Introduction by Baron Boddesy of the Gates of
"The trial against Galileo didn't change physical reality or threaten the survival of European civilization; the forces that Wilders is warning against could indeed destroy European civilization if left unchecked."
In 1633 the great Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was forced by the Inquisition to recant his heliocentric model of the solar system and affirm that the Earth was actually the motionless center of the Universe. Legend has it that immediately after his conviction, Galileo was heard to mutter "Eppur si muove" — "And yet it moves". The old man was unable to restrain himself entirely from speaking the simple truth.
Fjordman has written a brief essay outlining the parallels between Galileo Galilei and Geert Wilders, and examines the current trial's enormous significance for the Netherlands, the continent of Europe, and the whole of Western Civilization.
Geert Wilders as Galileo
Eppur Si Muove
Some observers have compared the ongoing trial against the prominent Dutch Islam-critic Geert Wilders in the
The Italian philosopher and occultist Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was a supporter of the Sun-centered model of Copernicus and championed the idea that the universe is filled with an infinite array of stars similar to our Sun and that life exists elsewhere in this vast universe. He was embroiled in a long trial with the Roman Inquisition and burned at the stake in 1600. His case remains controversial to this day. In author John Gribbin's view he was a religious heretic rather than a "martyr for science", and his execution, while certainly deplorable, happened mainly because of his unorthodox theological ideas, not his scientific ones:
But after 1600 Copernicanism was distinctly frowned upon by the Church, and the fact that Bruno was a Copernican and had been burned as a heretic was hardly encouraging for anyone, like Galileo, who lived in Italy in the early 1600s and was interested in how the world worked. If it hadn't been for Bruno, Copernicanism might never have received such adverse attention from the authorities, Galileo might not have been persecuted and scientific progress in
In 1624, Galileo was assured by Pope Urban VIII that he could write about the Copernican theory as long as he treated it as a mathematical proposition. However, in his 1632 book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems he clearly sided with Copernicanism by ridiculing the Aristotelians who clung to the Ptolemaic theory. Because of this he was called to
According to Robert Spencer in his book Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, "Jesuit astronomers were among Galileo's earliest and most enthusiastic supporters. When Galileo first published supporting evidence for the Copernican heliocentric theory, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini sent him a letter of congratulations. When Galileo visited
Here is what author James Evans says in his book The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy, page 424:
Copernicus's book did not produce an immediate upheaval. However, it certainly did offend the sensibilities of conservative religious thinkers, as well as professors of Aristotelian natural philosophy. With the crackdown on freethinking associated with the Catholic Counter-Reformation, any heterodox opinion became more dangerous than it had previously been. But it was not until 1616 that heliocentrism was officially declared erroneous. De revolutionibus was placed on the Index of books that were prohibited 'until corrected.' In principle, De revolutionibus could be circulated and read only if erroneous passages (asserting the mobility of the Earth) were removed. Four years later, a list of ten specific corrections was issued. Owen Gingerich has examined nearly all the surviving copies of the 1543 and 1566 editions of De revolutionibus, which total more than 500 books. The majority of copies in
The case against Galileo may have had a negative impact on Italian science, but its long-term impact on
Galileo faced the possibility of torture during his trial, which Wilders currently does not. It was also possible to be executed for heresy in the seventeenth century, as had happened to Bruno a few years before. Many people will say that this is not the case with Wilders today, but the truth is that he risks his life every single day by saying what he is saying, and the security at the Dutch trial is not good. The trial itself exposes him to an elevated risk of assassination, in a country where several critics of Islam have been assassinated. In my view, the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was executed as a Multicultural heretic. The political elites killed him by whipping up hatred against him, even if they didn't physically pull the trigger.
Another major difference is that as bad as the case against Galileo was, he was at least allowed to talk about the Copernican hypothesis as long as he presented it as a mathematical hypothesis only. Wilders isn't even allowed to say, hypothetically speaking, that Islam might be an unusually violent religion, which arguably means that there is even less freedom of speech under the Multicultural Inquisition in 2010 than there was under the Roman one in 1633. Also, the stakes are far greater now than they were back then. The trial against Galileo didn't change physical reality or threaten the survival of European civilization; the forces that Wilders is warning against could indeed destroy European civilization if left unchecked.
Galileo was found guilty of heresy and remained under house arrest for the remainder of his life, but he nevertheless managed to publish a masterpiece in 1638, the Discourse on Two New Sciences, of a history of physics in which he presented the laws of accelerated motion and falling bodies. Symptomatically, it was smuggled out of
Unfortunately, I fear that the Roman Catholic Church is currently too dhimmified to do such a thing, but it would undoubtedly have a tremendous symbolic value if the Church dared where the secular and so-called liberal authorities of the
 http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Peace-Christianity-Islam-Isnt/ dp/1596985151/
Fjordman is a Norway-based writer. He is a noted blogger who writes analytic and original essays on Islam, Scandinavian affairs and global politics. He is a frequent contributer to
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