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Pope not welcome.
Posted: 18 January 2008 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dougsmith - 18 January 2008 08:41 AM

Yes, Sagan was a decent scientist but one of the greatest science popularizers who ever lived.

I think the point was made by Lawrence Krauss, maybe in the POI interview with DJ Grothe, maybe on another podcast, that scientists today increasingly must fill both roles, doing science and communicating it, and Sagan opened up this model.  It is now much easier for scientists to follow in his footsteps and be considered serious scientists while writing for popular or lay audiences.

Jackson

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Posted: 18 January 2008 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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inthegobi - 18 January 2008 06:09 AM

I’ll not attempt to persuade the forum about the Pope’s words from years ago; just recall that Galileo was a catholic, and his books were being published at the church’s expense.
....
Have a good day all. Be wary of all generalizations.

kirk

Hey, give it your best shot.  Share the perspective.  It sounds like some people think there is persuasive evidence that it was okay for the Church to “defend itself” against Galileo—

Galileo should have known he was dealing with crazy people who would defend themselves against challenges to Authority.  Kind of blame-the-victim logic to me. 

Thanks for the links you’ve pointed out so far.

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Posted: 19 January 2008 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Jackson - 18 January 2008 05:56 PM

It sounds like some people think there is persuasive evidence that it was okay for the Church to “defend itself” against Galileo—

Galileo should have known he was dealing with crazy people who would defend themselves against challenges to Authority.  Kind of blame-the-victim logic to me.

You’re welcome about the links. I think the Grant Paris Lecture is the best place to start to get a summary of the problems that in exercised the minds of the real experts in astronomy.

You put it oddly: If you really mean to say that there’s people out there who think the Church was defending itself against some perceived hostile act on Galileo’s part, I don’t know who those people are, and I couldn’t defend them. The Church wasn’t defending itself against Galileo, they prosecuted Galileo in an ecclesiastical court (not a civil court). Galileo was cleared (officially or officiously, depending on your view) in the ‘80’s, and Ratzinger was right there, so it’s doubtful he was saying it’s *still* right to proceed against Galileo for heresy, the most serious charge. The heresy charge itself was basically wilfulness and going against Scripture.

The less serious charge is what supported the ‘heresy’ - he didn’t have enough support to go against the Bible’s implication that the earth stood still. The trouble isn’t exactly about the position of the earth in the universe, no matter what you’ve heard - it’s about its movement - its orbit, rotation and precession. Where enemies like Bellarmine ‘got’ him was that he was asserting Copernican theory without sufficient evidence - he was claiming for a mere ‘hypothesis’ that it was a well-supported ‘theory’.

Galileo’s *Dialogues* don’t provide that evidence *for* copernican theory. It demolishes the logic-chopping of the worse sort of peripatetic physicists, it deals with any large objections to a moving earth, and it attacks the weak-points of the Ptolemaic arrangement - but none of that is itself evidence that the earth moves, just that it’s neither impossible nor absurd. Those are important things to accomplish, but not enough for evidence that it does move.

The Fourth Day of the dialogues is the sticking-point. It’s his theory of the tides, a hot topic. Galileo explained them as the oceans sloshing around in their basin as the earth moves. His was the only working explanation so far. (No-one was listening to Kepler’s speculations it was the influence of the Moon. There’s deep reasons why not, that have little to do w/ the Church.) Yet, G’s theory of the tides poorly matched the data - it didn’t reproduce the data commode, accurately, enough. So the hypothesis wasn’t verisimile, truth-like, or probabile, probable, and so Galileo couldn’t claim that the Earth had to move. He couldn’t prove that he was right and the Bible wrong.

That’s the scientific nub of the problem. Of course there’s lots else that makes the incident *famous*.

Only some church officials (not ‘fathers’) wanted G’s head on a plate, so to speak. One high Vatican official at the time uttered the famous phrase ‘The Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.’ That’s roughly Stephen Jay Gould’s ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ view. Christopher Clavius, my own special interest, has pretty much zero to say on the supposed conflict of religion and science, and he was a professional theologian, Jesuit and one of the astronomers entrusted to reform the calendar.

If that professor with the book mentioned earlier wants to confer cultural martyrdom on Galileo, I cannot stop her. But she sounds extreme, if the title of her book is any indication. (‘Thus Spake Galileo’ is a clear parallel to ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’.) I’m not surprised Benedict was uninterested in turning his polite and probably not terribly interesting speech to open a school-year into a public mugging. In my humble opinion, Benedict should have laughed off the incident years ago as just one of those things, and if that’s the worst they can find in his very public and decades-long work, they only show a distasteful pettiness.

Does that help sort through some of the information you’ve been reading, and my own opinions?

sincerely,

kirk.

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Posted: 19 January 2008 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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BTW:

Doug made a point about church officials giving bad reasons to dismiss Galileo’s observations.


First, not all officials; and not most of them either. After all, most church officials had nothing to do with the incident. So we ought to just name names rather than tie a rope around them all and condemn the lot of them.

