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Statue of Galileo Planned for Vatican

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the isn't-it-ironic dept.

Space 333

Reservoir Hill writes "Four hundred years after it put Galileo on trial for heresy the Vatican is to complete its rehabilitation of the scientist by erecting a statue of him inside Vatican walls. The planned statue is to stand in the Vatican gardens near the apartment in which Galileo was incarcerated. He was held there while awaiting trial in 1633 for advocating heliocentrism, the Copernican doctrine that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The move coincides with a series of celebrations in the run-up to next year's 400th anniversary of Galileo's development of the telescope. In January Pope Benedict XVI called off a visit to Sapienza University, Rome, after staff and students accused him of defending the Inquisition's condemnation of Galileo. The Vatican said that the Pope had been misquoted and since the episode, several of the professors have retracted their protest."

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cool (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647728)

We won't live to see Darwin's statue, but this is a start!

Re:cool (5, Informative)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647784)

As far as I know, the catholic church is one of the few christian institutions that doesn't take issue with darwin, they contend something about a moment of divine intervention during evolution or something. Now I'm pretty damn tired right now, so someone else feel free to correct me :-p

Re:cool (5, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647838)

You are correct. In fact, it seems that the vast majority of Christian institutions, and institutions of other religions, do not take issue with evolution. It's the Discovery Institute [wikipedia.org] who takes issue with the notion of evolution. They've manufactured the idea a controversy over evolution, when no such controversy exists.

Re:cool (4, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647952)

To be specific we're talking about controversy in scientific circles, I think it's safe to say that there's plenty of controversy in the public, unfortunately.

Re:cool (5, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647992)

Well, certainly there are lots of people who individually take issue with evolution. There are also lots of people who individually believe they've been abducted by aliens. That doesn't mean there's any controversy over alien abductions.

Re:cool (0, Flamebait)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648316)

think it's safe to say that there's plenty of controversy in the public
In the depressed parts of America, anyway: not unsurprisingly, anywhere in the US within a hundred miles of an ocean is immune from this. But in the fly-over states, large portions of the population are happy to have no health insurance, no jobs, their mortgage foreclosed, their son sent to Iraq and their daughter condemned to an unskilled job by the price of education, just so long as homosexuals a thousand miles away in California can't marry and science textbooks don't have that dang evilution in them.

This is an inland US problem, far less of an issue elsewhere. Creationists are laughable nutters who no-one, no-one takes seriously elsewhere. And as several people have pointed out, neither the Catholic nor the mainstream Protestant churches have any issue with evolution anyway.

Re:cool (1, Interesting)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648750)

To be specific we're talking about controversy in scientific circles

Actually, there still is quite a bit of this too. And the Discovery Institute is a case in point. Most of its members are scientists with Ph.D.s who teach in universities. Guillermo Gonzalez was a professor of Astronomy at my alma mater, Iowa State University. You can't just dismiss them and say there is no controversy in the scientific community, when they teach and research science for a living, and hold the same degrees and positions as other academics. To say there is no controversy is to define the scientific community as only those scientists that believe in Evolution, and while many people clearly do try to do just that, such an approach smacks of arrogance, and doesn't make a lot of sense, because again, save this one area of disagreement, these people are indistinguishable from other scientists.

Side note: There are other scientists who take issue with evolution as well, but aren't in the Discovery Institute because they know that is the kiss of death to anyone seeking tenure.

Other note: I have said nothing about my personal views, so don't start making assumptions and arguing the merits of evolution with me. I confine my post entirely to the point that saying there is no controversy in the scientific community is ridiculous.

Re:cool (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648850)

How about we narrow it to scientific circles that have anything at all to do with evolution? Everyone else (like an Astronomy profesor) is just the general public as far as evolution in science is concerned, pure apeal to (false) authority.

Re:cool (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648902)

It seems to be your assertion that there exists a legitimate scientific controversy over how the species of life that exist today came into being. What is the hypothesis that is proposed as the serious scientific alternative to evolution? What predictions does it make? How would we test whether that hypothesis is incorrect? What sort of evidence would prove that the hypothesis is wrong?

Re:cool (2, Informative)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648196)

They've taken the legitimate scientific discussion, debates, refinements, questions, and testing and have manufactured a "controversy" where none exists. They've also taken the more scientific definition of the word "theory" (as a hypothesis presented for testing, discussion, and refinement) and given it a popular, fuzzy definition as "something that's not necessarily true."

I think you'll find a lot of Christians out there who are perfectly at home with evolution and other scientific thought because they're secure enough to know that it's not possible to have "proof." Most institutional churches don't take a stand one way or another. I suspect these more intelligent people are in the majority. What we have in the "Discovery Institute" and its ilk is a minority group that was marginalized as lunatics at one point but who've been given a sort of bogus legitimacy by politicians and the press. I suspect the pendulum will swing back and that they'll be marginalized again. Until that happens we need to be concerned with youngsters who may be receiving an inferior and shoddy education.

Re:cool (5, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648418)

You are correct. In fact, it seems that the vast majority of Christian institutions, and institutions of other religions, do not take issue with evolution.

You must be new here. Everyone who ever posts on /. knows that all Christians, theists and, basically, anyone religious -- or who has ever been religious at all -- is a complete, uneducated moron. No one who has ever believed theistically has ever contributed anything, whatsoever, to science, knowledge, understanding or the promotion of the human race.

There, I said it. Now do me!

Re:cool (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648882)

They've manufactured the idea a controversy over evolution, when no such controversy exists.


Wouldn't them disagreeing be the definition of a controversy over evolution?

