Talk:Galileo Galilei/Archive 2

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You have yet to answer the charge that White is generally considered to be a nutcase.

No, not at all. No evidence has been presented for that, so why should I even consider answering such a plump ad hominem attack?

Gee, I dunno, Eloquence (or plain ol' Erik) ...more to the point, why should any of us expect someone egotistical enough to give himself such a nom de plume. who thinks he should be paid for his contributions, and who states at the outset that he has an ax to grind, to even bother? There has been evidence given -- Michael points out that, among historians of the period, White's theories are discredited. Moreover, one of the duties of anyone who wants to be considered a good historian is ethically obliged to consider the events and actions of the people he studies in the context of the period in which the occurred. You don't do this. White didn't, either. Finally, we rely on common sense, when we don't have primary sources to tell us something. Everything Axel has said makes sense; his conclusions are logical and fit in with what we know about peole in general. All you have is a pathetic dependence on a discredited historian. You should pay us.

So is there an actual argument you are trying to make here? I'm not seeing anything of the sort. Nor do I see any evidence against White in general, or the quote in particular. By the way, I'm completely open to alternative explanations of the historical incidents in question, as long as they are listed as such, or even to replacing particular statements, as long as good reasons are cited. So far it looks like you don't like the facts, nor do you want to do any work. Of course, if you pay me, I'll dig into the revisionist claims myself. :-) -- Eloquence

Sorry -- what point didn't you get?

  1. You are posing as an historian (basically, since you are commenting on and writing on an historical topic), yet you insist on relying upon the work of someone who has been discredited by the academic community. Your refusal to accept that this is true because there is no "proof" (what do you want? You have first-hand knowledge from members of his peer group). This is just troll-like behavior.
  2. You refuse to approach this from an NPOV, which is non-wikipedia behavior. It's also bad history. You justify this by saying that organized religion is a destructive force -- something that can be argued successfully in either direction, depending on the facts one pick and chooses. However, that isn't the subject of the article, nor a justification for your approach.
  3. since what you have written is not good history, nor NPOV, AND since you don't seem to have any respect for the fact that there are others out here who actually might have a clue and aren't just dilletantes, the fact that you think you should be paid is pretty silly.

Clearer?


yet you insist on relying upon the work of someone who has been discredited by the academic community. Your refusal to accept that this is true because there is no "proof"

Exactly. A simple statement by someone else is not enough. I do not care about credentials, only about facts and logic. Your use of troll is merely a killer phrase to avoid argument.

You refuse to approach this from an NPOV

Absolutely not. I want the article to present all reasonable sides of the debate. As I said, feel free to add to the article if you think something is missing. -- Eloquence

E- as your entire contribution to this article is based on your a priori non-NPOV belief that orgainized religion is a destructive force, and because you have chosen largely to base your contributions on the work of one historian who has been discredited in the eyes of his peers (to a great extent because he did not write from a NPOV, and picked and chose facts to support his cause, rather than a greater truth), you may have to just lump it when this is re-written in a NPOV way.

"based on your a priori"

Incorrect, my beliefs are based on facts (as I perceive them) and logic (applied to these facts).

'a priori' to your contribution, at least, and, as far as I can tell, to your doing any research -- note that I do not disagree with your perceptions nor your beliefs. However, to remain neutral, you must not allow your perceptions (colored by your a priori belief that organized religion is destructive) to exclude evidence with which you disagree.

"non-NPOV belief"

How about some thinking before coming up with oxymorons like that? Or is this just your feeble attempt at playing with a killer phrase in order to evade discourse?

For someone so "eloquent", you are not living up to your nom de plume -- in fact, you're just being rude. Non-NPOV is not an oxymoron, either -- it is a perfectly valid expression for the absence of a neutral point of view. That is, in the 'pedia, we strive for neutrality. If something does not bear up under the NPOV test, it is not- or non-NPOV. Not feeble, just logical. Hardly a killer phrase

"one historian who has been discredited"

No evidence whatsoever has been cited to support this allegation. Sorry...what kind of evidence are you looking for? I could point out that a disproportionate amount of the sites about White's works that come up on a Google search have an anti-religious or anti-Christian axe to grind. Not proof that he is discredited, but interesting that very few current scholars of the History of Science choose to cite him. Michael Tinkler offered the reaction of friends in the academic community. You may not like what he said, but other wikipedians would certainly say that Mr. Tinkler has always presented well-researched and defended arguments on the site, and has always acted in an ethical manner.