Further, Galileo wasn’t prosecuted for his observations. After all, none of his observation could themselves be evidence that the earth moves, only that the center of the Universe isn’t the center for all heavenly bodies to move around - that in itself wasn’t a problem. His observational discoveries did upset the old physics - sunspots, the appearances proving that Venus goes around the Sun, the moons of Jupiter - but that wasn’t a big issue of conflict with the Church itself. The mechanism of heavenly motion is more serious scientifically, but not a problem of church and science.

Thirdly, all of Galileo’s observations but one were unanimously certified by a group of physicists and astronomers (including Clavius, then in his last months) in a note to Bellarmine (he told them to just scribble it on his letter and return it.) Clavius himself wouldn’t endorse the roughness of the Moon, but the rest of the younger members did. We know that the Roman College, the faculty who advised Bellarmine, feasted Galileo for a solid week in 1612 on just these observations. Galileo wrote in a letter that he would have easily changed ‘Father Clavius’ mind if he wasn’t already half-retired and in declining health, and that seems right; near the end of his life, just months after the big festival, Clavius remarked that astronomers woudl just have to look for another way to explain the appearances.

So the observations are fascinating, but not relevant to the conflict between Galileo and the Church except very indirectly, because most of his opponents were catholic - but so were most of Galileo’s supporters.

Kirk

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Posted: 19 January 2008 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Sorry to jump back to the original topic of this thread, but I thought that I should throw in my two cents about free speech here.

Joseph Ratzinger is clearly a mean and intolerant man, and his views are both abhorrent and epidemically harmful to the world.  After all, he is a former Hitler youth.  But it is a shame that academics demanded that his visit to the university be called off.  Ratzinger should not be given an academic podium as a scholar, but he is a major public figure and his rights to think and say what he thinks should not be stifled.

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Posted: 19 January 2008 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 19 January 2008 07:53 PM

After all, he is a former Hitler youth.

Hmm, I don’t think this is a fair play, erasmus. I am a former communist: I was a kid and it wasn’t my choice. Ratzinger is probably as much of a “Nazi” as I am of a communist.

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Posted: 19 January 2008 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 19 January 2008 07:53 PM

Sorry to jump back to the original topic of this thread, but I thought that I should throw in my two cents about free speech here.

Joseph Ratzinger is clearly a mean and intolerant man, and his views are both abhorrent and epidemically harmful to the world.  After all, he is a former Hitler youth. . . . Ratzinger should not be given an academic podium as a scholar, but he is a major public figure and his rights to think and say what he thinks should not be stifled.

Agreed on the need to speak one’s mind.

Now: Are you conceding per the recent discussion that on particular point about Galileo Benedict wasn’t crazy to say what he said? That the Church had some right to police its own members, and that Galileo had some minimal duties to his Church and the less intelligent members of it - since they’re supposed to be his brothers, and as a catholic Galieo has some minimal responsibility to both his hierarchy and his spiritual brothers as well as the truth as he saw it? Of course you’re not sympathetic to *that*, but then you have no business telling a church how to deal with its own. Experts don’t see it as black and white as you do. Take the hint.

Now: Why shouldn’t Benedict be given an ‘academic podium as a scholar’? I’m not even sure what you mean - he oughtn’t to teach any classes? And isn’t a former Nazi youth better described as well, not a Nazi and certainly not a youth?

Perhaps you have evidence he harbors even today a secret desire to revive National Socialism. That he’s a closet racist. Come now, i’m being a little mean to point this out - mean but not unfair. Generally, how is his putative meanness and intolerance so clear to you, but not *so* clear to the people who actually read his works? He does have critics, but most of them don’t call him ‘mean’.

Btw, when speaking of his philosophical and pre-Papal theological works he’s definitely ‘Ratzinger’, but as a person his name is now Benedict; he remains ‘Joseph’ to his friends and family, naturally. So when you’re referring to the man himself nowadays, you ought to use ‘Benedict’; ditto when quoting what he now says or writes. It’s the same for John Paul II; he wrote a lot of philosophical works before he became Pope, and all of that is discussed outside of church circles as the works of professor/bishop Karol Wojtyla. But whatever he wrote and said as Pope is the work of John Paul. You’re free to ignore that and continue to use ‘Ratzinger’ but it’s not ‘standard’.

Kirk

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Posted: 19 January 2008 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Perhaps you are right George.  I can’t blame Ratzinger for the situations he was forced into during his youth.  But then again, he is the moral authority and leader of the world’s largest religious denomination, with more influence than possibly anyone on moral issues.  Not an appropriate choice in my opinion.

How do you equate communism with fascism?

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Posted: 19 January 2008 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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inthegobi - 19 January 2008 08:28 PM

Now: Are you conceding per the recent discussion that on particular point about Galileo Benedict wasn’t crazy to say what he said?

No I am not.  Ratzinger is an absolute nut.  He simply has a right to speak freely.  That is all.  And we all have an equal right to speak freely against him.

