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Zoe Louise Matthews | ASY-EOS | UK

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Alternative valentine’s day

I know it is a little late in the day, but I would like to wish readers a Happy Alternative Valentine’s day (intended for 13th Feb). My fiance and I had our romantic celebration early this year, to coincide with the weekend, as he is working away from home in the week so we will be apart tomorrow.

To explain, we almost never say “happy valentines”, because that would be boring. So without further delay…

Happy 378th anniversary of Galileo’s arrival in Rome to face an inquisition for heresy, based on his scientific support of Copernicus’ view of the solar system (WE revolve around the SUN, not the other way around). As I am sure many of you know, he went on to plead guilty (for a lighter sentence), and was placed under house arrest until his death. Let us never forget that religious authority once so disgustingly suppressed the pursuit of the humbling reality of science. It wasn’t the first or last time, but perhaps the most poignant. I think this is one of many parts of scientific history that serves as a reminder, not only of humanity’s incredible ability to imagine and comprehend a world outside our own existence, but of how huge and difficult a step that can be.


2 Responses to “Alternative valentine’s day”

  1. Ravzan says:

    I am curious if the Church ever apologies for all the kills done in the name of God during the inquisition and crusades and I would compare this numbers with all the deaths in the name of science.

  2. Zoe Louise Matthews says:


    Thanks for your comment! The Vatican formally apologised for the persecution of Galileo in 1992. In fact, Pope John Paul II, in 2000, publicly apologised for the sins of the church over the past 2000 years and asked for God’s forgiveness, in several key areas:
    “General sins; sins in the service of truth; sins against Christian unity; against the Jews; against respect for love, peace and cultures; against the dignity of women and minorities; and against human rights.”

    it was vaguely worded but he was clearly referring to things like this. However, it was seemingly a controversial thing to do from the “fundamental” Catholic perspective, certainly I wouldn’t expect the same views from Pope Benedict XVI for fear it would undermine the church. Pope John Paul II had a great respect for scientific pursuit – he visited CERN in 1982 and praised the work of scientists to pursue an understanding (and in his view, a greater appreciation) of the universe. My supervisor was there and told me about it.

    I think it is not so much “the Church” or religion that is to blame but a fundamentalist perspective on religion, which is, by definition, unchanging and rigid. If you cannot adapt to changes in society, knowledge and discovery you are in effect alienating these and making them unnecessarily threatening. And anything that portrays pursuit of the truth as a threat has lost my faith completely.