Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs: AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
News & Events: Public LectureGalileo and the Church: The myth and the reality
13 November 2003
The "Galileo Affair" – the events surrounding and including Galileo’s trial, recantation and house arrest - is one of the powerful icons of western culture that shape not only the image of science, but also how it is viewed in relation to religion. Typically the affair has been depicted as the repression of scientific inquiry by dogmatic religious authority. In its legendary form it has helped to shape the notion of science and religion as opposing forces in culture and society. However, a growing body of scholarship on the actual historical events and participants reveals a complex set of interactions, value commitments, and judgments that are not easily characterized as scientific truth versus religious authoritarianism.
Dr. Fantoli will review the findings of current Galilean scholarship. In addition, he will provide an assessment of the conclusions reached in 1992 by a Commission appointed by Pope John Paul II to "coordinate the research of theologians, scientists and historians which would help to further clarify the events which occurred between Galileo and the Church and, more generally, the Ptolemaic - Copernican controversy of the 16th and 17th centuries in which the Galileo affair is situated.”
This DoSER Lecture is being held in conjunction with the performance of Bertolt Brecht's Life of Galileo at DC's Studio Theatre. In addition to the play itself, DoSER has worked with the Theatre to organize several seminars addressing the impact of the "Galileo affair" on westrern culture in the light of the actual history, the relation of Galileo to the interaction of science and religion in the west, and issues of the control of scientific knowledge. There will also be a seminar on the creation of the Galileo character in the play. These seminars will take place on November 8 and 9.
- Annibale Fantoli, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor Department of Philosophy, University of Victoria
- J. Scott Hauger, PhD, Director, Science & Engineering Policy and Practice Group, American Association for the Advancement of Science