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#1
Old 01-10-2012, 08:27 PM
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For what, exactly, was Galileo threatened with torture?

Everyone agrees that Galileo was threatened with torture by the Catholic Church during his 1633 trial, in which he was accused of defending Copernicanism. This trial culminated with his being forced to recant and abjure Copernicanism.

My understanding was that he was forced to recant under threat of torture. That is, I had assumed that the Church said, in effect, "Recant, or we'll torture you." I tried to edit the Wikipedia page to reflect this, but other editors read the sources differently.

The alternative interpretation is that the Church said, in effect, "Admit that you defended Copernicanism, or we'll torture you." Galileo had earlier been ordered not to defend Copernicanism. He claimed that he hadn't defended this theory, only presented it for study. It's plausible that the church just wanted him to admit that he had defended Copernicanism, not just presented it, and that they only threatened torture to get him to admit it.

Once this interpretation was pointed out to me, I realized that it is at least consistent with my source material. But my source material is just what I can read of the following two books using Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature. The books I've been looking at are by Finocchiaro and by Gingerich. But my interpretation also seem consistent with these books. As far as I can tell, they only say that he was told to "tell the truth". But does this mean, "Admit that Copernicanism is wrong"? Or does it mean, "Admit that you defended it"?

So, does anyone know exactly what the nature of the threat of torture was? Was it "Recant, or we'll torture you"? Or was it "Admit that you defended Copernicanism, or we'll torture you."
#2
Old 01-10-2012, 09:22 PM
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Some article I read years ago said that what was going on was this- there was a cult/group that pushed some sort of astrological hokum that ran counter to the church's official word. The church of the time, in reaction to dissent, made any discussion of Copernican theory (contrary to the party line) a heresy. Galileo was some scientist focussed on scientific truth, and could not care less about esoteric debates over mystical topics. Unfortunately, to the hard-line factions of the church, he was een as giving aid and comfort to the enemy by giving scientific backing to their side of the debate. He was ordered not to push the point about Copernicus, so instead of scientific fact he took the passive-aggressive approach and pubished a "fair-and-balanced" dialog between the helio-centric intellectual and a simpleton pushing the church's point of view.

Think of it as the equivalent of today having a debate about global warming and freedom fries.

He had quite a few defenders in the church, especially among the intellectuals, so in fact he was let off easy, considering that basically he taunted the powers that be.
#3
Old 01-11-2012, 12:24 AM
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You probably already knew that, FWIW, Pope John Paul II apologized for Galileo's treatment in a 1992 speech: http://nytimes.com/1992/11/01/wo...was-right.html
#4
Old 01-11-2012, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
So, does anyone know exactly what the nature of the threat of torture was? Was it "Recant, or we'll torture you"? Or was it "Admit that you defended Copernicanism, or we'll torture you."
Neither.

It was a hollow threat anyway. Galileo was “shown the instruments of torture,” presumably in a vain attempt to rattle him before he went to trial. Because of his quite advanced age at the time, it would have been illegal (by the Church’s own laws) to actually torture him. Probably Galileo was aware of this fact. There was no torture, and there was never going to be any.

There was also no real question, at the trial, about what Galileo believed or what he had written. The issue was whether there was anything illegal about it. At the outset of the trial Galileo argued that he stayed within the letter of the law; by the end he was persuaded to admit that he had not. He was not accused of heresy, he was accused of disobeying Cardinal Bellarmine’s personal order, given several years before, that Galileo, specifically, should not promote the heliocentric theory. His guilt or innocence turned on the precise wording of that order (records of which existed in two different versions), and the precise wording and format of the text that Galileo had published. This was a relatively trivial crime, and Galileo’s punishment was accordingly lenient (by the standards of the time).

In any case, when he published the work for which he was arrested (the Dialog), Galileo was under the impression that he had the current Pope’s personal position to publish: that Bellarmine’s gag order had, in effect, been lifted. It appears that right after the book went on sale, the Pope abruptly changed his position and had Galileo arrested. It may have been because Pope Urban found some aspect of the way Galileo expressed himself to be personally offensive, or (much more likely in my opinion) it may have been due to a power shifts in behind-the-scenes Vatican politics (which were in a very volatile state at the time) which led Pope Urban to feel the need to put on a show trial to divert attention away from his own shrtcomings (in teh eyes of his opponents within the Curia). Urban had the reputation of being a very liberal, modernizing Pope, but at this moment he needed to appease his more conservative opposition who were growing in influence due to external circumstances (a string of Protestant victories in the Thirty Years War, that was currently raging in northern Europe). Galileo happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The notion that the Church hierarchy was implacably opposed to the heliocentric theory is a myth. There were elements in the church that objected to it, but they were never in control, and Pope Urban was opposed to them. However, at the time of the publication of Galileo’s Dialog, he was probably in a situation where he had a pressing political need to placate them. Galileo was a patsy.

The whole “showing the instruments of torture” thing has been blown out of proportion by those who want to depict the Galileo affair, for propaganda purposes, as part of an epic struggle between science and religious superstition. It was nothing of the kind. It was either the result of Pope Urban throwing an irrational tantrum, or, more likely, a bit of squalid political gamesmanship that had very little to do with the Church hierarchy’s attitude to Copernicanism (which, rather than being implacable opposition, was more like mild scepticism coupled with bureaucratic resistance to change).

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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
. . .
This bears almost no resemblance to what is actually known to have happened.
#5
Old 01-11-2012, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post

(which, rather than being implacable opposition, was more like mild scepticism coupled with bureaucratic resistance to change).
If I remember right it didn't help that Galileo put a lot of stock into his tide theory as his big piece of evidence.(As I remember it that theory makes predictions like there's only 1 tide a day, it's at the same time every day and it's the same height. IE it gets nearly every observable fact about the tides wrong. Even Einstein pointed out the Galileo was ignoring the evidence when it came to his tide theory.)
#6
Old 01-11-2012, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by notsoheavyd3 View Post
If I remember right it didn't help that Galileo put a lot of stock into his tide theory as his big piece of evidence.(As I remember it that theory makes predictions like there's only 1 tide a day, it's at the same time every day and it's the same height. IE it gets nearly every observable fact about the tides wrong. Even Einstein pointed out the Galileo was ignoring the evidence when it came to his tide theory.)
Well, it is true that his tide theory was false (and that Kepler had already put forward a better one, that Galileo treated with derision), but I do not think that had much to do with why he got put on trial. The fact is that, at the relevant time, the available evidence and arguments in favor of heliocentrism were very weak, and the arguments against a moving Earth looked pretty strong. In his Dialog, in fact, Galileo did a great deal to undermine the latter arguments, but at the time of his arrest, the book had just appeared so its impact had not yet been felt. His arguments about the nature of motion quite effectively refuted any arguments to the effect that the Earth must be (or clearly is) still, and in the process they laid down the basis of modern physics. However, to show that the Earth could be moving is not to show that it actually is moving. The tides theory is supposed to show that, but, as you say, it does not actually fit even the basic facts about tides known at the time. (I doubt whether the Holy Office cared, though.)