Re:cool (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647886)

One of the many. Very few churches outside the USA have any issue with Darwin's work, or the facts of evolution.
They're happy enough to allow evolution to be true, but have God be the power that guides it, which makes perfect sense if you take God as being the personification of all that is beyond our understanding in the universe.

Religion and science don't have to be a dichotomy - in fact, it's usually only in the eyes of zealots (both pro- and anti-religion) that it is.

Re:cool (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647896)

Thinking of a suitable statue for Galileo, I envisage an animated automaton, with the logo "Eppur si muove" on the pedestal.

But then that's just the surrealist in me :P

The bitch lives!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648206)

Wow. Her tax attorney conveniently "commits suicide" and her troubles with Whitewater go away. A high-level donor turns up on a train clutching some pills and babbling incoherently after his illegal tactics are outed by the press. Her hubby flies to Kazakhstan to set up a face-to-face between the Prez. and a Canadian investor who later receives exclusive rights to mine uranium. Said donor then donates millions to Clinton's charity (which I'm sure pays for his lavish speaking trips and other favors along these lines). No doubt Bill hit some nice Kazakhstani tail while he was half a world away from the old ball and chain.

All this, and she still wins Texas. Wow. She's as much as told us that by voting for her we get two presidents for the price of one. George Washington must be spinning in his grave! I guess she has the huge Mexican population to thank. No wonder she doesn't want to fix the border. I'm really disappointed in you, Ohio and Texas. It's a sad day for America, indeed.

They've got to be kidding (3, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647750)

Well, if the Church wants to give the impression that they want to fix their mistakes and apologize for them, I think it would be better if they apologized for supporting dictatorships and benefiting from them (as they did in Spain for 40 years, for example).

They could also get rid of child molesters and stop paying (lots of) money to keep things under wraps, which obviously is not the best way to solve the problem.

These kind of news really pisses me off. A statue to Galileo 400 years late? WTF?

Re:They've got to be kidding (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647802)

I think it would be better if they apologized for supporting dictatorships

Like the papacy? ;-)

-jcr

The church IS a dictatorship (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647876)

Last time I looked the catholic church didn't take votes on This Years Beliefs. What the pope says goes and all the religious sheep believe whatever he says. This applies to almost all religious unfortunately , substitute pope for mullah/rabbi etc

Re:The church IS a dictatorship (5, Interesting)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647912)

I'm fine with the Church being a dictatorship as long as it only affects their followers. I've got a problem when they support a militar dictator that oppresses a whole country, though.

Re:The church IS a dictatorship (2, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648172)

You're fine with the church killing people who change their minds and don't want to be followers any more ?

Because that's one of the things that dictators do. Including the Roman Catholic Church who burned people at the stake for heresy.

Re:They've got to be kidding (5, Funny)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647898)

These kind of news really pisses me off. A statue to Galileo 400 years late? WTF?
Well, to be fair, they are erecting a statue of Bob Johnson. Never heard of him, according to prophets, he is going to do something great in 400 years.

That should pretty much even things out for you.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647932)

In the eyes of the lord, 400 years is a blink of an eye, my son.

:)

Re:They've got to be kidding (5, Informative)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647956)

They could also get rid of child molesters and stop paying (lots of) money to keep things under wraps, which obviously is not the best way to solve the problem.
They should take their cue from the public school system. According to The New York Post July 30, 2001 - in NYC between January 1999 and June 2001 there were 212 children victims of child molestation by teachers. In 45% of the cases, the sex offender attacked more than one student. In nearly 16% of the cases, school officials delayed or tried to cover up the sexual molestations.

According to the New York Times - June 12, 1988, there were 135 cases of sexual molestation by priests were reported from 1983 to 1986.

Time frames are different, but in one city there were more reported child molestations in the public schools than in the catholic church nationwide.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1, Offtopic)

pjabardo (977600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648164)

Well, that might not mean anything. What is the number of children in public schools in NYC compared to the number of children daily involved with priests? And do not forget another aspect that is very important: priests are able to pressure a kid with much more effectiveness than a teacher (something like: "if you tell anyone you will go to hell"). You could well be right (I could even say that you are probably right) but these simple numbers do not mean much without a definite and quantifiable context. That's the difficulty with statistics.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648374)

but these simple numbers do not mean much without a definite and quantifiable context. That's the difficulty with statistics.
Correct, but the one common thread in all the abuse cases is that if it is committed by a member of an organization, the organization always protects itself first. The organization's punishments are usually given abusing members to appease public pressure and give the appearance of "doing something."

I am not trying to defend the Catholic Church or slam the public schools although both deserve it for different reasons, just that the media whips people into a frenzy and creates a fear of risks that are not be that likely (vaccinations and autism or being killed by a terrorist) and ignores real risks (normal everyday driving).

Re:They've got to be kidding (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648334)

So,... what's your fucking point?

It's better to be molested by one and not the other?

We're talking about priests fucking little boys and girls, you gibbering twat. It sounds like you're defending these priests. "ooh, at least they raped less kids than the teachers did..."

You don't seriously believe anything more than 10% of molestation cases by priests get reported, do you. Go have a gander at public records concerning rape/molestation/sexual assault and see what the official estimate is of cases which are *not* reported.

