The "Beyond lifetime achievement award for causing religious trouble" has just been awarded to Galileo Galilei. Forget your stem cells, this trooper has topped off a lifetime of conflict with the Catholic church by coming back for one last battle, over three centuries after his death. No, it's not Zombie Galileo (at least not yet), but a dispute about exhuming his remains for genetic testing. The Italian Institute and Museum of the History of Science wants to check if the entombed remains suspected be his actually are, and to find the cause of the blindness that afflicted him.
Some might say that this is a little late - what are they going to do, cure him? - but the quest for knowledge is undoubtedly one Galileo would support.
The priest supervising his burial grounds opposes the move, with the not-unreasonable position that the dead should be left in peace. Or at least, it wouldn't be unreasonable if the church hadn't already exhumed and reburied him once to move him to Santa Croce basilica where he currently resides. Why did they have to move him? Because the first time he was laid to rest, they still hated they guy so much that they wouldn't let him be buried with his family. It takes an awful lot of rage to still be angry at a guy after he's dead - especially considering this came direct from the pope of the time. They finally relented and moved his remains, adding a monument to his memory - a great act of reconciliation that only took a century and for everyone involved in the original dispute to die.
Also, respect for the dead normally involves respecting the dead's wishes - and if we were to ask Galileo whose side he would be on, science or the church, there isn't much doubt. He might first ask "Wait a minute, is this the same church that persecuted me, banned my works, imprisoned me in my own home and restricted the reproduction of my lifes work for two centuries? They're STILL getting in my way?"
Rumours that the scientists intend to genetically reconstruct a neo-Galileo to destroy Intelligent Design with his trademark logic, reason, and titanium endoskeleton are utterly unfounded.
Posted by Luke McKinney.
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