Having taken the time to read much of White's "Warfare" on the web, I can assure you that White did not consider his evidence in the context of the time, nor did he attempt to approach his subject with any neutrality. Such a work would not meet the requirements set for today's historians. Today, we are actually expected to discuss issues in depth, citing our sources and arguments to the contrary. White's work is little but a selection of quotations and citations chosen purely to suit his thesis. Moreover, he judges all of his subjects by the same measuring stick, no matter the time or location. You have every right to disagree personally, but when contributing to what is supposed to be an encyclopedia with (we hope) high standards, one might expect that those standards also matter to you.

"you may have to just lump it"

Try again, Sherlock. Take your lame attempts at historical revisionism somewhere where they will be appreciated.

Actually, I'm one of the least revisionist historians around. I study dead white people, mostly. I just happen to enjoy looking at what we know about actual circumstances (for example, the ones that Axel mentioned regarding Galileo's house arrest) than relying on historians who actually call Bishop Usher a "great mind". and you may not care about credentials, but actually Walking the Walk is advantage some of have over people who just barely fake the talk.


Please provide a specific reference for the following statement. Otherwise it should be regarded as a speculation based on usual practice rather than a documented fact. The tone of Sobel's book makes Galileo's interaction with the church seem much less confrontational and not nearly so dangerous. --Ed Poor

Threatening him with torture, imprisonment and death on the stake, the show trial forced Galileo to "abjure, curse and detest" his work.

Ed, the statement you refer to (and indeed the entire section regarding Galileo and the Church) provides a seriously distorted view of the events. A complete rewrite is in order. -HWR


Thomas Möller --

Please do not remove perfectly valid statements just because you happen to disagree. You are not an expert in history. You do have an axe to grind. NPOV requires that other points of view be represented. I allowed this article to remain VERY unbalanced by leaving your ridiculously long quote from White in the body of the article. Whether or not you like it, many contemporary historians do not agree with White. This so-called revisionism (and it isn't, you know, just an advance in scholarship -- saying the Holocause never happened is revisionist) is simply the result of an effort by the last two generations of historians to write without allowing their personal biases to show. Perhaps you should try reading the most recent work by Larry Sanger on NPOV, because you certainly don't seem to respect the wikipedia guidelines. JHK



Eloquence is not merely failing to live up to Wikipedia guidelines, he is showing a total lack of basic personal integrity that we should demand of all contributors; he is deleting text that that the consensus clearly sees as valuable and accurate, and is continuing to do so after we have made this quite clear. He is not interested in making a good article, or in debating the issue honestly. --LDC


The statement in question will continue to be removed as long as you do not back it up with sources, as I have done with my additions to the article. Presentation of other points of view is fine, as long as it is actually accurate. You have not provided, and seem to be unwilling to provide, evidence that the statements in question are actually accurate. In fact, Hellman, which is cited, flatly contradicts these statements. This debate is similar to the one on Masculism, where lots of statements were attributed to "some feminists" etc., without actually saying who these people were and what their background was. The statement in question is not NPOV. Make it NPOV by properly attributing it and it will be retained. (Note that I have retained the "writing from an anti-clerical perspective" part, because that is uncontroversial, however, I would expect similar characterization in the case of the contrary view, e.g. "writing from an apologist perspective".) Otherwise you're just trying to push your agenda without actually backing it up with facts. You have shown a profound lack of understanding of what NPOV is. To quote:

To write from a neutral point of view, one presents controversial views without asserting them; to do that, it generally suffices to present competing views in a way that is more or less acceptable to their adherents, and also to attribute the views to their adherents.

