Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/157

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JUNE, 1892.


 

NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

XVI. THE RETREAT OF THEOLOGY IN THE GALILEO CASE.

By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL. D., L. H. D.,

EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.

ANY history of the victory of astronomical science over theology would be incomplete without some account of the retreat made by the Church from all its former positions in the Galileo case.

The retreat of the Protestant theologians was not difficult. A little skillful warping of Scripture, and a little skillful use of that time-honored phrase attributed to Cardinal Baronius, that the Bible is given to teach us, not how the heavens go, but how men go to heaven, sufficed.

But in the older Church it was far less easy. The retreat of the sacro-scientific army of Church apologists lasted through two centuries.

In spite of all that has been said by these apologists, there no longer remains the shadow of a doubt that the papal infallibility was committed fully and irrevocably against the double revolution of the earth. As the documents of Galileo's trial now published show, Paul V pushed on with all his might the condemnation of Galileo in 1616, and the condemnation in that same year of the works of Copernicus and all others teaching the motion of the earth around its own axis and around the sun. So, too, in the condemnation of Galileo in 1633, and in all the proceedings which led up to it and which followed it, Urban VIII was the central figure. Without his sanction no action could have been taken.

True, the Pope did not formally sign the degree against the Copernican theory then; but this came later: in 1664 Alexander VII prefixed to the Index containing the condemnations of the