“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”.

–Galileo Galilei

 

On 26 February 1616, the famed Italian astrologist Galileo Galilei was formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church from defending the heliocentric view of astronomy that proposed the Earth orbits the Sun. This view was first explicitly introduced by Nicolaus Copernicus in the fourteenth century in what came to be known as the Copernican Revolution, and was in radical opposition to the geocentric model – one that placed the Earth at the center of the universe – espoused by religious scripture. Galilei’s championing of the Copernican model was deemed controversial in his lifetime, and he faced immense criticism from astronomers as well as religious figures. The matter was eventually presented in front of the Roman Inquisition, that declared the injunction that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.”