(Emphasis original.) As to my editing the text without prior notification in /Talk, the violation of NPOV in the removed paragraph is so obvious that no notification was necessary. Much as I would not help the "Flat Earth Society" put its agenda into Wikipedia, I will not help you find arguments and facts that support your skewed perspective, that is your duty, not mine; however, I will tolerate this perspective, as is required by NPOV guidelines, when presented in a proper fashion. Personal attacks only further weaken your case. -- Eloquence


Right. You want attribution? First, we have Axel's stuff on the actual source documents (above, somewhere -- I am preparing to teach the Renaissance at the moment, and do not have time to look for a specific source, but I trust Axel). Second, you have Michael Tinkler's word that he has spoken with colleagues. Third, I have spoken with colleagues. In this case, you are dealing with people who are professional historians. We are, in fact (at least IMO), qualified to speak for what we have been taught and what the prevailing opinion about the works of authors like White are. Unfortunately, the fact that this may be knowledge gathered through conversations with respected colleagues at meetings and parties may not satisfy your very strict interpretations, but it is a form of attribution. You might note that the offending quote does not say, "so-and-so specifically refutes White;" rather, it merely states a current consensus. I don't think I have done anything so far to make people disbelieve me or doubt my integrity. However, if you wish for a quick citation, might I point out the Rice university Galileo link and its connections to Sobel's recent book and the letters of Galileo's daughter? Were you to read the timeline, you would see that Galileo was formally threatened with torture (this was a normal part of the Inquisition's process), but not that he was actually threatened. if you read the letters from Maria Celeste to her father that coincide with his imprisonment, it is clear that G. was allowed outdoors, corresponded almost daily with his daughter, who sent him delicacies and recieved the same in return, and in general show nothing to suggest deprivations other than of movement from a situation of house arrest. Unless there is a concensus on the site that the paragraph that so offends you should go, I suggest you leave it in. JHK


Your scholastic standards are less than satisfying, and I hope we can keep the article free of hearsay.

Galileo was formally threatened with torture (this was a normal part of the Inquisition's process), but not that he was actually threatened.

Uh-huh, just a formal, normal threat. I can imagine what it must have been like. "See, Gally-buddy, we must show you the instruments of torture, we do this every time we deal with heretics, and it's really just a relic from the days when we did things the old-fashioned way, so don't be frightened too much. Say, aren't these thumbscrews just bea-uu-tiful! Now, would you please try out the iron maiden .. haha, just kiddding!" Really, those Inquisition folks were actually very nice and sophisticated, and oh, burning Bruno, oh yeah, well, Bruno was, as one apologist source writes, "just too outrageous".

Reality was that the Inquisition's threat to torture Galileo was only unrealistic because of Galileo's obedient behavior. It was not the torture itself that was unthinkable, but Galileo contradicting the Inquisition. Had Galileo contradicted the Inquisition and proudly held up the Copernican view, he might have been tortured and even killed (of course they would have tried to reason with him at first because of the bad PR), just like Bruno was. And you can be damn sure that many of Galileo's clerical enemies wished nothing more. The notion that the threat was "only formal" is just one of many instances where the influence of catholic historians on the contemporary view of Galileo's case becomes visible (cf. also Norman Cantor's book about medievalists, a different time period which is equally filled with propaganda), it is what Chomsky called a manufactured consent.

If you read the letters from Maria Celeste to her father that coincide with his imprisonment, it is clear that G. was allowed outdoors, corresponded almost daily with his daughter, who sent him delicacies and recieved the same in return, and in general show nothing to suggest deprivations other than of movement from a situation of house arrest.

That the house arrest was just that, house arrest, is uncontroversial (the way you portray it is not: how would you like being imprisoned in your own house and being forbidden most social contacts for the rest of your life, because of something you wrote or said, after recanting it in the most obedient fashion thinkable?). The critical period which was debated here is the time Galileo spent in the offices of the Inquisition. Galileo's daughter writes nothing about the "comfort" of said chambers:

Signor Geri [Bocchineri -- Sestilia's brother and the Grand Duke's private secretary] informed me of the conditions imposed on you on account of your affair, Sire, that alas you are detained in the chambers of the Holy Office; on the one hand this gives me great distress, convinced as I am that you find yourself with scant peace of mind, and perhaps also deprived of all bodily comforts ..

