Darwinists reflexively use the story of Galileo to advance the religious vs. science false dichotomy. That fails on two levels.
1. The Galileo story that people usually refer to has many mythical elements. And how many people can cite an example besides Galileo?
And as far as religious (or non-religious) beliefs getting in the way of science, who knows if Einstein’s presupposition of a static universe caused his error with the cosmological constant? After all, an expanding universe certainly gives more support to a theist model than a static one. That hypothesis cuts both ways. This happens often in science, such as the myth of “junk DNA” that went on for years because Darwinists assumed it without evidence.
2. Which is the more pertinent element of the Galileo story?
A. Some religious people were wrong while other religious people were right.
B. Those in power were wrong and abused their authority and those not in power were right.
People who use the Galileo example typically assume A, but I think it is B.
The August 2011 issue of Salvo (great magazine and web site, btw) had an article about a professor forced to write an apology to a student he had harassed in class over her unwillingness to believe in Darwinian evolution. He wrote a non-pology instead, “apologizing” for “appearing to denigrate” her beliefs and insisting that he hadn’t meant to offend her.
Worse yet, he had the gall to refer to Galileo. The girl’s lawyer replied to him noting the irony of the Galileo example. After all, who was the authority figure in this case and who was the victim? The professor was authority figure (the “Pope” of this situation) and he used his power to deliberately humiliate the woman taking risks in opposing the majority view. The professor cast himself as the hero, but the woman was the one challenging the orthodox position and standing up for free thinking.
P.S. The religion vs. science canard always reminds me of this gag from The Simpsons, where Lisa Simpson finds a phony fossil of what appears to be an angel. The judge presiding over a trial about the fossil said this:
As for science versus religion, I’m issuing a restraining order: Religion must stay 500 yards from science at all times.