In fact, there was not really a strong empirical case in favor of heliocentrism until Kepler completed and published his Rudolphine Tables, several years later, and until they had proven to be able to predict the motions of the planets far more accurately than any form of Geocentric had ever been able to mange. (Not that tables based on the Geocentric/Ptolemaic system were by any means hopeless in that regard, but Kepler's heliocentrically based ones soon showed themselves to be unequivocally better). At the time Galileo first published the Dialog, a rational, impartial observer would have been perfectly justified in rejecting heliocentrism (and most of them did).

Last edited by njtt; 01-11-2012 at 01:56 AM.
#7
Old 01-11-2012, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Neither.

It was a hollow threat anyway. Galileo was “shown the instruments of torture,” presumably in a vain attempt to rattle him before he went to trial. Because of his quite advanced age at the time, it would have been illegal (by the Church’s own laws) to actually torture him. Probably Galileo was aware of this fact. There was no torture, and there was never going to be any.
I'm just asking about the narrow question of the nature of the torture threat, not the surrounding circumstances of the trial.

The sentence against Galileo said that he was to be "threatened with torture". I take this to mean that he was told "We'll torture you if you don't do X" for some value of X. My question is, What did X equal? Was it "recant", "admit that you defended heliocentrism", "cooperate with these proceedings", or something else?

When you say that they were just trying to "rattle him", do you mean to say that they didn't tell him what he had to do to avoid torture? Are you saying that they just made sure that he was in the same room with the torture-instruments at some point, but that no verbal threat was made?

Do you have a cite to back this up? I can't even find a reputable cite (referring to original sources) saying that he was ever "shown the instruments of torture". The original sources I've found only say that he was to be "threatened with torture". This to me implies that there was a verbal threat of torture. What was the nature of this verbal threat? Or, if there was no verbal threat (just a display of instruments), what evidence documents this?

Quote:
He was not accused of heresy, he was accused of disobeying Cardinal Bellarmine’s personal order, given several years before, that Galileo, specifically, should not promote the heliocentric theory.
Galileo wasn't just accused of disobeying orders. He was also accused of being "vehemently suspect of heresy", which was something short of full-blown "formal heresy".
#8
Old 01-11-2012, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
I'm just asking about the narrow question of the nature of the torture threat, not the surrounding circumstances of the trial.

The sentence against Galileo said that he was to be "threatened with torture". I take this to mean that he was told "We'll torture you if you don't do X" for some value of X. My question is, What did X equal? Was it "recant", "admit that you defended heliocentrism", "cooperate with these proceedings", or something else?
You are saying he was sentenced to be threatened? That sounds most implausible and I am pretty sure it is wrong. Indeed, it hardly seems conceivable that an official sentence would contain a threat to do something illegal. I do not have the relevant books to hand at the moment, but, as I remember, the threat of torture came either just before the trial commenced, or sometime during it. I think before, but I am not quite sure. It is significant because, by all accounts, Galileo went into trial fairly confident and defiant, defending himself vigorously, but about half way through his demeanor changed and he eventually pled guilty. Possibly this was a result of the threat of torture being made part way through, but I don’t think so. IIRC what turned the tide was simply a long private talk he had with one of the prosecutor/judges. We do not know what was said, but the best guess I have heard is that he was told he had better take the fall for the relatively minor offence with which he was charged or else things might get a lot more nasty, not just for him but for his friends within the Vatican, including, possibly, even Pope Urban himself, who were actually doing their best to keep the whole matter a low key as possible. If the threat of torture came before the trial, as I think it did, it was clearly ineffective (suggesting Galileo knew that there was no way they were actually going to torture him).

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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
When you say that they were just trying to "rattle him", do you mean to say that they didn't tell him what he had to do to avoid torture? Are you saying that they just made sure that he was in the same room with the torture-instruments at some point, but that no verbal threat was made?
We don’t know what they told him. It is important to realize that a lot of the records pertaining to the trial are unavailable, sealed at the time and very likely destroyed or irretrievably lost since. (Probably inadvertently lost when Napoleon invaded Italy and carted away a bunch of stuff from the Vatican. It was eventually given back, but much got damaged or jumbled up so stuff can’t be found, in the process.) Furthermore much of the most crucial stuff that went down was probably private conversations that were never recorded. Because of that we have to rely on inference and educated guesswork based on the rather meager evidence we do have, which can lead to different historians giving very different seeming accounts. As I tried to convey before, the impression that I get from what I have read is that the threat of torture, although it was made at one point, was not actually a very big deal because it was an idle threat, and Galileo probably knew it was an idle threat.

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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
I can't even find a reputable cite (referring to original sources) saying that he was ever "shown the instruments of torture". The original sources I've found only say that he was to be "threatened with torture". This to me implies that there was a verbal threat of torture. What was the nature of this verbal threat? Or, if there was no verbal threat (just a display of instruments), what evidence documents this?
I don’t have a cite now, but the phrase "shown the instruments of torture" stuck in my mind, so I am fairly sure it is right, and my impression is that it is a fairly direct translation of whatever is actually in the records. Possibly it was ordered but never actually happened. Anyway, I think that “showing the instruments” certainly amounts to a threat. Possibly nothing was said at all: a threat does not have to be verbal. If you march a prisoner down to the torture chamber and give him a good look at what is available, that could be plenty enough to throw a good scare into him, at least into a lesser man than Galileo. It may be that the point of the exercise was to frighten the prisoner into being honest and respectful during trial, and perhaps it might even scare a confession out of him. For all I know, “showing the instruments of torture” may have been standard practice before trials of this type. It would make a certain amount of sense.