Re:They've got to be kidding (3, Interesting)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647984)

They could also get rid of child molesters and stop paying (lots of) money to keep things under wraps, which obviously is not the best way to solve the problem.
Maybe not, but what are they supposed to do? Publicly admit their Holy Men to be as sin-full as everybody else, sometimes even more so?
That would have a pretty high chance of causing/accelerating their downfall, and such an organization of course has some interest in selfpreservation.
I'm not convinced their downfall is a good thing either, as I prefer Christianity/Catholisim over Islamism as the leading world religion. A lot.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648214)

Publicly admit their Holy Men to be as sin-full as everybody else
Not sure why you were modded as funny but oh well... Even the way you worded that 'as everyone else' shows the problem. And note, I do have faith in Christianity so this is from that perspective.

There's fostering (in some circles) that people of faith are somehow better than everyone else. That doesn't make sense from a biblical perspective. There's not a hierarchy of sin in God's eyes. They're all 'against his will'. So that's one fallacy of some religious folks. That while I may do X, this other guy/gal does Y and that is SO much worst.

Secondly even 'Holy Men' are human. Just because they devote to pursuing an ideal doesn't mean that they don't make mistakes. In fact, I believe, it's impossible to ever reach the ideal*. Does that mean that it's not worth pursuing? I'd like to think not. Now, I have more respect for an organization that admits its mistakes than to try to hide it. Just thinking pragmatically, priest will be less likely to molest if they know the Catholic Church is open about such things.

But I thought you said no sin is worse than another? (just answering the logical question that can come up before someone asks it..) That's in God's eyes. I don't have an issue with people doing what they want (gay marriage, drugs etc). We're all entitled to our own opinions and because I may disagree with something that doesn't mean that it's right to tell them what to do. Aka we can agree to disagree. I'm a firm believer in that. Anyways, 'sins' that I do have a problem with are those that infringe on others ... aka murder, rape, stealing, molestation etc.

I didn't mean to go so long but this is an issue that I feel very strongly on.

* By ideal, substitute the ideal of the particular faith you believe in (if any).

Re:They've got to be kidding (-1, Troll)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648268)

'... as I prefer Christianity/Catholisim over Islamism as the leading world religion. A lot.'

Well, duh! dog shit is not as unpleasant as chicken shit.

What about atheism? (1)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648604)

I prefer Christianity/Catholisim over Islamism as the leading world religion. A lot.
Why should we choose the lesser evil? I prefer atheism, science and actually using our brains for thinking. And reality, thank you very much.

Re:They've got to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648076)

Homosexual molestors in the church are a good example why other organisations and schools are obligated to keep them away.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648096)

A statue to Galileo 400 years late? WTF?

Those guys have a really big time horizon - things change /very/ slowly as they can't just take up any new 'truth' that comes down the pike unless they're /really/ sure. I've always thought it meaningful that they first publicly admitted their mistake [newscientist.com] 359 years later - 360 being a significant number for ancient astronomy/astrology/mythology.

Re:They've got to be kidding (5, Informative)

indigosplinter (984239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648128)

Point of order (which may affect how you think about this topic): Galileo was not, as is commonly believed, imprisoned for advocating heliocentrism. He was imprisoned for using a Papal imprimatur on the book where he advocated it. This was equivalent to saying the Church endorsed his position, and it had actually not taken a side in an active scientific debate (ring any bells?). The Pope was a friend of his and Galileo had convinced him to give him the imprimatur on the book, sight unseen, after Galileo had promised the book would be even-handed.

Whether or not that's something to fix or apologize for... up to you. I'd think of it as more of an anniversary story (400 is a big one) rather than an "apology" story.

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648678)

He was imprisoned for using a Paypal imprimatur on the book where he advocated it.
I hate when I glance at a sentence and parse the wrong word.

Re:They've got to be kidding (2, Insightful)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648500)

Well, if the Church wants to give the impression that they want to fix their mistakes and apologize for them, I think it would be better if they apologized for supporting dictatorships and benefiting from them (as they did in Spain for 40 years, for example).

It ain't perfect, ain't ever gonna be, was never and won't happen. It's chocked-full of bad history, yet it's done tons of good. Calvin put it best (not "and Hobbs" dude), "The church spans all time from the first man until now, has no walls, cannot be put in a building..." etc. The church is like your family. Can't stand 'em, can't get rid of 'em, gotta have 'em. I think "Little Miss Sunshine" best illustrates this when the kid finds out he's color blind and can't become a fighter pilot as he dreamed. He yells at his family: "I hate you people! You're all losers!" Then he reluctantly gets up and continues on the journey with them. I think this applies to anyone who finds themselves a member of anything important to them whether family, marriage, church, etc....

They could also get rid of child molesters and stop paying (lots of) money to keep things under wraps, which obviously is not the best way to solve the problem.

This was actually one of Martin Luther's points in his 99 thesis. He felt priests should be married. Obviously, celibacy hasn't boded very well for the church....

These kind of news really pisses me off. A statue to Galileo 400 years late? WTF?

Ironically, Christ made the same point to the religious leaders of his day, "Your fathers killed the prophets, and now you make monuments to these same prophets affirming the deeds!" Or something to that affect....

Re:They've got to be kidding (1)

zsau (266209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648714)

Also, Catholics should stop working on science. They advocate nothing but the most unrealistic and unworkable, theology-laden ideas which do not stand up to the evidence. Just two examples of this are Copernicus's heliocentrism and Fr Georges Lemaître's "Big Bang".

I'm a little bothered (5, Insightful)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647756)

It's one thing for the Vatican to apologise for its past mistreatment of a figure like Galileo, but erecting a statue of him? I don't know - it seems almost sensationalist. If I'd been tortured and mistreated by an institution, I wouldn't want them to have a statue of me as a tourist attraction! Faith will always be against certain types of scientific enquiry, and I think the Vatican should be honest enough to admit so rather than making an almost-martyr of this one famous figure in order to garner public approval.

