b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Mon Jan 3 03:15:08 EST 2005

From: "Christophe Bachmann" <Chris_CII at compuserve.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 16:54:16 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 58

Hal Vaughan wrote :

> Christophe Bachmann wrote:
>> Jms at B5 wrote :
>>>> You are correct... the Pope is infallible only in his teaching
>>>> office, when speaking ex cathedra on faith, doctrine and morals.
>>> By faith and doctrine, the Sun goes around the Earth.  Hence the
>>> *reason* they went after Galileo.  So he was wrong.  Hence, not
>>> infallible when speaking ex cathedra.
>> I'm sorry to disagree, but since when is the movement of sun, or
>> earth a point of christian faith, catholic doctrine, or morals. It
>> is a point of physics, and as such absolutely ineligible for the
>> infallibility argument.
> Not when the Pope and the RC Church says, "This is what happens: the
> Sun goes around the Earth."  Think back.  Remember the stories of
> people saying the Earth was flat, until it was circumnavigated?  To
> them it wasn't a point of physics or fact.  It had not been proven.
> The same applies to the Earth and the Sun.  At that time, it had NOT
> been proven and was still open to debate and proof.  At that time, it
> was possible for the Pope to say the Sun went around the Earth, since
> nobody knew enough to prove otherwise.
> Until Galileo.
> Then he said, "I have proof, and the Church is wrong.  It's a matter
> of science, not faith."  And the Church, not liking what he said,
> locked him up since, to the Church, their word was to be taken over a
> matter of physics and proof.
Note that I didn't say the church didn't condemn Galileo, only that in 
doing so it did not (could not) use the Pope's infallibility argument, as 
the topic on hand was not germane to it. Faith, Doctrine and Morals have 
well defined boundaries, and any physical movement is just outside these 
boundaries. These people are not stupid, and when setting up that dogma 
they made sure they coudn't get embarrassed by disproveable facts.
Note also that Columbus knew very well, as was known since greek 
mathematicians, that the earth was round, he just miscalculated its 
circumference, and the Magellan expedition, minus a lot of men including 
Magellan himself, came back proving a well known fact, not dismissing a 
It was the place of Earth in the universe that was the controversial 
question, not its form.

> Hal

Salutations, greetings,
Guiraud Belissen, Chteau du Ciel, Drachenwald
Chris CII, Rennes, France 

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 18:11:39 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 59

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>Note that I didn't say the church didn't condemn Galileo, only that in 
>doing so it did not (could not) use the Pope's infallibility argument, as 
>the topic on hand was not germane to it. Faith, Doctrine and Morals have 
>well defined boundaries

Your logic doesn't parse.  They went after Galileo (and Copernicus and others)
because the church MADE these issues matters of faith.  The distinction (one
might say excuse) you are making now, with hindsight, is one that the church of
that time would not support.

Galileo was not arrested for bad science.  He wasn't arrested for littering. 
He was arrested for HERESY.

Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a "theological or
religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary,
to the catholic or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by
extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as

So the church of that time considered the place of the Sun and Earth in the
heavens so thoroughly a matter of faith and doctrine, because the notion of man
as the center of the universe was central to their faith, that that in order to
preserve the morals of the time, they arrested Galileo and would have likely
executed him if not for his high profile and position...and had he not recanted
and spent the last ten years of his life under house arrest.

The church DID consider these to be matters of faith, so I don't understand how
you can say now, well, they weren't.  If a leader is infallible on matters of
faith, then should he not know what is faith and what is not so he can know
when he is being infallible and when he is not?

But in any event, to say that the arrest of Galileo had nothing to do with
matters of faith is ludicrous on the face of it, and totally inconsistent with
history.  Or, more simply, it just ain't true.

The church maintained that these were matters of faith worth murdering and
imprisoning over until the day came when they were proven, conclusively, to be
wrong...then they said, well, those weren't *really* matters of faith, we wuz
just funnin' ya.  The whole Papal Inquisition, the trials, the torture, that
was just a goof.

Come on.

(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2004 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
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