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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
Galileo wasn't just accused of disobeying orders. He was also accused of being "vehemently suspect of heresy", which was something short of full-blown "formal heresy".
I don’t see how being "vehemently suspected” of a crime can actually be a crime, even from the admittedly sometimes twisted perspective of the Inquisition. In any case, one of the weirdest aspects of the whole affair is that heliocentrism was not even considered heretical until Galileo (back in 1616) more or less insisted that the Holy Office give a formal ruling on the matter. The powers that were did not much want to make matters of science into matters of official dogma (St Augustine had warned strongly against this centuries before), but they were pushed into it reluctantly. This, I think, is another strong hint that what really got Galileo into trouble was poor political judgement and bad timing.

Last edited by njtt; 01-11-2012 at 12:52 PM.
#9
Old 01-11-2012, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
You are saying he was sentenced to be threatened? That sounds most implausible and I am pretty sure it is wrong. Indeed, it hardly seems conceivable that an official sentence would contain a threat to do something illegal.
See page 119 of Gingerich's book. (You can see the page by using Amazon's "Search Inside This Book" feature to search for the word "torture".) That page contains the original and an English translation of an excerpt from the 1633 sentence entered against Galileo in the Book of Decrees.

Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Inquisition
Galileo Galilei ... is to be interrogated concerning the accusation, even threatened with torture, and if he sustains it, proceeding to an abjuration of the vehement [suspicion of heresy] before the full Congregation of the Holy Office, sentenced to imprisonment....
(Emphasis added.)

Last edited by Tyrrell McAllister; 01-11-2012 at 01:03 PM.
#10
Old 01-11-2012, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I don’t see how being "vehemently suspected” of a crime can actually be a crime, even from the admittedly sometimes twisted perspective of the Inquisition.
The crime was called "vehement suspicion of heresy". (Calling it "being vehemently suspect of heresy" was a misrecollection on my part.) I agree that the phrase is confusing, but see pp. 14–15 of Finocchiaro:

Quote:
Thus, in effect there were three main types of religious crimes, in descending order of seriousness: formal heresy, vehement suspicion of heresy, and slight suspicion of heresy.
(This is from page 15. I was able to read this at Amazon by searching in Finocchiaro's book for "heresy".)
#11
Old 01-11-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Inquisition
Galileo Galilei ... is to be interrogated concerning the accusation, even threatened with torture, and if he sustains it, proceeding to an abjuration of the vehement [suspicion of heresy] before the full Congregation of the Holy Office, sentenced to imprisonment....
How are you getting from that that the threat of torture was part of the sentence? It seems pretty clearly to be an order saying that a threat of torture was an allowable part of the interrogation procedure, to be followed by a sentence of imprisonment (presumably if a determination of guilt was made). This makes sense, and is in fact what happened.

Your interpretation, that the threat of torture was part of the sentence, makes no sense, is not what happened, and is not implied by your quote.
#12
Old 01-11-2012, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
How are you getting from that that the threat of torture was part of the sentence? It seems pretty clearly to be an order saying that a threat of torture was an allowable part of the interrogation procedure, to be followed by a sentence of imprisonment (presumably if a determination of guilt was made). This makes sense, and is in fact what happened.

Your interpretation, that the threat of torture was part of the sentence, makes no sense, is not what happened, and is not implied by your quote.
Do you agree that the quote is a quote from the 1633 sentence entered against Galileo in the Book of Decrees?

If so, do you agree that the sentence entered against Galileo was read by him prior to an interrogation?

I'm not sure where you are getting that threatening torture was merely allowable, and not in fact ordered. Be that as it may, Gingerich (p. 118) says that Galileo was also threatened with torture during the interrogation itself, so the "even threatened with torture" part of the sentence was in fact carried out.

ETA: But it is besides the point whether a threat of torture appeared in a sentence. Gingerich says that Galileo was threatened with torture during an interrogation. My question in the OP only depends on this being true.

Last edited by Tyrrell McAllister; 01-11-2012 at 02:37 PM.
#13
Old 01-11-2012, 02:34 PM
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I'm not super informed on this issue but I tend to think if someone has found two books they find informative on it they should probably buy those two books instead of using the small preview afforded by Amazon.com; there's a lot of important context you miss by just reading selected passages.
#14
Old 01-11-2012, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
I'm not super informed on this issue but I tend to think if someone has found two books they find informative on it they should probably buy those two books instead of using the small preview afforded by Amazon.com; there's a lot of important context you miss by just reading selected passages.
In general I agree. I may indeed buy the Finocchiaro book.

But I doubt that my question is answered by any of the missing context. I was able to read all pages preceding, including, and following, every appearance of the word "torture" in the Gingerich book, and nearly so in the Finocchiaro book.
#15
Old 01-11-2012, 03:06 PM
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Se also this: Has an article about the politics behind the charges and trial.

http://tgc-documents.s3.amazonaws.co...kategoria1.pdf

This author states that it was all a later embellishment.
"Gaileo was never tortured by the Inquisition. The pope alone, in his official statement, said that Galileo should be made to abjure under threat of torture; yet this was never part of the judges' sentence and Galileo was never ... shown the instruments of torture."
#16
Old 01-11-2012, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
This author states that it was all a later embellishment.
"Gaileo was never tortured by the Inquisition. The pope alone, in his official statement, said that Galileo should be made to abjure under threat of torture; yet this was never part of the judges' sentence and Galileo was never ... shown the instruments of torture."
Interesting. This author (Birkett) seems to flatly contradict Gingerich. The caption to Figure 14.6 (p. 119) of Gingerich's book reads

Quote:
Figure 14.6 Book of Decrees of the Congregation of the Inqiusition records the sentencing of Galileo in 1633.
The excerpt from the Book of Decrees shown in Figure 14.6 is then translated as reading

Quote:
Galileo Galilei ... is to be interrogated concerning the accusation, even threatened with torture, and if he sustains it, proceeding to an abjuration of the vehement [suspicion of heresy] before the full Congregation of the Holy Office, sentenced to imprisonment....
I don't see how to reconcile this with Birkett's claim that no threat of torture appeared in the judges' sentence. Perhaps the "sentencing" recorded in the Book of Decrees and the "judges' sentence" are two different sentences.
#17
Old 01-11-2012, 03:55 PM
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"Sorry"

It took the catholic church 500 years, to say how sorry they were for house imprisoning Gaileo. Gaileo did not need to see Instruments of torture to know they were available? and readly used by the catholic church to get people to recant.
That was Torture in itself, Mental Torture, of the sort still used to this very day.
Mental torture, as in 'Hell'; will be a persons abode if he does not recant of his Sins.
#18
Old 01-11-2012, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
Do you agree that the quote is a quote from the 1633 sentence entered against Galileo in the Book of Decrees?
If “sentence” means here what “sentence” means in modern English, i.e., a punishment that is applied after a finding of guilt, then no, I am not inclined to believe it. That appears to be a decree about how the pre-trial interrogation should be conducted. If your book appears to say that this is his sentence, then I strongly suspect that either the author is confused, or you are.

