As usual, after I wrote my most recent article trying to advocate a moderate view of the relationship between religion and science, rather than the more popular, contemporary view of science as an angel of light having fought a long battle against the dark forces of religious superstition, I received letters from people who felt I was, e.g., letting Galileo off too easilly. A sample:
"And you should know that Galileo got just what he deserved because he harassed the Church into changing their interpretation of the bible based on his theories, which were impossible to prove at that time. They got tired of being shoved around, so they told him to get off their backs and be quiet."
("Telling him" this means, in this instance, threatening him with torture and imprisoning him.)
This letter was from a Catholic. The odd thing is that this isn't the authoratative Catholic position on this matter:
"Pope John Paul II issued a declaration in 1992 saying that the church's denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from 'tragic mutual incomprehension.' This is considered a close to the Galileo issue by the Church."
The phenomena of people like my correspondent above strikes me as very odd. (Other examples include those who declare Vatican II a mistake, Mass should be in Latin, etc.) They are trying to be more Catholic than anyone else, but, in the process, wind up dismissing the decrees of the Pope, and so, in fact, have become Protestants! Weird.
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