At least here we have a primary source confirming that Galileo was not imprisoned in a dungeon at that time (White only says "imprisoned", so this is not in contradiction, but the term may suggest certain conditions, so I have replaced it with "detained"), however, as to the comfort of said chambers, I will leave out any attribute such as "comfortable" which has been given here. The only source which uses this is not Sobel / Celeste but Von Gebler, from 1879, i.e. from the same time period where Dickson wrote, which is cited by modern apologists (I mention this only because Tinkler so proudly referred me to more current sources, whereas those do in fact rely on a 19th century historian themselves for the critical passages), and from the citation it is unclear how this valuation was reached.

I think the current version of the article, minor errors notwithstanding, should please all sides -- I have removed reference to Sobel's book because it does not seem to add anything to the particular controversial questions. The letters are certainly interesting, but the article already points to the website. -- Eloquence

Herr Moeller -- what you think is perhaps only a consequence of your demonstrable arrogance. Despite the fact that several contributors object to the relatively large chunk of White's book that you insist upon including, we have left the quote intact. You have continually refused to allow the statement that some (in fact, many) current historians do not accept White's characterization. I am not sure why this bothers you so much, but it is standard practice among qualified historians to note such objections. Moreover, the weight of the article supports the version of events and interpretation you prefer -- at least until those of us who are employed have time to do the extra research necessary to refuting White properly.

Yes, the article tends to present the events in the way in which it presents them until you present them in a different way. I would ascribe a certain degree of obviousness to this statement. You want to avoid doing your homework by referring to your credentials. Sorry, but in the interest of accuracy, I cannot allow that. (Addition to clear up possible misunderstanding: What I am asking for is an argument against one or several of White's claims, or a properly attributed characterization of the interpretation of the events by historians (e.g. the apologist arguments), which could possibly be contrasted with yet another recent interpretation. Arguments why White in general is "not reliable" may also be interesting, but I have taken a look at some of them and I doubt that they can be convincing enough to remove the quote.)

Until that time, I would suggest you stop being quite as insulting as you seem to find necessary.


I play tit for tat. I'm willing to cooperate. Calling me "demonstrably arrogant" may not be a good start, but I take it as a compliment.

I have been to your web site

Thanks. I always appreciate visitors. I haven't had the time to put out an English version yet.

and, although I find your command of the English language admirable, see nothing to suggest that you have a field of specialization in History or the History of Science, nor that you have even moved beyond study to actually teaching. Perhaps you have, but that is doubtful, considering your approach. What you obviously have not learned is how to treat colleagues (which is what many of us would be -- if you have earned your Promotion). None of us have resorted to the type of snide comment you seem to rely upon -- if you are so sure that you are better qualified, why do you find it necessary? JHK

I do not think anything particular about my qualification or yours. There is certainly a wide array of subjects about which you could (or do) write many interesting things (although, given my knowledge about medieval studies, I'm afraid the perspective would be somewhat skewed in many cases, but that's not your fault), about which I do know little or nothing (and vice versa). The international system of degrees and credentials has limited meaning to me and should have relatively little meaning in the context of Wikipedia. The scientific method is universally applicable, by anyone. Present the facts, and we can talk about them. That means backing them up with sources and attribution (Sobel does not seem to be relevant here). As to my tone, as I said, I'm playing tit for tat.

Last for tonight -- what you have placed in the article is not fact, it is an interpretation by one historian. Sobel is as relevant, if not more so, because his book offers primary sources on the subject -- primary sources are always what historians rely on for evidence. The scientific method, as you call it, may not be exactly what HISTORIANS use. We rely on many kinds of primary sources, as well as the context in which they were written and the purpose for which they were written, to base our interpretations. History is very complex, and seldom black or white. THe fact that, as a member of the academic community, I know from conversation what other people think about White, is a type of primary evidence. All of those people could be wrong. You may not agree with them. But the fact is that I based the qualification of White's work on 1) my training in how to deal with a biased secondary source and 2) and a general consensus among historians that sources that are blatantly biased should be taken with a grain of salt, is perfectly valid in terms of what historians and people who work in the Humanities (where little is black and white) consider a requirement for scholarship. Historians must consider the source. It's one of our basic rules. JHK

