Ayn Rand Center Press Release
Vatican Doesn’t Deserve a Statue of Galileo
September 4, 2008
Washington, DC--According to news reports, the Vatican plans to commission a statue of Galileo, the father of modern science, with support from an anonymous benefactor. Before the story leaked to the Italian press, church officials had tried to keep news of the project quiet for fear of scaring off the donor should the plan generate too much controversy.
“This plan ought to generate controversy,” said Dr. Keith Lockitch, Fellow of the Ayn Rand Center. “It is outrageous for the church to try to pretend to honor a scientist famous for being a victim of its own tyranny.”
“Galileo has always been the most eloquent symbol of the clash between science and religion. He was persecuted by the Inquisition simply for defending ideas that ran counter to church dogma.
“What was Galileo’s ‘crime’? He wrote and spoke out publicly in defense of the scientific fact that the earth orbits the sun and revolves on its own axis. But because this was contrary to scripture, the church convicted him of ‘vehement suspicion of heresy,’ forced him to recant publicly under threat of torture, banned his writings, and sentenced him to house arrest.
“Many today would argue that faith and reason are perfectly compatible. But Galileo’s trial and conviction is a reminder of the evils that can be perpetrated by those who are completely committed to faith, when they are challenged in their blind beliefs by the facts and logic of a determined proponent of reason.
“And this is not just something that happened 400 years ago with no relevance to the present; it is a battle that continues to rage to this day. While few would now declare the Earth the motionless center of the universe, as Galileo’s persecutors did, it is not difficult to find those who claim it to be 6,000 years old and deny the long, slow evolution of its species. If today they are relatively restrained in their war on reason, it is only for lack of political power.
“A statue honoring Galileo, a paragon of reason, would be totally incompatible with the church’s essence as an institution of faith. It would be an honor that the church can never deserve.”
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Dr. Lockitch has a PhD in Physics from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and is a Fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. His writings have appeared in publications such as the Orange County Register and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dr. Keith Lockitch is available for interviews. To book him for your show, please contact Larry Benson:
Phone: (949) 222-6550, ext. 213
For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARC’s Web site. The Ayn Rand Center promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”