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Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems


Originally shared by Ed Pearce

Galileo’s Dialogue On Two Chief World Systems was dedicated to his patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who received the first printed copy on February 22, 1632. The book updated Copernicus’ theories about the Earth going around the Sun. It was written in Italian, the language of the people rather than Latin, the language usually used for scholarly debate.

Galileo’s updating of Copernicus’ theories about the Earth going around the Sun ridiculed the position taken by the church. His position on the relationship of discovered truth in nature to revealed truth in the Bible, was in his view perfectly compatible with his Catholic faith. The devout scientist argued “ I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

The following year, The Inquisition summoned Galileo to Rome where he was cross-examined and threatened with torture. The Roman Catholic Church argued „The doctrine that the Earth is neither the centre of the Universe, nor immovable, but moves, even with a daily rotation is absurd and both philosophically and theologically false and the least an error of faith.”

The 69-year-old Galileo recanted and was sentenced to house arrest for his last years. After his revocation Galileo was heard to mutter under his breath “Eppur si moove” (“But still it moves”).

Originally excommunicated, Galileo was later in his life given permission to attend church on religious holidays provided he has no contact with others.

In 1992 Pope John Paul II admitted the Roman Catholic Church had erred in condemning Galileo, thirteen years after he appointed a commission of philosophers, scientists and theologians to investigate the evidence of the Italian’s controversial discoveries.

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