Re:I'm a little bothered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647844)

If I'd been tortured and mistreated by an institution ...

Galileo was mistreated, but he was never tortured by the Catholic Church.

Re:I'm a little bothered (5, Insightful)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647916)

If I'd been tortured and mistreated by an institution, I wouldn't want them to have a statue of me as a tourist attraction!
Galileo wasn't tortured.

He was a personal friend of the then Pope, and got prosecuted not because he divulged Heliocentrism itself. Other Heliocentrists at the time didn't have any problem with the Church, and in fact some of them were funded by the Church itself. He was prosecuted:

a) Because he insisted that all the details of his theory, such as that, despite Kepler, whose works he read but dismissed, planetary orbits are perfectly circular since circles are "perfect" and ellipses aren't, were absolute certainties, even though he couldn't prove any of them (the first actual proof of any version of Heliocentrism appeared only in the 19th century, 200+ years after Galileo's time);

b) Because he thought that everyone should accept his hypothesis just because, no matter the lack of proofs;

c) And because he did make the point clear by adding a character to his book, named "Simpleton", who "defended" Geocentrism by mocking actual speeches of his friend the Pope, what Galileo cluelessly hoped he would find funny, not offensive. Obviously, it didn't happen.

Considering that at the time people were tortured and burned for doing much less, being held in his own house was a very soft punishment. The Church really wasn't harsh on him. It's only by comparing what Galileo was subjected to with 20th century style freedom of speech that one finds it "evil". But comparing it to what was the standard practices in the 17th century puts things in a very different light.

Mod parent up (1)

jenik (1030872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647940)

excellent summary!

also atomism (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648178)

Don't forget that his theory of atomism clashed with the Trent's doctrine of transubstantiation. Redondi thinks the heliocentrism controversy was designed to cover that up, although his position is a bit weak, and smacks of conspiracy.

Re:I'm a little bothered (1)

vykor (700819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648230)

Well, I dunno, I think it's not so much proof of his eccentric version of heliocentrism, but the presentation of any version of heliocentrism as truth rather than hypothesis. Cardinal Bellarmine, the Church's presumed expert in the matter, was simply unconvinced by assertions made and evidence presented, when put against the accepted doctrine, as written fairly explicitly in the Scriptures. As you said, Galileo didn't have much solid proof. The Tychonic theory of geocentrism with a mobile sun also explained the phases of Venus, for example. Without having observed stellar parallax, there's not much else you can say - and even if you have a parallax, there are ways to explain around that without having to invoke 'God did it'. In context of a pre-Newtonian era, it's not too difficult to think of alternate explanations.

Galileo had a number of admirers and defenders, up to Urban VIII. The Dialogues, unfortunately, basically attacked everyone else who held different theories, without holding up much else. Most importantly, by using the Pope's own theory (that the universe is in fact geocentric, but made by God to appear heliocentric to human observation) with 'Simplicio' and then striking it down, the Dialogues became a challenge to papal supremacy and had to be put down. It seems Galileo apparently didn't have the social skills to keep his allies and avoid alienating potential supporters.

Re:I'm a little bothered (1)

watzinaneihm (627119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648260)

That's true.
But Galileo did have the threat of being persecuted like Bruno and Copernicus though... And the times were'nt as bad as you make it out to be. It was a time of rapid change, Newton was born at the time of death of Galileo for example..

Re:I'm a little bothered (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648630)

But Galileo did have the threat of being persecuted like Bruno and Copernicus though...

Copernicus was never persecuted, except if you think that having to part with his common law wife (he was ordered so by his bishop at a late age) because he was a member of the church was a persecution. Otherwise, he died a peaceful death in his bed, holding the first print of his book in his hands.

Bruno on the other hand was burned at the stake, but not for scientific reasons (he wasn't a scientist at all) but because as a monk he had professed really heretical points of view on the nature of God and mankind. Something that was totaly alien to Galileo Galilei work.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Galileo Galilei, who was a pompous ass that clinched to Copernicus' epicycles like there was no tomorrow, and tried to defend his system with a "proof" based on tidal waves that was known for centuries to be completely wrong. If it wasn't for dynamic physic, he would be certainly completely forgotten. Trying him was really far fetched, cardinals of the time should probably have harnessed the work of their cosmologists to prove him wrong and his theory flawed beyond repair ; erecting a statue is pushing the pendulum too far on the opposite side.

The one really a desserving a statue for solely lifting humanity out of the dark ages is Keppler.

Source : A. Koestler, the sleepwalkers.

Citation needed! (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648616)

It's true Galileo wasn't tortured, but the rest of this seriously misrepresents his thought.

Galileo basically disproved Aristotelianism - the belief that the Universe was made of 5 elements, that 4 of them comprised the corruptible lower Universe, and that the perfect outer Universe was made of the 5th element. He did this experimentally by pointing a telescope at the supposedly perfect bodies and showing that they had surface features.

He also identified the orbits of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, thus demonstrating that, in the Universe, small bodies could orbit round a large one. He showed that a system of satellites was not unique.

He also did valuable early work in dynamics - the cannon ball story is long exploded - by building precise apparatus and timing systems for measuring the movement of balls rolling down slopes. It was not his fault that he did not know that gravitational potential energy was partly converted into rotational kinetic energy as well as translational energy, or that, in the absence of a definition of velocity, he did not get the formulae of motion into their modern forms. It is also not his fault that he got frustrated because the reaction of the people who he tried to demonstrate his evidence to was, in effect, to stick their hands over their ears and scream "can't hear you". It is also not his fault that Kepler was addicted to mystical ideas (such as that the orbits of the planets fit inside a nesting of the Platonic solids), and lacked a modern marthematical framework, which, at the time, greatly obscured the value of what he was doing.

