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May 15, 2009

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The Galileo thing is actually ironic in that the church had embraced the pagan dogma of Aristotelian/Ptolomeic view of the universe with its epicycles. So in a sense the church was anti-science but not in the way Dan Brown would have us believe.
John Lennox does a good job of explaining this in his book. God's Undertaker: Has science buried God?
Galileo's personality was not a help either. Apparently he was rather lacking in the tact department which made things even more difficult for him. This "Faith vs Science" canard is really quite old and tired.

Melinda, your statements about Galileo are grossly misleading, as is the link you provided. So let's get some facts on the table.

Galileo's initial run-in with the church occurred because he wrote a private letter explaining that he thought the bible could be interpreted metaphorically in places in a manner consistent with his observations. At the time the church permitted mathematicians to consider Copernicanism, but only as a supposition, not as true. In other words, it was fine if they just wanted to amuse themselves with some calculations, but they were not permitted to actually believe such things.

Galileo was hauled before the Inquisition due to his private letter, which fell in to the wrong hands. This letter went too far. A layman can't offer an interpretation of Scripture contrary to the church. He was acquitted on a technicality. The letter was only a copy, not the original. So they said "Not Guilty" but basically don't do it again. They immediately then issued a decree, which reads as follows:

"Since it has come to the knowledge of this Holy Congregation that the false Pythagorean doctrine altogether opposed to the Divine Scripture of the mobility of the earth and the immobility of the sun which Nicolas Copernicus in his work De revolulionibus orbium caelestium and Didacus a Stunica in his Commentary on Job teach is being promulgated and accepted by many as may be seen from a printed letter of a certain Carmelite Father Foscarini entitled &c wherein the said Father has attempted to show that the said doctrine is consonant to truth and not opposed to Holy Scripture therefore lest this opinion insinuate itself further to the damage of Catholic truth this Congregation has decreed that the said books Copernicus De revolulionibus and Stunica on Job be suspended till they are corrected but that the book of Foscarini the Carmelite be altogether prohibited and condemned and all other books that teach the same thing."

This decree remained in effect for quite some time. For instance, here is a foreward to the Jesuit's edition of Newton's Principia

"Newton in this third book supposes the motion of the earth. We could not explain the author's propositions otherwise than by making the same supposition. We are therefore forced to sustain a character which is not our own; but we profess to pay the obsequious reverence which is due to the decrees pronounced by the sovereign Pontiffs against the motion of the earth."

So Galileo returned home, but did continue to work on such matters. Here's a portion from a tract on the motion of comets he published.

"Since the motion attributed to the earth which I, as a pious and Catholic person, consider most false and not to exist, accommodates itself so well as to explain so many and such different phenomena, I shall not feel sure but that, false as it is, it may not just as deludingly correspond with the phenomena of comets."

He used the same terminology in a subsequent tract where he'd present the case in the form of a dialogue without committing himself to either view. This is what caused him some big trouble. Ultimately the Pope recognized some of his own arguments in the words of a character Galileo didn't paint too flatteringly. Sale of the tract was forbidden and Galileo was ordered to return to Rome. He protested due to his poor health at the age of 70, but was threatened to be brought out in irons if he didn't come.

At trial he protested that he had only considered the question hypothetically without committing himself to either position. Wrong answer. Nothing can even be probable which is contrary to Scripture. He was forced to recant heliocentrism as a false, cursed, and detestable. He was then subjected to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

So is it simply a matter of his attacks on the church and pope? Please. They absolutely had a problem with his science, because (in their view) his science violated their understanding of Scripture. The two areas overlapped, and science was forced to yield. That's what this was about.

A&D is just more of the same old preach'n to the choir. It will be music to the ears of some and go in one ear and out the other to others. It will only make true faith stronger and perhaps weed out a few tares. If anything it will take the focus off of the real issue for the RCC today which is pedophile priests.

Like its highly over-rated predecessor, A&D is just a movie not a documentary. Any ink dedicated to it only increases the attention paid to it.

Jon, your statements about Galileo are grossly misleading.

I suggest you see these links:

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/galileo.html

http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/6308

I fail to see what is grossly misleading about Jon's statements. The Catholic Church had problem with Galileo's science. They threatened him with torture, forced him to recant and damaged astronomy in southern Europe for centuries. What happened was partly the result of personality clashes and the Church's desire to assert its authority. But Galileo's recantation clearly includes the statement that heliocentrism isn't just factually or scientifically wrong. The scientific theory that the sun as at the center was, specifically, religious heresy.

By the way, everyone loves to blame this on Aristotle and/or the Catholic Church. But Luther was also an advocate of geocentrism and his conclusions came straight from the Bible.

So what if the "Catholic Church" had a problem with science. My question is "Why do so many people want to lay this at the feet of God?"

I'm not being sarcastic, just asking a simple question. :-)

I thought that people were laying this at the feet of the Church, or at most, at the feet of religious thinking. I don't think that anyone is laying this at the feet of God (to the extent that I understand what that means). Religion is different from God.

Joe,
Most of the people I talk to make no distinction between the Church and God. Anything bad that occurs within any Church congregation is used against belief in God. :-(
For example, "How can I believe in God when there is so much hypocrisy within the Church?" I have been asked this before.

I am not refering to any of the previous posts....I understand they are not laying this issue at the feet of God. I was just writing about this one issue that seems to crop up form time to time.

This situation concerning the way the Catholic Church dealt with science(or anything they considered blasphemy)will be used by some as another excuse not to believe.

