1633 Trial of Galileo

1633 Trial of Galileo

After being condemned by the Inquisition for proving that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around, Galileo was forced to retreat to escape the stake. It will not be rehabilitated by the church until 350 years later. With Sophie Roux, the philosopher.


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Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei using a telescope, circa 1620. (Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“The idea of ​​the Earth revolving around the sun is a stupid, absurd, and philosophical heresy, because it contradicts the doctrine of the Holy Church.”Cardinal Bellarmine confirmed in Galilee in 1616. On April 12, 1633, in one of the rooms of the convent of Santa Maria in Rome, an old man wearing a penitent’s shirt appeared before these judges. He was accused of heresy after writing that the earth revolves around the sun, so he knew what he was risking. A few years earlier, because he said the same thing, Copernicus’ books were blacklisted by the Inquisition, and the Dominican Giordano Bruno was burned alive. They challenged a belief held for 2,000 years, since Aristotle, Ptolemy and later the Roman Church asserted that the Sun revolves around the Earth and is fixed at the center of the universe, because he proved and wrote against it like Galileo before his judges. Patrice Gillint returns to this trial accompanied by Sophie Roux, professor of history and philosophy of science at the École Normale Supérieure and author of numerous publications on Galileo in several scientific journals.

Patrice Gillint: Galileo was then at the center of one of the most famous conflicts between religion and science, when he proved, 400 years ago, that the Earth revolves around the sun, something that is obvious to us today, but which, in Galileo’s view, was a heresy. For more than 2,000 years, it was believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth and was fixed at the center of the universe. This is called geocentrism.

Sophie Rowe: The belief in antiquity that the Earth is the center of the universe, that the stars are fixed on a great sphere defining the entire universe, and that the planets and the sun move between the two, is not delusion or delusion. In fact, that’s what everyone thinks, at least the most educated, since they’ve created a geometric model that explains a certain number of observations.

Reality is not necessarily the truth. When there is a contradiction between science and the Bible, science is wrong. If you have evidence that the Earth revolves around the Sun, you should avoid saying so. So, is this really what Galileo recommended?

This is exactly what we recommended. We were talking about Copernicus, which explains why there were no protests from the church between the publication of Copernicus and 1615, which is that this work of Copernicus was preceded by a preface not written by Copernicus but written by him. Someone close to Copernicus, emphasized that heliocentrism was just a hypothesis, and therefore a kind of mathematical model that should not be taken seriously, otherwise calculations should be made. In fact, this is the position we call utilitarianism in contemporary philosophy of science that Bellarmine recommended to Galileo in 1616. This means that he was not forbidden to talk about heliocentrism, but they told him: “You should present this as a mathematical hypothesis only to do the calculations.”. This is something that Galileo rejects because he believes he has the truth.

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With “Les infox de l’Histoire”, the third season of the Descartes Foundation podcast in partnership with franceinfo, travels through the ages at the heart of the main episodes of disinformation. Patrice Guillant and his guests expose and analyze the fake news that has made headlines from ancient times to the present day. Conspiracy, misinformation, rumours, slander, media hype… a third season of eight episodes to decode the lies of history.

Producer: Patrice Gillint
Director: Gilles Blanchard
Documentation/production officer: Juliette Marcello
Technician: Lucas Derodi

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