As for suggesting that Galileo would "cluelessly" hope the Pope would find Simpleton funny, anybody who knows anything about Italian society at that era would know that to be nonsense. This was a society in which men fought to the death over perceived insults. My guess is that Galileo hoped the Pope would see arguments he supported being made by an idiot, and decide to forget about them quietly.

However, the Inquisition and its mates had far too much invested in Aristotle (and not being made to look ridiculous) and the rest is history.

Revisiting this before posting I am tempted to add that there is a great deal of misunderstanding of people like Newton, Galileo and Kepler due to anachronism. They did not live in a modern society, they did not have access to modern mathematics, instruments and communications. You cannot write about them without researching their background. But, believe me, if you do it is endlessly fascinating and there is much to learn for our own time. There is a huge amount of published material, in fact these were guys who could write their own books. They are worth reading. Both the Dialogue (Galileo) and at least part of the Principia (Newton) should be on every nerd's reading list, if only because it cures you of the idea that everything exciting in science happened since 1940.

Re:I'm a little bothered (1)

Degreeless (1250850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648002)

I suppose it's more the acknowledgement of their wronging of Galileo that's worth something, I doubt a statue of the man would be that big a money-spinner, and its hardly as if the Vatican really needs another statue to really bring the punters in. The statue is just a symbol of their acceotance of responsibility and a late apology; not everything the Vatican does is an attempt to make a gain.

Vatican, Church.... (2, Insightful)

buanzo (542591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647760)

They should just shut up and read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett:

"Gods on the Discworld exist as long as people believe in them and their power grows as their followers increase. This is a philosophy echoing the real-world politics of the power of religion and is most detailed in the novel Small Gods. If people should cease believing in a particular god (say, if the religion becomes more important than faith) the god begins to fade and, eventually, will "die", becoming little more than a faded wispy echo."

Re:Vatican, Church.... (1, Flamebait)

Lanarion (1249656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648026)

Yes, because as we all know the philisophical arguments given in Small Gods are perfectly true and valid. Not at all a fictional universe. No never.

Re:Vatican, Church.... (5, Insightful)

Foggerty (680794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648082)

True.
And the universe in Animal Farm was fictional, and therefore had nothing of value to say.

Re:Vatican, Church.... (2, Insightful)

Lanarion (1249656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648248)

Well, I certainly wouldn't turn to it for vetinary studies. The difference between Small Gods and Animal farm is that animal farm is concerning a historical political entity, whereas the philosophy of small gods is simply postulation on something that inherently can't be proved, because it is outside the scientific sphere. Chalk and cheese, really.

Re:Vatican, Church.... (1)

Twisted Willie (1035374) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648412)

They should just shut up and read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett: "Gods on the Discworld exist as long as people believe in them and their power grows as their followers increase. This is a philosophy echoing the real-world politics of the power of religion and is most detailed in the novel Small Gods. If people should cease believing in a particular god (say, if the religion becomes more important than faith) the god begins to fade and, eventually, will "die", becoming little more than a faded wispy echo."
That reminds me of Neil Gaiman's American Gods [neilgaiman.com] , which is a avaible for a free read here [harpercollins.com] .

Statue of goatse planned for London (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647766)

Goatse [twofo.co.uk]

i want a giordano bruno statue (4, Interesting)

dermond (33903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647770)

while galileo was only imprissoned and threatend with torture, giordano bruno [wikipedia.org] was murdered by the chruch...

Re:i want a giordano bruno statue (3, Informative)

Penfold1234 (920794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647866)

Re:i want a giordano bruno statue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648020)

he probably meant he wants a statue like that *in the vatican*

Re:i want a giordano bruno statue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648212)

"Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name."

Re:i want a giordano bruno statue (1)

Penfold1234 (920794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648306)

Arrgh... It's the old favourite of posting Wiki links: you've got to remove the trailing "/" Sorry.

Re:i want a giordano bruno statue (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648010)

Wow, thanks for the link. Contrary to popular (and my before) belief he was burned _not_ because of his heliocentric views (which had little scientific base) but for his other herecies in theological issues. And he was a priest.

Not that I approve burning naked people, but then any kind of death penalty is IMO barbaric... Ah. We'll have to wait several more centuries.

I heard from my friend in Rome.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647778)

I heard from my friend in Rome that it's going to be a naked statue of him. And he won't be very well hung at all.

Thunderbolt and lightning! Very very frightening! (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647804)

Galileo!

Re:Thunderbolt and lightning! Very very frightenin (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648554)

*deeper voice* Galileo!

Typical (0, Flamebait)

HCLogo (1077495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647856)

Typical of the Catholic church to engage in this kind of hypocrisy. Attempt to impede scientific progress that doesn't fit into their religious philosophy, and then after being proven wrong, try to act as if they supported it all along. How stupid do they think the people of the world are? So much for accountability.