However, we appear to be in a world where “suspicion” does not mean suspicion, so perhaps, in what you are reading, “sentence” does not mean sentence either (and your confusion is understandable).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister View Post
But it is besides the point whether a threat of torture appeared in a sentence. Gingerich says that Galileo was threatened with torture during an interrogation. My question in the OP only depends on this being true.
I am not denying that he was threatened with torture. However, it does not follow that that threat was coupled with some sort of ultimatum, as you seem to think. That is not typically what torture is used for anyway. It is typically used to loosen someone’s tongue to get information or a confession out of them. Simply scaring someone, without actually hurting them, is also a common and effective means of achieving such a result. It is not supposed to be a way to obtain a lying confession of guilt. It is supposed to be a way to get them to tell the truth (which might amount to a truthful confession). No doubt torture and threat of torture can deliberately be used in order to get someone to make a false confession or recantation (or provide other false information), but I see no reason to think that that is the case here.

As I have been saying, and as you cite Gingerich as saying, the threat was made as part of his interrogation. Interrogation of prisoners typically takes place before their trial, and is carried out in order to obtain either a confession or information that is likely to be of use to the prosecution.

The straightforward answer to your original question is that we don’t know what he was told when being threatened, and probably have no way of discovering it, but there is little reason to think that either of the alternative scenarios you present in your OP is the correct one. They did not need to get a confession of guilt out of him. What he had done was a matter of clear public record. The only disputable issue was whether it amounted to any sort of crime. They also hardly needed threats of torture in order to get him to stop promoting heliocentrism any further. After all, Bellarmine’s order, delivered without any particularly dire threats, had quite effectively shut him up about the subject for the 16 years from 1616 to 1632. He only published because he (wrongly) thought that Urban had de facto rescinded (or, at least, would countenance a very liberal interpretation of) Bellarmine’s order.

As the whole thing was really a show trial anyway, the threat of torture may have been designed mainly to impress Urban's enemies and convince them that he was tough on heresy. They might not have cared much about its effect, if any, on Galileo.

Last edited by njtt; 01-11-2012 at 04:00 PM.
#19
Old 01-11-2012, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
<...>

For all I know, “showing the instruments of torture” may have been standard practice before trials of this type. It would make a certain amount of sense.

<...>
IIRC — sorry, no cite — back in the Good Old Days torture for the purpose of interrogation (as opposed to punishment or execution) commonly had three stages. First, the potential victim was shown the instruments. If that did not have the desired effect, he/she was told in graphic detail what each instrument would do to his/her body. Only if he/she remained obdurate would the actual torture be applied.

Human nature being what it is, I suspect that application was necessary somewhat less than half the time. Which is not to say that the Lord High Executioner wasn't above a playful tweak of the thumbscrew. Just between friends, you know.
#20
Old 01-12-2012, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
If your book appears to say that this is his sentence, then I strongly suspect that either the author is confused, or you are.
Gingerich's credentials look very good, so it is much more likely that I am confused than that he is. Have you looked at pp. 117–119 of his book? I'm especially curious to know what you make of the caption to Figure 14.6 on p. 119.
#21
Old 01-12-2012, 12:26 AM
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In fact, there was not really a strong empirical case in favor of heliocentrism until Kepler completed and published his Rudolphine Tables, several years later, and until they had proven to be able to predict the motions of the planets far more accurately than any form of Geocentric had ever been able to mange. (Not that tables based on the Geocentric/Ptolemaic system were by any means hopeless in that regard, but Kepler's heliocentrically based ones soon showed themselves to be unequivocally better). At the time Galileo first published the Dialog, a rational, impartial observer would have been perfectly justified in rejecting heliocentrism (and most of them did).
Actually I was reading that the Tychonic system is mathematically equivalent to a standard geocentric one which is what I think the RCC went with after this. (Then again Tychonic still is kind of a Heliocentric system, since everything except the moon and the earth go around the sun.) Still I can see what you mean, Newtonian mechanics isn't that far away at that time and once you have that you really can't have an earth centered system.

Actually these days when I read about this it amazes me anybody could think the RCC was a bunch of literalists at that time. (It's my understanding that during those days pretty much the only people that could actually read the bible were members of the church since they didn't translate it. So they would have controlled the information and could have told the public it said ANYTHING since it's not like they could check.)
#22
Old 01-12-2012, 12:46 AM
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Reading the Internet, which is a world wide and a centimeter deep, it's hard to get detailed information. However, this is what I see...

The church's decree mentions not just Galileo but also Zuniga, and his commentary on the book of Job. From what I can find, Zuniga was pushing something called Pythagorean principles. From what little I've found, this suggest attempting to reconcile the teachings of Greek philosophers with the church's teachings. In this, he seemed to be forcefully pushing his own interpretation of the bible, guaranteeing a conflict with the church hierarchy.

Also remember that Pythagoras in those contexts probably includes numerology and other non- scientific, non-religious mysticism. (No triangles need apply) Buried in the Greek teachings were the speculations of Anaxagoras who suggested the sun was the central fire and the earth revolved around it (with much the same reception Galileo got in his time).

Zuniga apparently found some backing for this in an ambiguous passage in the book of Job. Because of the ambiguity, he suggested that church was wrong in its translation and interpretation. He argued (in the book banned along with galileo's) that the correct interpretation could be found once the original Chaldean version could be found and interpreted. Note this also suggested even the Hebrew second temple version might not be accurate. Heliocentrism was just one more point where "the Greeks are right and the church is wrong"

It's one thing to argue astronomy or other details. By backing heliocentrism and putting himself in the company of someone(some group or faction) who suggested the church had the Holy Scripture all wrong, someone promoting some pagan mysticism, Galileo inadvertantly put himself squarely on the wrong end of a nasty theological dispute. Hence the nastiness and vindictiveness with which the church responded...

