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Essay about Galileo Galilei: The Trial Of Galileo

Galileo was born on Feb 15, 1564 in Pisa (Machamer). He was born when there was no such thing as ‘science’, yet by the time he died science was well on its way to becoming a discipline and its concepts and method a whole philosophical systems (Machamer). Galileo started to study for the priesthood, but left and enrolled for a medical degree (Machamer). He never completed this degree but instead studied mathematics notably with Ostilio Ricci, the mathematician of the Tuscan court (Machamer). Galileo was appointed to the chair of mathematics in Pisa with the help of Clavius and del Monte (Machamer).

In 1592 he was appointed, at a much larger salary, to the position of mathematician at the University of Padua (Machamer). It was during his Paduan period that Galileo worked out much of his mechanics and began his work with the telescope (Machamer). In 1610 he published The Starry Messenger, and soon after accepted a position as Mathematician and Philosopher to the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Machamer). In 1613 – 1614 Galileo entered into discussions of Copernicanism through his student Benedetto Castelli, and wrote a Letter to Castelli (Machamer). In 1616 he transformed this into the Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (Machamer).

In February 1616, the Sacred Congregation of the Index condemned Copernicus’s book on the Revolution of the Heavenly Orbs, pending correction (Machamer). Galileo then was called to an audience with Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and advised not to teach or defend Copernican theory (Machamer). In the year 1633, Galileo, would be on trial for teaching and defending the Copernican doctrine (Machamer). The Copernican doctrine was a theory named after a Catholic priest named Nicholas Copernicus who added on to the ancient Greeks and Romans astronomers that stated the Sun is at the center of the universe and the earth moves (Machamer, Lockwood).

Galileo’s Trial would start soon after he published Dialogues on the Two Chief World Systems, he would be ordered to go to Rome and would be examined by the Holy office of the inquisition (Machamer). During the trial, the Catholic Church pointed out that Galileo should explain himself and the publication of his book would be suspended (Lockwood). The trial of Galileo in 1633 would be an anti-Catholic bludgeon aimed at the Catholic Church (Lockwood). Galileo would be found guilty of supporting Copernican doctrine (Lockwood).

The purpose of Galileo’s trial were a way to show that science and the Bible cannot stand in contradiction (Lockwood) Specific points made by the Catholic Church during the trial of Galileo were that it was bad science and was most likely heresy to teach that the sun was the center of the universe and that the earth is not at the center of the universe and that it moves (Lockwood). The Catholic Church was one of the most powerful and influential deciders in Galileo’s day. The Catholic Church strongly supported the theory of a geocentric universe, or the earth was the center of the universe (Galileo Galilei).

While being accused in 1616 of heresy, Galileo would be cleared of charges if he would no longer state publicly of his belief that the sun was the center of the universe (Galileo Galilei). Galileo did not listen to the Catholic Church and would go on to publish his book, which stated that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus was indeed correct. (Galileo Galilei). The main specific points made by Galileo during his trial was his letter from Cardinal Bellarmine, and the claim that the Dialogue did not support the Copernican theory (Lockwood).

Galileo was not aware of the more restrictive notice in his file and was likely that one of his enemies had placed it there (Lockwood). Galileo was being misled into believing in his understanding that he could discuss the Copernican theory as a hypothesis or that he had purposely misled the pope (Lockwood). Galileo second defense was the dialogue was clearly a presentation and defense of the Copernican hypothesis as truth (Lockwood). Galileo would confess that ambition and poor writing might have conveyed and intent he did not mean and promised that he would make any correction to the book that was deemed necessary (Lockwood).

Seven of the ten tribunal cardinals would fine Galileo “vehemently suspected of heresy” in teaching that the Earth moves and is the center of the universe (Lockwood). He was found guilty in persisting to teaching when he had formally been warned not to do so in 1616 (Lockwood). During Galileo’s trail the make-up of the “hearing body” would be made of two officials, and a secretary (Lockwood). Galileo’s trial did not take place in front of a “hearing body” of 10 cardinals as it is often pictured (Lockwood).

Galileo would have to travel all the way to Rome to explain his elf(Lockwood). Galileo was in ill health and was be sixty-six years old, he did not arrive in Rome until February 1633 (Machamer). Galileo would be called a total of four times for a hearing, the last time would be on June 21, 1633 (Machamer). Galileo would be taken to the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and would be ordered to kneel while his sentence was read (Machamer). It would be decided by the “hearing body” that he was a suspect of heresy (Machamer). He would have to recite and sing a formal abjuration (Machamer).

The outcome of the trial of Galileo was that he would be charged by the Catholic Church with teaching and defending the Copernican doctrine that holds that the sun is the center of the universe and that the earth moves (Machamer). Galileo would not be imprisoned, but would be sentenced to house arrest (Machamer). In 1633, Galileo would be allowed to retire to his villa in Arcetri, outside of Florence. During this time he would finish his last book, Discourses on the Two New Sciences, which would be published in 1638, by Louis Elzivier (Galileo Galilei).

The book did not mention Copernicanism at all, and Galileo professed amazement at how it could have been published (Machamer). The summary of the judgment of the trial of Galileo was that the Church most likely acted within its authority (Machamer). Due poor health and his age, Galileo would die on January 8, 1642. (Galileo Galilei). The main purpose of this Galileo’s trial was a way to show an anti-Catholic bludgeon aimed at the Church and prove that show that science and the Bible cannot stand in contradiction (Lockwood).

In conclusion, Galileo’s trial for heresy was mostly due to the increase in pressure on the Catholic Church caused by the heat buildup from the protestant church’s split away ninety years ago (The Reformation and Counter Reformation). Another factor would be that Galileo treated Copernicanism as a theory than as opposed a hypothesis. (Machamer) We can learn from Galileo that even with science and religion colliding, the truth always prevails (Lockwood). Galileo would become one of the most famous astronomers because of proving that Copernican doctrine was correct and that geocentric was incorrect(Lockwood).

Galileo would go on to be considered the father of modern science (Machamer). The trial of Galileo is most often portrayed as a scientist arguing the supremacy of reason and science over faith. (Machamer). Galileo and the tribunal judges shared the view that science and the bible should not stand in contradiction. (Machamer). While Galileo would continue to conduct important scientific studies and publish books on those studies the fact remains that his condemnation was unjust.

Galileo would go on resurrected and canonized as a martyr (Machamer). Concluding the trial, we can learn that religion and science cannot find reason with each other and in this case science proved that the Catholic beliefs were in fact incorrect and that just because the bible states the earth is the center of the universe, we should found other evidence then just the bible to conclude and prove a theory correct. Especially when the outcome can be fatal with how Galileo could have been burned to the stake for believing in his theory (Machamer).

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