The Museum of History of Science (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647872)

The proper place for the statue is surely outside the Museum of the History of science at Florence. This ought to be on the itinerary of any self-respecting nerd visiting Italy. They have some of Galileo's own equipment, and a religious relic - a finger bone of the man himself. They have a full size model of his gravitational experiment (no jokes about cannonballs please) and the last time I visited there was an Italian school party there getting an accurate account of his experiments from their enthusiastic woman science teacher. It's even better than the Whipple in Cambridge, which is in some ways a temple to Newton, because you really get the sense of just how exciting and disruptive Galileo's thought actually was. If you read the Dialogue on Two World Systems, you rapidly realise that Galileo was a modern man who today would be on television being incredibly rude and funny about Kansas boards of education. (This is not hype. You only need to read his letters to Kepler to realise that what probably really pissed off the Pope and the Inquisition wasn't that he said they were wrong, but that he made jokes about their ideas.)

Sadly for Giordano Bruno, he didn't have Galileo's powerful protectors and was a bit too all-out mystical. Roger Bacon just got locked up for years for suggesting that Arab science should be adopted to ease the work of the poor - can't have peasants having free time to think about things. However, the Church at least has a history of adopting ideas once they've been safely mainstream for a few hundred years. Some of the Protestant sects seem intent on actually going backwards, hence the drive towards Bible literalism (which wouldn't have been understood by most of the early Church fathers, but is a peculiar product of 19th century Protestantism separated by an ocean from its roots.)

Re:The Museum of History of Science (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647914)

Sadly for Giordano Bruno, he didn't have Galileo's powerful protectors and was a bit too all-out mystical.
Galileo's later refutal of his own claims - something Bruno didn't do - might have had some influence on the turn of events too..

Re:The Museum of History of Science (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647944)

"However, the Church at least has a history of adopting ideas once they've been safely mainstream for a few hundred years."

Let me correct this. What you meant to write is "However, the church has a history of fighting idea up to the bitter end, until they can no more fight them without looking ridiculous because those idea have become mainstream even for their own believer. Until then, everything is fair game".

Re:The Museum of History of Science (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648578)

That museum is WAY FRICKIN COOL. I can't remember half the stuff in it, but it's a transportation right back to Renessaince and late Medieval science experiments. It's like walking through an HG Wells novel. I half expected to see the Time Machine from the book somewhere in there. A MUST-see if you go to Florence.

Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (-1, Offtopic)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647906)

Maybe this is too much to ask, but after they erect that statue of Galileo, perhaps they could also stand a giant statue of a condom right next to it?

Purely to put that other serious mistake about HIV [iht.com] firmly behind them...

Re:Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647974)

This is just stupid...

Why Condoms?

Catholics don't need them.

Why?

Well, because catholics are supose to marry virgens, and when
married have sex only with his/her wife/husband.

Re:Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648008)

Ever heard of overpopulation?
It's a real problem in some parts of the world, parts on which the Catholic church, via their humanitarian/missionary programs, have a lot of influence on.

Re:Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (2, Insightful)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648350)

Uh, you do know the Catholic church condemns all forms of birth control, right? Including condoms.

Maybe I am too sleepy to get the sarcasm.

Re:Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648626)

No, they don't condemn *ALL* forms. They endorse the rhythm method, which is effective enough to legitimately be considered a form of birth control. The biggest problem with the rhythm method is that it requires what might seem to some people like a disproportionate amount of self-discipline to be effective, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work for those that manage it.

Re:Today Galileo, Tomorrow Condoms? (1)

ZiggyStardust1984 (1099525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647994)

I'm not sure they have enough space for all the mistakes they have made...

What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22647920)

What's next? A portrait of Carl Sagan on the Sistine Chapel?

The other side of this (Pope) Urban legend? (4, Informative)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647928)

There's another side to the Galileo debate - that he was the victim of a political persecution by fellow scientists who felt Galileo was making fools out of them. It was they, not the church, who put forward the idea that Heliocentrism would lead to sun worship. Galileo kept much of his research secret not because he feared the Church, but because he feared the rebuke of his fellow scientists.

Read here:

http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/scheiner.html [rice.edu]

Also read this excerpt from Columbia Humanities Professor Robert Nisbet:

http://www.bible-researcher.com/nisbet1.html [bible-researcher.com]

My my (3, Funny)

KrunZ (247479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647930)

A fully erect Galileo in the Vatican Garden. It sems hard to belive.

Re:My my (-1, Offtopic)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648048)

well... hopefully he's not *fully* erect... though i guess one can consider it an 'exciting' opportunity...

Breath of fresh air... (5, Interesting)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22647966)

I know the Catholic church has it's dark side in history, however, I'm very pleased that one of the worlds foremost religion is doing such a fantastic job 'respecting' science. Before you blast me with examples of how the Catholic church is blundering (big bang?), remember that they are (as far as I know), the only _major_ Christian church that supports evolution. Furthermore, I do have a lot of respect for the Jesuits and their pursuit of science. Finally, the Vatican may not 100% pro-science, but they seem far from being anti-science.

Though I'm not Catholic (atheist), I respect the Vatican for trying to understand how science merge with their faith, instead of bending science to their faith. Considering the horror stories that I see and hear about creationist faith (cringe!), this is a breath of fresh air!

My $0.02 CAD

Re:Breath of fresh air... (-1, Flamebait)

Usekh (557680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648062)

The Anglicans aren't a major Christian church? news to several million folks. And under Darth Pope the support for evolution is becomming rather more guarded too.

Re:Breath of fresh air... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648148)

Only major? Well, what do you concider major... Most do, really.

For example the one I belonged to (left that recently due to atheism), the Lutherian (protestant) church to which most of northern europe and some in the middle (common in germany too for example) belongs to has nothing against evolution (nor big bang or condoms). Propably because our educational system is good enough that people would laugh at them and most would leave the church were they to say that creationism (as in the 7 days and noah's arc) are true...