I wish I could find that article. I thought it was Scientific American, but I can't find it in the index; it's been 30 years or so. IIRC the author was among the first allowed to read some of the original Vatican archive documents.

Last edited by md2000; 01-12-2012 at 12:50 AM.
#23
Old 01-12-2012, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by OttoDaFe View Post
IIRC — sorry, no cite — back in the Good Old Days torture for the purpose of interrogation (as opposed to punishment or execution) commonly had three stages. First, the potential victim was shown the instruments. If that did not have the desired effect, he/she was told in graphic detail what each instrument would do to his/her body. Only if he/she remained obdurate would the actual torture be applied.
That raised the interesting possibiliyt that the decree concerng Galilieo's interrogation was intended not so much to provide that he would be shown the instruments of torture (i.e. subject to stage 1 above) as to ensure that the interrogation would not proceed beyond stage 1 to stages 2 and 3 (more detailed threats, actual torture). This interpretation is consistent with njtt's point that Galileo's age and infirmity precluded his being actually tortured.
#24
Old 01-12-2012, 01:22 AM
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Gingerich's credentials look very good, so it is much more likely that I am confused than that he is. Have you looked at pp. 117–119 of his book? I'm especially curious to know what you make of the caption to Figure 14.6 on p. 119.
Yes, Gingerich is a very well respected historian. I cannot reach the page you mention on the Amazon preview (your link certainly does not lead there) so I can't comment on what appears there. However, my point was simply based on the meaning of the word "sentence". The passage about torture you quoted earlier is clearly about Galileo's pre-trial interrogation, not his post trial sentence. If Gingerich's book refers to it as a sentence, "sentence" must be being used in some non-standard sense (it might be how the word, orits Italian or Latin equivalent, was used then, but it isn't how it is used now).
#25
Old 01-12-2012, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I cannot reach the page you mention on the Amazon preview (your link certainly does not lead there) so I can't comment on what appears there.
What worked for me was to
  1. follow the link I gave,
  2. click on the book cover beneath "Click to Look Inside!",
  3. enter "torture" into the text field labeled "Search Inside This Book", and then
  4. click on the search result labeled "page 119".
#26
Old 01-12-2012, 01:54 AM
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Actually I was reading that the Tychonic system is mathematically equivalent to a standard geocentric one which is what I think the RCC went with after this. (Then again Tychonic still is kind of a Heliocentric system, since everything except the moon and the earth go around the sun.) Still I can see what you mean, Newtonian mechanics isn't that far away at that time and once you have that you really can't have an earth centered system.
What I was saying was that it was Kepler’s work that provided the first strong empirical case against geocentrism. Although Kepler based his work on Tycho’s data, his theory was very different from Tycho’s: not only was it unequivocally heliocentric, but it postulated elliptical orbits. Tycho, like Copernicus, had continued to believe in traditional circular orbits, and Galileo, even after having been confronted with Kepler’s case for elliptical ones, still insisted on circles.

You are right, I think, that it is Newtonian mechanics that put the final nails in the coffin of geocentrism, but Newton himself pretty much took heliocentrism for granted, and developed his mechanics on that basis. He was able to take it for granted more thanks to Kepler than thanks to Galileo. (On the other hand, Newton’s mechanics is founded upon Galileo’s work.)

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Actually these days when I read about this it amazes me anybody could think the RCC was a bunch of literalists at that time. (It's my understanding that during those days pretty much the only people that could actually read the bible were members of the church since they didn't translate it. So they would have controlled the information and could have told the public it said ANYTHING since it's not like they could check.)
Galileo was living in a post renaissance and post reformation culture. Protestantism was all about reading the Bible for yourself, so no, printed Bibles were readily available at this time, and were being widely read (by Protestants, at any rate, but I am sure by many Catholics too). The peasants may not have been literate, but the better off classes were. However, you are quite right that the Catholic Church was not then (and, in fact, has never been) a bunch of Biblical literalists. That is a Protestant aberration (and largely a 20th-21st century American aberration at that.)
#27
Old 01-12-2012, 02:06 AM
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What worked for me was to
  1. follow the link I gave,
  2. click on the book cover beneath "Click to Look Inside!",
  3. enter "torture" into the text field labeled "Search Inside This Book", and then
  4. click on the search result labeled "page 119".
OK, I have looked at it now. I think you are just getting hung up by a rather ambiguously worded caption to that picture. I stand by what I said already: the torture threat was part of the pre-trial interrogation, not part of the eventual sentence. The actual quoted passage, as opposed to the caption, clearly has the sentencing occurring after the torture threat. Furthermore, given the fact that no actual torture took place, and that at the commencement of the trial Galileo was still confidently proclaiming his innocence, the threat probably did not play a very significant part in the affair as a whole. It may not even have scared him very much.

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#28
Old 01-12-2012, 04:52 AM
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About the issue of "suspicion of heresy". It's something that mystifies me, probably because legal norms and reasonnings of this time are so much at odds with ours. And also because "suspicion of heresy" might be used nowadays either to refer to the historical formal "indictment" or to what we understand now by "suspicion", making articles mentionning it unclear, because you don't know what the author is refering to exactly.


My understanding, that could be extremely wrong, is the following :


There was an actual "charge" of "suspicion of heresy". It could be :

1) Because you put yourself, by your actions or declarations, in such a position that the Church could legitimately have doubts about your adherence to the dogma even though you aren't obviously or overtly an heretic.

2)Weider, and I'm not really sure of this one, though it could apply in Galileo's case : you did not follow Church's prescriptions regarding something that the Church had not declared to be a dogma, but suspect could be heretical. For instance, assuming that it applied to Galileo : the RCC isn't sure that supporting heliocentrism runs afoul of the scriptures, but it might. To stay on the safe side, you're forbidden to teach it but then do not comply, putting yourself (and others) in a potentially dangerous position (spiritually).


In any case, the inquisition (or other court) is perfectly justified in sentencing you, for, sort of, "reckless behaviour" that could have caused spiritual damage to yourself and whoever could have listened to you or followed your example. The sentences, in this case, were much lighter than for actual heresy, but nevertheless you had to formally and publicly reaffirm your obedience to the Church teachings on the matter, and to recant, for now and for ever, the heretic doctrine you were suspected to have or were possibly heading towards. This means that in case you would at some future point hold said doctrine, you would be considered to have relapsed rather than being, as somebody else, a "first offender".


Again, I might be mistaken, and welcome any correction about this issue.

