It was on this date, February 15, 1564, that Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, now in Italy but then a dependency of the city-state of Florence. Galileo had proven through direct observation what Nicolaus Copernicus had only conjectured through reason and mathematics 72 years earlier: that the sun, not the earth, stands at the center of the solar system. In 1615 Cardinal (“Saint”) Robert Bellarmine – a 73-year-old Jesuit whose knowledge of science could fill a small chalice – summoned the 51-year-old scientist to Rome, charging that his cosmological idea was “formally [i.e., "explicitly"] heretical, inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the statements of Holy Scripture in many places.”
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850) It was on this date, November 13, 1850, that Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books, Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. He once quarreled with his father over religion and, thereafter, rarely mentioned his hostility to it. From childhood, Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. He spend much […]