Posted: Mar 17, 2018 2:35 pm
by Matthew Shute
Chris Putnam wrote:Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Galileo was forced to recant his discovery or be executed for heresy. Apparently he recanted.

Who would ever take such a recantation seriously, except a complete zealot or those making the brutish threats in question?

In his case he knew he had the truth, but clearly did not see this as something to die for.

I wonder whether Augustine of Hippo would disapprove. Didn't he say that the truth is like a lion? You don't need to defend it, just let it loose and it'll fight for itself. I think that's naive in many cases, but it worked out pretty well here. Nobody today takes Galileo's recantation as being sincere or meaningful, whilst pretty much everyone* now acknowledges that the Church was attempting in vain to enforce demonstrable errors through the means of thuggish threats and the willingness to resort to grisly slayings. *As you say, including the Roman Catholic Church itself.