Naturally, this doesn't get near the catholics' numbers but 37 million people isn't really minor either and it is just one of the many (most) protestant churches that support evolution (and big bang and use of condoms too, as unrelated stuff).

Now, let's fix it "Catholic church isn't the worst sect of christianity when it comes to supporting scientifical theories" and you are corret.

Re:Breath of fresh air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648564)

Considering the horror stories that I see and hear about creationist faith (cringe!), this is a breath of fresh air!
Come to Europe then, you won't have to deal with creationists at all except when you see the local periodicals making fun of them =)

Re:Breath of fresh air - addemdum (2, Insightful)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648580)

In addendum to the above post, I'd like to point out that the Catholic church represent about half of the Christian population and 1/6th of the world's population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_church), so I'd like to consider it major, but not exclusive.

For those that I've offended: s/the only major Christian church/a Christian church/.

Thanks for pointing out other (mostly European?) churches that consolidate instead of bending science. Forgive my ignorance. Since I live north of what seems to be the biggest hive of creationism fundamentalist, it sometimes sound like every religion is science bashing. Usually, their statements are hilarious but I absolutely abhor the tone of the fundamentalist bible-blabber.

For anybody that cares, I'm curious to hear what other churches/religions have a position similar to the Vatican on science.

Re:Breath of fresh air... (2, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648660)

remember that they are (as far as I know), the only _major_ Christian church that supports evolution
And what _major_ Christian church opposes evolution?

Let's see a real apology! (0, Offtopic)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648004)


if they really want to apologise for the some of the more unconscionable actions of the Catholic church, then let them put up a statue of Julius Fromm !

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Fromm)

Fools & Heretics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648014)

You are all being deceived! Clearly the Sun rotates around the Earth disk! Intelligent Flat Earth Centrism can not be wrong, therefore you are!

Say NO! to ERECTIONS in the VATICAN (2, Funny)

PolarIced (119874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648060)

(Sorry folks; just my zippy-the-pinhead moment of the month)

Erections should really be prohibited inside the Vatican. What on earth is the Catholic church coming to?

Vatican still has them (1)

lancelotlink (958750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648208)

From what I've heard, the Vatican still has boxes full of, ahem...those from the Great Emasculation.

so... (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648086)

when are we getting a statue of darwin at oral roberts university?

my money is on the year 2578

In all the things to say about this.... (3, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648092)

..what comes to mind as one of the most positive is to consider how important this would have been to the man himself, who was devoutly religious and deeply grieved for the inability of the Church at that time to find a way to reconcile its cannon with science. Galileo, like many of the great minds of science, considered the increased and refined understanding brought through through study to be proof of the wonder and complexity of creation rather than an attack on theists.

Personally, as a non-theist (I don't care for the term atheist as it implies hostility toward religious people), all I can do is respect these great men for their part in helping explain the universe.

Galileo would have been deeply honored (or so I believe), so I respect what the Church is doing here.

Re:In all the things to say about this.... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648608)

Nah, he would probably come up with some off-color snarky comment about how it was too small in certain places or not muscular enough or something. Galileo was a jerk.

Re:In all the things to say about this.... (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648706)

[[Galileo would have been deeply honored (or so I believe), so I respect what the Church is doing here.]]

Bah, the Church is very good for redeeming itself for centuries old 'errors', but when it comes to issue that are present now (say homosexuality for example), they show that they are nearly as backwards as they were before..

So what the Church is really trying to do is called 'saving face' nothing else, so it doesn't deserve much respect..

Hey, we were wrong! (1992) (1)

notthepainter (759494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648100)

From the wiki page:

On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary, as the result of a study conducted by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

traditional greeting.... (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648136)

I hope Galileo is celebrated with his right arm raised and his middle finger extended, in the time honored way. I'm sure if he were alive that's what he would want.

God addicts never learn (0, Flamebait)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648158)

When it turns out that torture, murder, intimidation and incarceration can't change the facts, a major religion of the day finally tries to repair its reputation by acknowledging one of the scientists who rubbed their noses in reality...four centuries late.

Something to remember when a modern would-be theocracy attempts to use its power to deny reality in American labs and classrooms. Science moves on, leaving the morons behind.

Re:God addicts never learn (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648632)

Read others' comments before posting and get educated. Or are you Galileo?

Bullshits (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22648160)

I actually study in Rome, at "La Sapienza", and the statement regarding the reason why the pope didn't made his visit is a bullshit.
Simply the students from every dept. didn't wanted such a man to inaugurate the new academic year.
The students didn't wanted him because of what he represents, for what the Church of Rome represents morally, scientifically and POLITICALLY.
And, surprise, the first ones who argued against that visit, which was unilaterally decided by the university chancellor, were PROFESSORS!

No surprise that, as things usually go in Italy because of the political class and the church, people gets angry only if it happens to hear about them.

I admit that probably if the pope was still Wojtyla, no one would ever have thought of talking against the visit. This is because of the differences between the two popes: I'm not a praticant and I'm sure I also don't fit in the "catholic" definition, but... please, just google for images searching "Wojtyla" and then "Ratzinger". What you'll find may be funny, but it shows exactly what every italian which doesn't have a Vatican-driven mind images if hears "Ratzinger". Damn, people who lives close to the Vatican City calls him "Lady Josephine" as a lot of people do knowing about the rumors of his "inclinations".

And, if only that news was reported by the national, I assure you that what most of the people would think would be "it would be nice to use that money for the people who doesn't have anything to eat instead of building a statue which no one will EVER care about".