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#29
Old 01-12-2012, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
The fact is that, at the relevant time, the available evidence and arguments in favor of heliocentrism were very weak, and the arguments against a moving Earth looked pretty strong.
That is too strong of a statement. Galileo himself had contributed two critical observations which cast doubt on geocentrism--Venus shows a complete cycle of phases, and Jupiter has satellites.

The former couldn't be explained at all under classical geocentrism. The latter didn't directly bear on the behavior of the planets, but provided proof that at least some objects didn't revolve around the Earth, and removed the anomalous status of the Earth and Moon under geocentrism.

It's true, certainly, that until Kepler's work was published and accepted, there were good arguments on both sides and the matter was open to legitimate debate. But I wouldn't say the heliocentric arguments were "very weak".
#30
Old 01-12-2012, 11:25 AM
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As othrs have pointed out - until Kepler, most people seemed to be tied to the idea of regular circular motion in the heavens, which is why heliocentrism did not work well although, not as badly as geocentric theory. IIRC, the Ptolomeic system involved adding epicycples within epicycles to explain retrograde motion of the planets.

Kepler showed that the best explanation was elliptical orbits, and motion that was not constant but constant with the area swept out between the planet and the sun located at one focus of the ellipse. Newton later showed how the same gravity seen on earth could explain orbital motion in accordance with Kepler's laws.
#31
Old 01-12-2012, 12:30 PM
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That is too strong of a statement. Galileo himself had contributed two critical observations which cast doubt on geocentrism--Venus shows a complete cycle of phases, and Jupiter has satellites.

The former couldn't be explained at all under classical geocentrism. The latter didn't directly bear on the behavior of the planets, but provided proof that at least some objects didn't revolve around the Earth, and removed the anomalous status of the Earth and Moon under geocentrism.

It's true, certainly, that until Kepler's work was published and accepted, there were good arguments on both sides and the matter was open to legitimate debate. But I wouldn't say the heliocentric arguments were "very weak".
Well I would, and do.

I am quite aware of Galileo's astronomical discoveries. Several of them (not just the two you mention) certainly weakened the case for the classical Aristotelian/Ptolemaic system, but the Tychonic system provided fairly ready (and, at the time, popular) rebuttals to any attempt to depict them as refuting geocentrism. Geocentrists, apart from having commonsense and millennia of scholarly tradition on their side, could point to two very salient facts as quite strong evidence of a stationary Earth: the lack of observable stellar parallax (even given Tycho’s unprecedentedly accurate data), and the sheer commonplace observation that the Earth does not seem to be moving: it feels still and solid under our feet, things do not fall to the west, etc. It is true that Galileo did a brilliant job of taking apart the latter argument in the Dialog (the very book that got him into trouble), but I was talking about a time when the Dialog had only just appeared and nobody had yet had time to assimilate it. In any case, these arguments do not show that the Earth is moving, only that the case for it being stationary is much weaker than had been thought. The main argument, in the Dialog, to the effect that the Earth actually is moving is the tides theory, which (quite apart from now being known to be wrong) was badly flawed in fairly obvious ways.

The evidence of Kepler’s Rudolphine Tables was of a quite different order. They quite unambiguously gave much better predictions than any other astronomical tables available before (whether based on Ptolemaic theory, or on Copernicus’ original version of heliocentrism), but there was also clearly no way you could derive Kepler’s numbers from a geocentric model. After the publication of the Rudolphine Tables (and of Galileo’s Dialog) it was irrational to cling to geocentrism (and it was quite rapidly dropped by the scientific/philosophical community); before the Rudolphine Tables, despite what Galileo had seen through his telescope, and even despite the arguments in the Dialog, I would say that for a rational, impartial observer, the preponderance of the evidence would have pointed quite strongly to geocentrism, and the majority of informed observers did indeed remain geocentrists.
#32
Old 01-12-2012, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Well I would, and do.
Well I wouldn't, and don't!

Yes, the Tychonic variant of geocentrism was harder to refute, in the 1620's, than the Ptolemaic. But even the Tychonic version had trouble explaining the annual variation in sunspot tracks. Longomontanus then moved to a modified Tychonic which allowed for Earthly rotation but not revolution (although this still required annual precession of the solar axis).

But with each departure from Ptolemaic geocentrism, some of the "advantages" were lost. Already in moving to the Tychonic the "millennia of scholarly tradition" to which you refer were weakened, and in allowing for rotation many of the arguments against terrestrial motion were lost. Even in the 1620's, there were compelling arguments both ways.

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#33
Old 03-08-2016, 03:16 AM
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Double Post.

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#34
Old 03-08-2016, 03:18 AM
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Bumping this thread, instead of making a fresh one. Did the Church have any opinion on heliocentric models? I always thought they were agnostics to the idea, and their issue with Galileo was his attitude rather than teachings.
#35
Old 03-08-2016, 04:31 AM
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Opposition to Galileo did not derive solely from the simple question of which of the Earth and Sun orbits the other (after all, we might now think of this as just picking an arbitrary frame of reference).

Instead the problem was the whole philosophic outlook of Galileo (and his predecessor Giordano Bruno who was burned for heresy).

In the new thinking of the Age of Science which Galileo introduced, the Earth was just one of many worlds, some of which might also have life. The heavens were not subject to the Will of God, but observed the same physical laws man could observe on Earth. It was the whole basis of science, and not just a small matter of orbits, that was anathema to the Church.
#36
Old 03-08-2016, 08:08 AM
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Read my earlier post. Back in the late 70's or early 80's, some fellow who was given access to the Vatican archives wrote an article about Galileo's trial.

Essentially, Galileo promoted the heliocentric model at about the time the church was in the midst of a dispute over heresy with some other group. Zuniga suggested that the church's interpretation of scripture was wrong, and promoted a numerological philosophy; buried in that was a Greek notion that the sun was the center and the earth went around it.

This wasn't a trial some "flat earth" type of medieval ignorance. If a noted scientist said that science also suggested that the earth went around the sun, then he gave the heresy a boost at just the wrong time. The pope just wanted Galileo to STFU.
#37
Old 03-08-2016, 09:05 AM
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For all I know, “showing the instruments of torture” may have been standard practice before trials of this type. It would make a certain amount of sense.

It was standard practice, part of the procedure, sort of. As a first attempt to get an accused to admit to whatever he was charged for without actually resorting to torture.

For instance, I visited the other day a tower in Rouen and it was mentioned that it was there that she was presented with the instruments of torture during her trial. And, like Galileo, she wasn't actually tortured.

