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Galileo Admits His Guilt and Walks *

Last year Galileo published his book comparing the Copernicus theory of the universe against the Roman Catholic version of the universe. Argument is allowed as long as no firm conclusions are made against Church doctrine. Galileo had already cleared his book with the Inquisition, but a fellow scientist complains to the Inquisition when Galileo appears to insult him. The Inquisition calls Galileo to Rome to account for himself. He is not tortured, and in fact, he is staying with the ambassador of Florence. After waiting several months for a judgement, he is found GUILTY of heresy! Galileo offers to rewrite his book but this is not enough, so he completely repudiates his book. In part, Galileo writes...

With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the said errors and heresies, and generally every other error and heresy contrary to the... Holy Church, and I swear that I will nevermore in future say or assert anything... which may give rise to a similar suspicion of me... [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is a myth that Galileo shouted at the court, "And yet it still moves!" referring to the earth moving around the Sun. Waiting in comfort for judgement and engaging in penance in luxury accommodations suggests that the Church needed a retraction from Galileo more than a dead Galileo. The bottom line is that Galileo got his information out to the scientists who could use it and the Church got it's retraction so that the laity was kept in line during the counter-Reformation fight. Galileo also committed to recite 7 Psalms a week for three years. This was a non-punishment. Galileo loved the Bible and he was faithful, so 7 Psalms a week day was a cinch. [4]

A Modest Proposal for Genocide

The poet, Edmund Spenser, is long dead, but this year his controversial essay "A View of the Present State of Ireland" is published. He suggested that Ireland was in great need of reform of its laws but that could not happen until the people of Ireland were eliminated... writing on a clean slate, so to speak. It was more like "scorched earth." Having lived through a rebellion in Ireland, "the prince of poets" suggested eliminating the Irish language and even selling infant flesh for money. Here is a quote from his essay. (Try not to vomit.)

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was Edmund Spencer serious? People seem to treat this essay like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" where Swift suggests that Irishmen can solve the poverty problem by... "buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs." It is satire. Jonathan Swift is best known for his book, "Gulliver's Travels," which is also satire despite what modern movie makers have done with the story. In the modern day I can no longer tell the difference between satire and serious suggestions. In a world where dead baby heads can be shipped cross country with no more news coverage than that given to a local screw-up at the Mayor's office, my sense of the absurd has been pushed to destruction. [7] [8]

A Coalition of Criminals

China has won the war against Dutch pirates, with the help of Chinese pirates. Zheng Zhilong is a former Chinese pirate who was lured into going legit with various marketing incentives. He is not the only one but all of the pirates who have become legitimate are Chinese. The Dutch pirates would like to have the same incentives, but they are locked out. Thus, a war begins. It also ends, with the Dutch hiding out at Taiwan and the Chinese winning a decisive victory. [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is all very nice for the Chinese that they won a great battle. (It really was a great battle.) However, the reason why there was a battle in the first place was because of the Chinese foreign policy and oppressive taxes that discouraged ocean-going merchants from doing business with China. Taxes were so high that it became worthwhile for some merchants to become smugglers. They soon graduated to piracy at sea. At first, Chinese policy was equally oppressive to all, but when China tried to solve the piracy problem that they had created in the first place, they shut out the Dutch pirates. The Dutch got angry and thus a war... which the Chinese won... proving once again that the Chinese government is made up of a bunch really great... pirates.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1633, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558-1648, The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster, 609-610. “On June 22 the Inquisition pronounced him guilty of heresy and disobedience; it offered him absolution on condition of full abjuration; it sentenced him to 'the prison of this Holy Office for a period determinable at our pleasure,' and prescribed as penance the recitation of the seven penitential psalms daily for the next three years.” 
  2. Abjuration - definition of abjuration (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015. “To recant solemnly; renounce or repudiate”
  3. Dava Sobel. Galileo's Daughter. Walker & Co.. ISBN 9780007382019. “On top of the anger he had apparently stewed in his breast since the sunspot debate two decades earlier, Scheiner felt newly annoyed by what he inferred to be a fresh personal slander against him in Galileo's book.” 
  4. Dava Sobel. Galileo's Daughter. Walker & Co.. ISBN 9780007382019. “He remained a good Catholic who believed in the power of prayer and endeavored always to conform his duty as a scientist with the destiny of his soul.” 
  5. Scholarly Resources - Biography. Spenser Online (Cambridge) (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015. “Spenser returned to London for the publication of the second half of The Faerie Queene, and probably remained there for almost a year, living in Essex House (formerly Leicester House) in the Strand as a guest of the Earl of Essex. It was probably during this stay that he began work on A vewe of the present state of Irelande, a treatise on the social and political reformation of Ireland.”
  6. Edmund Spenser - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015. “In A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser categorises the 'evils' of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion. These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people.”
  7. A Modest Proposal. gutenberg.org (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
  8. Planned Parenthood: When Shipping Dead Baby Heads, Make Sure Eyes are Closed. JEWS NEWS (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015. “They’ll open the box, go, 'Oh God!'”
  9. Andrade, Tonio (December 2004). "The Company's Chinese Pirates: How the Dutch East India Company Tried to Lead a Coalition of Pirates to War against China, 1621-1662". Journal of World History (University of Hawai'i Press) 15 (4): 415-444. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20079290. 
  10. Battle of Liaoluo Bay - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 27 August 2015. “A Dutch fleet under Admiral Hans Putmans was attempting to control shipping in the Taiwan Strait, while the southern Fujian sea traffic and trade was protected by a fleet under Brigadier General Zheng Zhilong. This was the largest naval encounter between Chinese and European forces before the Opium Wars two hundred years later.”

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