The Vatican wants to spend money?
Give that money AND your apologies to the victims of sexual abuses performed by members of the church.
Good! Start paying the ICI TAX (a tax you pay for the ownership of a building: Vatican should not pay them. Thanks to the Italian politicians).
Block EVICTIONS from your buildings (The Vatican actually has A LOT of flats and buildings in the center of Rome).
Shouldn't you care about "your people"?
Start doing something real AND good, instead of talking and brainwashing people's minds.

Void Where Prohibited by Newton's Law (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648188)

What will the inscription on the statue read? Something like

The Church reserves the right to excommunicate you for 400 years if the facts interfere with Its absolute powers.

200 years of those facts becoming common knowledge, at the expense of Its absolute powers, notwithstanding.

Hopefully (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648510)

Hopefully said statue will wear a condom. The Vatican wants to show how far they've come and admit their mistakes. I guess we'll have to wait another 400 years for the tribute to the little rubber thing...

LETTER TO A BRAZILIAN MASON UNEXPURGATED (0, Troll)

Brasil_66 (1178401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648550)

Excerpt from "LETTER TO A BRAZILIAN MASON UNEXPURGATED", by Marcelo Ramos Motta: "Several times, during the last fifteen hundred years, one or another group of those Initiates attempted to re-establish openly their cult. Whenever they did this, the Roman Church intervened with insane fury, slaughtering men, women and children, to the point that, as was the case with the Albigenses, even medieval captains, men made brutish by the violence of the savage battles of the times, became disturbed by the massacre and went to ask the Pope whether, maybe, they were not killing innocent people along with the guilty (the Albigenses died so virtuously, you understand). And it was on this occasion that the Bishop of Rome honored the "Christian" tradition of his church with these memorable words: "Kill them all; God will know his own." The slaughter, Dr. G., included even newborn babies... And it wasn't, Dr. G., as if the Bishop of Rome were victim of blind faith in the crass theology of his creed; it was not as if he truly believed in the existence of a "savior" called "Jesus", and believed that the Albigenses were "Satan's creatures". No, Dr. G., there was not even the explanation of fanaticism for the decision of the Bishop of Rome - for the Roman Popes know, have always known, that there never was any "Jesus Christ"! It is perhaps hard for you to believe this? Then remember the historic words, uttered in a moment of carelessness induced by overbearing vanity, one of the most cynical and most prosperous of the popes, Leo X: "Quantum nobis prodest haec fabula Christi!" That is: "How we are helped by this fable of the Christ!" You must remember that the original documents of what the Romans call "Christianity" are preserved in the Secret Library of the Vatican. It is the simplest thing for the extremely few prelates whom the Cur ia grant access to such documents to verify where facts stop and fiction begins. I think we have said enough about the past history of the Church of Rome. It must not be necessary that I remind you of Joan of Arc, or of Jules de Retz, against whom the most horrible accusations were made, no evidence of the charges was presented, and his judges and accusers were his heirs; or of Jacques de Molays and the rest of the Templars, of or Michel Servet, or of the Emperor Friedrich Hohenstaufen, or of Johann Huss, or of Henri IV (murdered by order of the Jesuits), or of the Cathars, or of the Albigenses, or of the Huguenots, or of the Jews and Arabs of Spain and Portugal, or of the French, Germans, Scottish and Irish Gnostics who were called "witches", and forced to confess absurdities under diabolical tortures, or of Galileo, or of Cagliostro, or of the immense quantity of Masons whose bones whiten the roads that take to Rome.... I think that, to a Mason, it cannot be necessary to speak further of the past of that infamous church." Read the whole document, if you so wish: http://user.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/dplanet/motta/moma2.htm [cyberlink.ch]

two words (0, Flamebait)

Rumagent (86695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648588)

Fucking hypocrites...

A placation for those who are unlearned (1, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22648796)

Historical Fact:

Galileo was an asshole who refused to subject his work to peer review. Could not prove his theory at the time but was so egotistical that he claimed it as fact. Was critical and insulting of his contemporary peers dismissing their work as completely baseless. (Not only were some of these contemporaries right on, but their work could have helped substantiate Galileo's.) Then Galileo in fact insulted one of his biggest supporters publicly (who also happened to be both one of the top political entities and the head of the review board). Because this head of the review board (the Pope) asked Galileo just to state his premise as a theory until he could prove it.

The Catholic Church censured Galileo. This resulted in a house arrest, in a very nice house with catered food and all his needs met. Or in other words, a back-handed censure that actually included a patronage enabling Galileo to continue his work.

Sadly, most of this is lost in the popular sensationalism of Galileo. If this event happened today....Galileo wouldn't be lauded. He'd be considered one of those sensationalist jerks that goes to the media before peer reviewing and proving his work. And then trashes and insults every other scientist who comments on the matter or claims Galileo is mistaken, or has yet to prove his work.

***

What this is really about.... "Politics" to accommodate a bunch of uneducated, unlearned individuals who lack any knowledge of history (and probably not much more of science)...who like to consider themselves scientifically minded and well-educated, when they're not.

(A good example is most of the people commenting in this Slashdot thread who probably don't have a single iota about Galileo other than the motif that somehow the Catholic Church was imprisoned him because they didn't want people to believe the earth revolved around the sun. )

Because you uneducated mis-thinking fools need to be placated. You gribe about science and the church. But your idol was a man who made great folly's and while contributing much to science also fell far short of it as well.

Here's some education on the matter:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei#_note-contrary_to_scripture [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair [wikipedia.org]
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