destruction. Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them. To this end they hurled various charges and published numerous writings filled with vain arguments, and they made the grave mistake of sprinkling these with passages taken from places in the Bible which they had failed to understand properly, and which were ill suited to their purposes. .. . Persisting in their original resolve to destroy me and everything mine by any means they can think of, these men are aware of my views in astronomy and philosophy. They know that as to the arrangement of the parts of the universe, I hold the sun to be situated motionless in the center of the revolution of the celestial orbs while the earth rotates on its axis and revolves about the sun. They know also that I support this position not only by refuting the arguments of Ptolemy and Aristotle, but by producing many counterarguments; in particular, some which relate to physical effects whose causes can perhaps be assigned in no other way. In addition there are astronomical arguments derived from many things in my new celestial discoveries that plainly confute the Ptolemaic system while admirably agreeing with and confirming the contrary
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Galileo, to Grand Duchess Christina - Science and Religion...

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