Doesn't answer the question of what was actually asked from Galileo, though.
#38
Old 03-08-2016, 09:38 AM
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For instance, I visited the other day a tower in Rouen and it was mentioned that it was there that she was presented with the instruments of torture during her trial. And, like Galileo, she wasn't actually tortured.
You don't name the prospective torturee. I assume you're referring to
Jehanne d'Arc [ʒan daʁk] (Joan of Arc), La Pucelle d'Orléans.
#39
Old 03-08-2016, 09:56 AM
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For instance, I visited the other day a tower in Rouen and it was mentioned that it was there that she was presented with the instruments of torture during her trial.
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#40
Old 03-08-2016, 12:07 PM
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Absolutely nobody expects the ... French? ... inquisition!
#41
Old 03-08-2016, 01:41 PM
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Bumping this thread, instead of making a fresh one. Did the Church have any opinion on heliocentric models? I always thought they were agnostics to the idea, and their issue with Galileo was his attitude rather than teachings.
I agree, to an extent - the motivations for the trial were far more personal than scientific.

Galileo was a great scientist, but not so great as a politician. He was buds with the current Pope at the time of his trial (and the previous one), which gave him a lot of latitude. Unfortunately, he pushed it too far.

The main position of the Church was not anti-helocentrism, it was a sort of overriding conservatism. It simply did not want scholars stirring up controversy over anything, on the theory that controversy could only harm the Church as an institution. The Church was perfectly willing to allow Galileo to publish, but not is such a way as to stir up animosity - everything had to be raised as "hypotheticals", not stated as facts.

Problem was that Galileo had made lots of personal enemies, who had no hesitation about using the Church's bureaucracy as a way to stab him in the back - and the Church was, to a point, willing to go along with it, just to keep Galileo (and his enemies) quiet. However, because Galileo was buds with two popes in a row, he was able to avoid significant trouble. In effect, Galileo and his enemies checked each other - neither could force a resolution.

Until, that is, Galileo screwed up, and pissed off his bud the Pope.

What happened was this: Galileo assumed that he had been told he could publish his theories (as "hypotheticals", with a wink and a nod, to satisfy the Church's bureaucracy). The Pope, his friend, basically imposed on Galileo to publish his own (silly) theories in his book. Galileo complied - but in such a way as was guaranteed to piss the pope off. He published the theories in the form of a "Dialogue", and put the Pope's contributions into the mouth of the character "Simplicio" (meaning, "simpleton"), and made this guy the butt-monkey of ridicule.

Unfortunately for Galileo (in a way), this "Dialogue" became a best-seller, and the ridicule of the Pope widely known.

The Pope, understandably, was unhappy with being portrayed as a fool (and in a best-seller at that), all the more so as he had considered Galileo his personal friend, and so withdrew his protection - leaving Galileo exposed to the malice of his enemies, as expressed through the Church bureaucracy.
#42
Old 03-08-2016, 01:42 PM
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When you say that they were just trying to "rattle him", do you mean to say that they didn't tell him what he had to do to avoid torture? Are you saying that they just made sure that he was in the same room with the torture-instruments at some point, but that no verbal threat was made?

Do you have a cite to back this up? I can't even find a reputable cite (referring to original sources) saying that he was ever "shown the instruments of torture". The original sources I've found only say that he was to be "threatened with torture". This to me implies that there was a verbal threat of torture. What was the nature of this verbal threat? Or, if there was no verbal threat (just a display of instruments), what evidence documents this?
.
Apparently one source is:

http://amazon.com/Retrying-Galil.../dp/0520253876

based upon this article in Eclectic Magazine: Foreign Literature, : Victim of Torture? Brewster and Libri
https://books.google.com/books?id=AZ...0Libri&f=false
#43
Old 03-08-2016, 02:15 PM
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Bumping this thread, instead of making a fresh one. Did the Church have any opinion on heliocentric models? I always thought they were agnostics to the idea, and their issue with Galileo was his attitude rather than teachings.
Prior to March 1616 there was no official line, but the decree adding works to the Index is then pretty explicit: "This Holy Congregation has also learned about the spreading and acceptance by many of the false Pythagorean doctrine, altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture, that the earth moves and the sun is motionless ..."
Now an awful lot of ink has been spilt arguing the exact nuances of "altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture" in the early 17th century - so Bellarmine could privately concede that were unambiguous proof of heliocentrism to become available, then the position would have to shift, while clearly not thinking that was a likely eventuality - but that's now a pretty clear-cut statement of what should not be discussed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000
Read my earlier post. Back in the late 70's or early 80's, some fellow who was given access to the Vatican archives wrote an article about Galileo's trial.

Essentially, Galileo promoted the heliocentric model at about the time the church was in the midst of a dispute over heresy with some other group. Zuniga suggested that the church's interpretation of scripture was wrong, and promoted a numerological philosophy; buried in that was a Greek notion that the sun was the center and the earth went around it.

This wasn't a trial some "flat earth" type of medieval ignorance. If a noted scientist said that science also suggested that the earth went around the sun, then he gave the heresy a boost at just the wrong time. The pope just wanted Galileo to STFU.
It's very difficult to believe that Zuńiga was of much significance at all in the whole affair. By 1616 he'd been dead for nearly twenty years and had, of his own accord, explicitly abandoned the Copernican views expressed in the Commentary on Job in a later book. As far as I can see, the only reason his name and book got dragged in was because Carlo Conti had drawn Galileo's attention to the latter back in 1612, who'd then cited it, more or less in passing, in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina in 1615.
While I've only ever read the short section of the book that was at issue - the passage is translated as Appendix II by Richard Blackwell in Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible (Notre Dame, 1991) - I've never seen any suggestion that there were ever any significant complaints about the rest of the Commentary. Which is surely why the Index ruling was "suspended until corrected": it was essentially just the one passage that'd have to be cut. (Incidentally, unlike with De Revolutionibus, there's no evidence that the actual corrections were then ever issued; it's at least possible that nobody could be bothered.)
Foscarini - who was literally already writing from prison - was evidently regarded as far more dangerous, hence the complete suppression of his book.
#44
Old 03-08-2016, 02:49 PM
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Yes, but the scientific plurality at the time was that Heliocentric model was a load of tosh IIRC and Galileo could not come up with evidence to support the theory and what he did was easily disproved.....tides mainly.