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Posted: 19 January 2008 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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inthegobi - 19 January 2008 07:00 PM

 

Does that help sort through some of the information you’ve been reading, and my own opinions?

sincerely,

kirk.

Thanks - this is a lot to chew on!

Jackson…

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Posted: 20 January 2008 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 19 January 2008 08:30 PM

Perhaps you are right George.  I can’t blame Ratzinger for the situations he was forced into during his youth.  But then again, he is the moral authority and leader of the world’s largest religious denomination, with more influence than possibly anyone on moral issues.  Not an appropriate choice in my opinion.

How do you equate communism with fascism?

Communism, fascism, religion, or whatever else. It doesn’t matter. Many people on these forums spent their childhood in churches (perhaps yourself included); then they grow up and they know better. I could blame Ratzinger for being a pope, but never for his participation in Hitlerjugend as a teenager. Didn’t even DJ in his past used to go knocking on the doors to save people’s souls?  smile

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Posted: 20 January 2008 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Well George, I don’t condemn you or DJ or the Joey Ratzinger (or myself) for the “sins” of our pasts.  Nobody’s perfect.  There is an enormous difference, however, in the fact that neither you nor DJ nor I pretend to be know a “god’s” wishes or possess “spiritual” authorities over others.

Joey spends a great deal of his time dishing out moral advice and charging hateful moral judgments upon others with immense authoritarian zeal.  He is represented by his cult as a moral exemplar and a cultural symbol of goodness.  I am not suggesting that the man’s general career options as a mechanic or a plumber or an artisan ought to be limited, but I am disgusted that such an “unclean” man is regarded as the closest person there is to god.  The catholic church could have chosen many individuals for the role of"pope.”  They chose a former member of the Hitler youth.  This was a repulsive choice.  And this narrow minded hypocrite of a man is a significant cause for misery and pain for a great deal of people.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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inthegobi - 19 January 2008 07:00 PM

You put it oddly: If you really mean to say that there’s people out there who think the Church was defending itself against some perceived hostile act on Galileo’s part, I don’t know who those people are, and I couldn’t defend them.
The Church wasn’t defending itself against Galileo, they prosecuted Galileo in an ecclesiastical court (not a civil court). Galileo was cleared (officially or officiously, depending on your view) in the ‘80’s, and Ratzinger was right there, so it’s doubtful he was saying it’s *still* right to proceed against Galileo for heresy, the most serious charge. The heresy charge itself was basically wilfulness and going against Scripture.

sincerely,

kirk.

You are asking about the word “defend”

What was the purpose of prosecuting Galileo?  I assume his so-called heresy was thought to pose a threat. Of course, the whole thing might have just been motivated by personal motives of the individuals involved.

For example,

http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/A_003_Galileo.html

A just condemnation recognized by many

The Holy Inquisition, therefore, acted correctly in condemning Galileo. That action was consistent with its mission of guarding the integrity of the Catholic Faith. It was justly defending the Catholic Theology and Philosophy attacked by Galileo Galilei.

In a speech delivered in Parma, Italy, March 15, 1990, even Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger endorsed the opinion of philosopher P. Feyerabend against Galileo. Ratzinger stated:
“At the time of Galileo the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The process against Galileo was reasonable and just” (17).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Galileo_before_the_Holy_Office.jpg

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Posted: 20 January 2008 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 20 January 2008 09:04 AM

The catholic church could have chosen many individuals for the role of"pope.”  They chose a former member of the Hitler youth.  This was a repulsive choice.

How can you call yourself a humanist, erasmus, if you were baptized (I assume) as a child? Do you see how ludicrous this sounds? If Doug decided to promote you to a moderator, could I call it a “repulsive choice” since you once were a Christian?

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Posted: 20 January 2008 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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George,

I make no claim to leadership.  I only say what I think.  And my jump into this thread was not initially intended as a bashing of Joe Ratzinger.  I had actually initially chimed in to support Joe Ratziger’s right to free speech.

As for his being a pope… a pope is an “authoritarian” thing in the sense that when he says something it is so because he says so, and not because he advocates it with reasons.  He makes decisions about what is morally right and wrong that are expected to be followed, without question and because he is the authority.  Presumably, a moderator for a forum such as this one operates “authoritatively” in ways that facilitate free expression.  For example, there are clearly posted rules of etiquette for this forum which strike me as good ones.  And I think that the moderators in general, including yourself, do a good job of enforcing them.  However, these sorts of rules do not resemble, in any sense that I can deduce, a relationship with a vatican type decree.  It is not a meaningful comparison to equate the role of a moderator for a forum such as this one with the role of a pope.

Moderators aside, you may have been raised a communist (which while I am not a communist I don’t see as nearly such a bad thing) and now regret it.  Heck, you could have been a Hitler Youth FWIW.  But there would be nothing hypocritical about having such a past and promoting different values today.  There is something very hypocritical, and entirely different, about a pope with such a background.

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