I absolutely agree that the nature of sources must be considered! That's why I also want to know if a historian is a Catholic, or has received grants from a Catholic University, or is heavily influenced by Catholic sources, for example. I get the impression that you would prefer a source whose bias is not disclosed or disguised and then pretend that it is "unbiased". In the interest of neutrality, we should consider the nature of all sources, and disclose it where necessary, much as in the Global warming article. In the case of White, this has already been done with the qualification "writing from an anti-clerical perspective" -- if you have more information about White that may be worth adding, feel free to do so. The situation gets problematic when you argue that White is wrong because of his bias: that would be a first-class ad hominem argument, but I'm sure you're not trying to make such an argument (or an argument from authority -- he is wrong because so-and-so disagrees with him). -- Eloquence

Context. You are offended by the Catholic Church's denial of scientific method which, as you see it, makes the Church wrong and somehow a bad thing. You have chosen to quote from a scholar who wrote at a time where history could be legitimately twisted (or not seen in context of the time) to prove an anachronistic point. You don't seem interested or ethically motivated (as are trained historians today) to look at other interpretations and relate them -- you merely demand that others do the research to disprove your source - a source which screams, "take me with a giant grain of salt because I am biased."
By today's standards, I do understand that you want to see this as a bad, repressive Church against enlightenment and the new churh of the scientific method. I'm sorry, but it just is not that simple. At the time, in Italy, and for Galileo himself, the Catholic church was the only game in town. It must have torn him dreadfully to have known as a scholar that he was right, and for a time he must have felt compelled to argue for what we now know to be true. We really don't know that the sole impetus for his recantation was the threat of torture -- since he was friends with high-ranking cleics and statesmen, is it not likely that there was also much more subtle pressure brought to bear -- perhaps that his work threatened the Church he devoutly believed in?
The article as written demonstrates none of the questions that historians normally would try to ask and answer, perhaps because we would rather work on other topics. The article thus retains a tone heavily biased toward White's (and your personal) view that Galileo is less important as a person or scientist than as a case study for the repression of science and knowledge by the bogeyman of Catholicism. As for the pertinence of Sobel's book, I should think a reference to the book and a general precis would be in order, since his is arguably the most recent work on the topic.
Since White is not the topic of the article, and since his methods are representative of those now considered by historians worldwide to be less legitimate, I see no harm in pointing that out. If you would like a list of scholars with whom I have personally studied who would support the notion that history is of course an interpretation, but that one may not simply choose the facts that support one's views and ignore other facts and their interpretation, I can provide a list. I cannot, unfortunately, prove in any scientific manner that this is the norm or what is accepatable -- among historians (as among most scholars I know, even in the sciences), these things are considered so self-evident that I can't give you a quote. It's kind of like asking me to prove that most people generally consider lying to be bad.
As for personal biases, I can only say that some of us learn early on not to push them in our work. My own dissertation changed dramatically in character as I became more familiar with the sources. It was certainly not the dissertation I set out to write -- rather, it was the dissertation that was supported by the evidence. My work here is based on years of study -- if I feel unsure, I generally go and look something up, and not just through the google searches so popular, but in legitimate scholarly works. I'd appreciate it if you backed off on any implications otherwise. JHK

 The Dominican Father Caccini preached a sermon from the text, 
 "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?"  Acts 1:11 marg. 

Acts 1:11

11 who also said, Men of Galilee, why do ye stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall thus come in the manner in which ye have beheld him going into heaven. Acts 1:11 (1890 Darby Bible)

11 who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven. Acts 1:11 (American Standard Version)

11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Acts 1:11 (English Standard Version)

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11 (King James Version)

11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as he went, he will return!" Acts 1:11 (Living Bible)

11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11 (New American Standard: 1995 Update)

11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11 (New Internation Version)

11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11 (New King James Version)

11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!" Acts 1:11 (New Living Translation)

Jesus, a peaceable Jew, an advocate regarding Peaceable Jewish Mosaic Contract Law, whom was conceived via virtue of the HolyGhostSpirit, born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, dead and buried, descended in Hades direction, then literally resurrected from the dead and ascended regarding Heaven. 1 John 2:1 .

an omegaXY ™ event 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 21:6; 22:13,18 .

biblical inerrance: remove a rib, XY lesser than XX ™ GenesIs 2:20-23 .