My point was it that did they decide to go with the geocentric model (which we still use in certain applications for example in navigation and time keeping) because it was supported by the scienfictic community with scriptural considerations a convenient seal on the deal or was it actual belief in the truth of the argument.

The Church leadership of that time was quite intellectually inclined; hell Jesuits helped Galileo with his early research.
#45
Old 03-08-2016, 02:52 PM
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Sorry, I'm basing my comment on an article I read over 30 years ago and vaguely remember. But the author's point was precise - the church was not a bunch of earth-centric medieval flat-earth types. (Just as none of educated class in Columbus' time thought the earth was flat.) Not that Foscarini's book:

Quote:
But his attempt to publish in 1615 a "Letter of opinion over the Pythagorean and Copernican opinion concerning the mobility of the earth and the stability of the sun" was more contentious.
The key there was "Pythagoras". The whole numerology stuff that Zuniga argued about was also centered on Pythagoras. The heresy was fairly common apparently among the quasi-educated, involved mystical numerology, and also dragged in the book of Job and some Greeks' speculation that the universe was heliocentric. Zuniga's book was also mentioned with Galileo's as being banned. Basically, Galileo was probably as popular in the Roman hierarchy as an American arguing for worker's rights would be in the midst of anti-communist hysteria of the 50's. That he was right, and maybe made sense, didn't matter. They were fighting a heresy by stamping down any mention of anything that supported that point of view.

Yes, as an obnoxious twat, which apparently he was, Galileo made no friends by pushing the envelope in what constituted a reasoned argument "dialog" in his book.

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#46
Old 03-08-2016, 02:53 PM
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Yes, but the scientific plurality at the time was that Heliocentric model was a load of tosh IIRC and Galileo could not come up with evidence to support the theory and what he did was easily disproved.....tides mainly.

My point was it that did they decide to go with the geocentric model (which we still use in certain applications for example in navigation and time keeping) because it was supported by the scienfictic community with scriptural considerations a convenient seal on the deal or was it actual belief in the truth of the argument.

The Church leadership of that time was quite intellectually inclined; hell Jesuits helped Galileo with his early research.
My take on the matter is this: had Galileo been a more politic type of man, he'd have been able to publish no problem, working within the system. Sure, the fact that it was the Church made it hide-bound, but he was offered work-arounds.

It wasn't science either way that got him in trouble - it was his inability to resist mocking those he knew to be his intellectual inferiors. That's a problem, when one of them is the Pope, and he was on your side.
#47
Old 03-08-2016, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrrell McAllister
When you say that they were just trying to "rattle him", do you mean to say that they didn't tell him what he had to do to avoid torture? Are you saying that they just made sure that he was in the same room with the torture-instruments at some point, but that no verbal threat was made?

Do you have a cite to back this up? I can't even find a reputable cite (referring to original sources) saying that he was ever "shown the instruments of torture". The original sources I've found only say that he was to be "threatened with torture". This to me implies that there was a verbal threat of torture. What was the nature of this verbal threat? Or, if there was no verbal threat (just a display of instruments), what evidence documents this?
Apparently one source is:

http://amazon.com/Retrying-Galil.../dp/0520253876

based upon this article in Eclectic Magazine: Foreign Literature, : Victim of Torture? Brewster and Libri
https://books.google.com/books?id=AZ...0Libri&f=false
That's a very sloppy way to dig up a source.

Finocchiaro's Retrying Galileo is one of the major books on the Galileo Affair published in the last twenty years and is an absolutely essential read (and reference) for anyone interested in. That's a good start.

However, as Finocchario discusses in thorough detail in surveying the whole historiography, 19th century sources on Galileo and torture are often near useless, with Guglielmo Libri and Sir David Brewster being perhaps the worst examples. In the latter case, a distinguished physicist and prolific writer, Brewster's early writing on the history of astronomy is now near useless (and I say that as someone who's read a fair sample of it). Between received Protestant prejudices and a lack of access to any primary sources, Brewster trotted out lots of claims that were just bollocks.
In fairness, he came to realise this and in his later works, like his big biography of Newton, he tried to be more careful (though goodness knows there are still problems enough with that).

No historian of science now accepts most of Brewster's statements about the trial. He's certainly citable as an example of what people used to claim, but it's about a century and a half out-of-date to be citing him as any sort of reasonable source for what happened in 1633.

On the threat of torture, pretty much all we know specifically is the wording at the end of the deposition of 21st June (Finocchario's translation):

Quote:
A: I do not hold this opinion of Copernicus, and I have not held it after being ordered by injunction to abandon it. For the rest, here I am in your hands; do as you please.
And he was told to tell the truth, otherwise one would have recourse to torture.
A: I am here to obey, but I have not held this opinion after the determination was made, as I said.
The remainder is wrap-up and his signature.

A wording like "he was threatened with torture" seems fair enough, even if the act was only symbolic. However, exactly how serious the threat was in practice is what nobody can agree on, partly because that is the extent of the evidence in this specific case.
#48
Old 03-08-2016, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
The key there was "Pythagoras". The whole numerology stuff that Zuniga argued about was also centered on Pythagoras. The heresy was fairly common apparently among the quasi-educated, involved mystical numerology, and also dragged in the book of Job and some Greeks' speculation that the universe was heliocentric.
It certainly wasn't the case that Zuńiga "dragged in the book of Job": the whole 500-page-long book was a commentary on it, with one short section in it that discusses Copernicus because he thought it relevant to the particular passage he was therein commenting on. As I say, I've never seen any suggestion in either the primary sources (like Inchofer's "expert opinion" to the Holy Office in 1633, which, as far as Zuńiga is concerned, entirely concentrated on that single un-mystical and un-numerological section) or in the secondary literature that anyone at the time had any problems with the rest of it.

Quote:
Zuniga's book was also mentioned with Galileo's as being banned.
But, to reiterate, unlike Foscarini's which was, Zuńiga's book wasn't fully banned in 1616. Like Copernicus, it was only "suspended until corrected".
Furthermore, to be pedantic, the 1616 decree doesn't explicitly mention Galileo or any of his books at all. That doesn't mean they thought Zuńiga more important; there's the plausible possibility that they didn't want to needlessly embarrass Galileo's political patrons back in Florence by naming him. Zuńiga, being dead, was another matter.
#49
Old 03-14-2016, 01:20 PM
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So in short, he was convicted for contempt of court rather than heresy?
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