One of the things that I find interesting is that, according to Harvard physicist Gerald Gabrielse, the whole plot falls apart when you realize that there is not enough antimatter currently in existence in the world to boil a pot of water. (Listen to Gabrielse' talk at the 2009 Veritas Forum at MIT online)

The old accusation that the Church is "anti-science" is laughably ridiculous. Anyone who is a serious Christian knows this. Oddly, it is almost always those outside the Church who insist on perpetuating this myth. I agree with Melinda when she writes, "blah, blah, blah...". I don't really care whether or not Galileo was treated unjustly or not. It says NOTHING about the relationship between natural and divine science. Why are we still talking about this? And why am I still typing...???

Ryan, ever heard of the Theory of Evolution? Are you aware that the universe is 14 billion years old? What do you think motivates those that disagree? Are their disagreements due to scientific factors?

Jon, KEY word there being "Theory"!

Prince,

Define "theory".

Theory. From dictionary.com


1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
6. contemplation or speculation.
7. guess or conjecture.

And which specific definition applies when one is speaking of a 150 year old scientific theory?

I'm gonna go with numbers 6 and 7.

Funny, but wrong.

Chose any of them then...

Which one would you choose?

Mr. Prince, Thanks for playing but the answer is 1! The theory underlying biological evolution - that allele frequency changes in a given population over time - is occurring as we speak and is about as proven as a scientific theorem can be.

While we're at it the Roman Catholic Church has been far more interested in and supportive of science over the last four hundred years than the fundamentalist/evangelical community has been since the end of the 19th century.

Even the early Church fathers knew that Genesis was to be interpreted figuratively. Genesis only became a biology textbook when American fundamentalists promoted their reactionary response to the higher criticism.

Melinda

"So see "Star Trek" instead. It's an E-ticket ride, not a movie."

We may not agree on much but you're dead on here. And if you can watch the Trek reboot on an IMAX it's even E-ticketier!

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena...

General propositons is a loose phrase to use. I wouldn't put to much confidence in that buddy!

..."Even the early Church fathers knew that Genesis was to be interpreted figuratively". Who are you talking about? What church fathers do you speak of???

Step off the ledge of a tall building, and you'll discover that you can put a great deal of confidence in "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena".

Open your mind and you'll discover that you can put a great deal of confidence in the Holy Bible and see that there is a Creator and a Son that was sent to die for you!

"'Even the early Church fathers knew that Genesis was to be interpreted figuratively.'

Who are you talking about? What church fathers do you speak of?"

Clement, Origen, and Augustine, among others.

I think the Genesis version of the Creation was meant to be taken literally. It was meant to be taken literally way before Clement, Origen, and Augustine... Still the bottom line is God created life weather you choose to take it literally or figuratively. I think it's a non-issue that can get beat to death at times.

Prince

"I think the Genesis version of the Creation was meant to be taken literally. It was meant to be taken literally way before Clement, Origen, and Augustine."

To one degree or another the Church fathers were the authors of the Christian theology we have all inherited. They were not literalists, from which I infer that they did not expect you to be a literalist either.

I don't see any evidence to except the view of whom you say are our "church fathers" view on the Creation. I do however see enough evidence to except the literal interpretation seen in Genesis... This is a non-issue, only a man made distraction.

Well, if Genesis is to be taken literally, then this is a bit more than a "non-issue", because in that case, Genesis is wrong.

Prince, your view is why I find the pre-Nicene Christianity and the history of the early Church so interesting, and why I think Fundamentalism has done a grave disservice to the Christian faith over the last century. Be well.

"If anything it will take the focus off of the real issue for the RCC today which is pedophile priests."

Dear Pro Life,

If you are a lover of Truth as well as Life, you will take a few moments to familiarize yourself with some facts before you further demonize the Catholic priesthood.

The incidence of sexual abuse of minors is actually higher among Protestant Clergy than Catholic.

The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2002: “Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant..."

Penn State professor Philip Jenkins placed the percentage of pedophile priests between .2 and 1.7 percent. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.

Too often, the assumption is made that problem of child sex abuse is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. The data does not support this conclusion. Indeed, it shows that family members are the most likely to sexually molest a child. It also shows that the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than among the Catholic clergy, and that it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests.

I'm sorry you feel that way Joe... Giles, I'm glad you find our history so interesting. I'm sad of the fact that your approach to it is, "can't see the forrest for the trees". I'm am however praying you can get past some of your issues that some Christian Fundamentalists have thrown in front of you. I apologize on their behalf. God Bless!

It's not really a matter of "feelings", it a matter of fact. If the writers of Genesis intended their account to be literal history, then they got it wrong.

How can you say that? You can present a case Joe of which you are trying to convince me or someone else for that matter but I don't see how you can sit there and say, nope, it's wrong... But you are right, it's not a matter of feelings!

And I trust the actual OT authors and early Christian writers veiw on the Genesis account of the Creation over "Joe"! They have provided me with a little more evidence than you have.

>I don't see how you can sit there and say, nope, it's wrong.

Take a geology course.

Geology only makes things more convinsing to Creation. Studying matter in which the Earth is made up of is solid evidence pointing towards a Creator. So maybe I should change the puncuation on my last statement. I don't see how you can sit there and say, nope, it's wrong!!!!!

So, according to geology, which was created first, birds or reptiles?

What does that have to do with anything?

You said, "geology only makes things more convinsing to Creation".

So, ok, according to geology, which was created first, birds or reptiles?

I don't know, what is it Joe?

Reptiles.

Point?

Genesis says it's birds first.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems...

Right, it's birds before reptiles.

Then what are the living creatures He speaks of? I think you're making to much of it. You're arguing a small fraction of something you don't even believe in. It's pretty simple and does not require all that analyzing...

Huh? Genesis doesn't say that God created birds before reptiles?


What do you make of this?

Genesis 1:20

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems...

Why don't you tell me what to think?

Oh, and while you're deciphering Genesis for me, perhaps you could tell me the total length of time it took to create all the "kinds".

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