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cassandra willyard

October 31, 1992: Vacation reverses position on Galileo

More than three and a half centuries after the Vatican accused famed Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei of heresy, Pope John Paul II officially welcomed him back into the fold, dismissing the whole messy episode as a “tragic mutual incomprehension.” At issue in what has become known as the “Galileo affair” was planetary motion. In the early 1600s, nearly all Europeans believed that the universe revolved around Earth. Not only was the idea widely supported by most scientists, but scripture seemed to dictate that it was so. Theologians pointed to biblical passages such as Psalm 104 — which proclaims, “[The Lord] set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved” — as evidence of a geocentric system.
 
31 Oct 2008

Down to Earth With: Award-winning sci-fi novelist Kim Stanley Robinson

Don’t let Kim Stanley Robinson fool you. He may know a lot about the geography of Mars and ocean acidification, but he’s no scientist. He’s an award-winning science fiction novelist. Yet the science in his books is so convincing that many fans can’t help but be duped.
 
03 Sep 2008