“Cosmos” Misrepresents Why Man Was Set on Fire, Claims Inquisition Apologist

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Every Who down in Whoville liked Cosmos a lot…
But the BillDo, who lived just north of who-cares, did NOT!

The tireless defender of all things Catholic (unless it’s things like 99% of Catholics practicing birth control, or being okay with not stoning teh gays) has spoken out against Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s and Seth McFarlane’s reboot of that show where Carl Sagan showed my generation just how beautiful our universe is.

The first episode, aired a couple of days ago, includes a segment about how Giordano Bruno was thrown in prison and finally burned at the stake by the Catholic church for imagining that the universe was infinite, with many suns and planets.

Mr. Dorkemada complains about the portrayal of the Inquisition as some sort of repressive thought-control tool wielded by an authoritarian Catholic church, and fails to stress its important work of petting puppy dogs and helping old ladies across the street. Oh, and it wasn’t really part of the Catholic church, either (emphasis added):

The ignorance is appalling. “The Catholic Church as an institution had almost nothing to do with [the Inquisition],” writes Dayton historian Thomas Madden. “One of the most enduring myths of the Inquisition,” he says, “is that it was a tool of oppression imposed on unwilling Europeans by a power-hungry Church. Nothing could be more wrong.” Because the Inquisition brought order and justice where there was none, it actually “saved uncounted thousands of innocent (and even not-so-innocent) people who would otherwise have been roasted by secular lords or mob rule.” (His emphasis.)

Bill is quoting from, but as usual can’t be bothered to link to, this article, which takes pains to distinguish the Spanish Inquisition, which he says had practically nothing to do with the Catholic church, from the Roman Inquisition, which presumably was more closely tied to Rome. Which is all fine and dandy, or would be, except that it was the Roman Inquisition that tried and executed Bruno. Take it away, Wikipedia:

Luigi Firpo lists these charges made against Bruno by the Roman Inquisition:[22]

  • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith and speaking against it and its ministers;
  • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about the Trinity, divinity of Christ, and Incarnation;
  • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith pertaining to Jesus as Christ;
  • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith regarding the virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus;
  • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about both Transubstantiation and Mass;
  • claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity;
  • believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into brutes;
  • dealing in magics and divination.

So, mostly for holding opinions, then. But really naughty ones, apparently. So what did the nothing-to-do-with-the-Catholic-church Inquisition do?:

On January 20, 1600, Pope Clement VIII declared Bruno a heretic and the Inquisition issued a sentence of death.

Oh.

Set us straight, BillDo:

As for Bruno, he was a renegade monk who dabbled in astronomy; he was not a scientist. There is much dispute about what really happened to him. As sociologist Rodney Strong puts it, he got into trouble not for his “scientific” views, but because of his “heretical theology involving the existence of an infinite number of worlds—a work based entirely on imagination and speculation.”

In short, the science-fan show maligned the Catholic church by saying it set a man on fire for imagining the wrong things, whereas the truth is that it set a man on fire for imagining the wrong things. And they all lived happily ever after, except the ones who died in a fire.

Thank you, Catholic Crusader!

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