I was recently alerted to a blog, The Deeps of Time, which deals with science and the Catholic faith. Even as I am starting at a book on my desk about Galileo (sent by a kind reader from my wish list) by J.R. Heilbron I found this great quote on the aforementioned blog:
“In a generation which saw the Thirty Years’ War and remembered Alva in the Netherlands, the worst that happened to men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof, before dying peacefully in his bed.”
Alfred North Whitehead
All liberals, anti-Catholics, and even many sensible people have the oddest ideas about Galileo. There is a general myth that the Church treated Galileo cruelly or that he was tortured by the Inquisition or that his ideas were simply rejected because the Church hates science.
BTW… Heilbron has another book on churches and cathedrals as solar observatories. It is called The Sun In The Church. I am putting that on my wishlist immediately. This is clearly in the Just Too Cool category as well as Look! Up In The Sky! I have in mind church in Rome, such as Santa Maria Degli Angeli, where there is a solar clock in the form of a narrow shaft of sunlight streaming to the floor to trace its analemma over the course of the year across a 45 meter long meridian line. It also could track certain stars, such as Sirius, the Dog Star. Clement XI (+1721) commissioned it to check the accuracy of the Gregorian Calendar. That sun clock was used to determine solar noon for all of Rome. A signal would be sent from that church by means of a flag, watched for across town from the Gianicolo Hill where a canon … make that cannon… would be fired to sound noon. Not exactly sextants on the quarterdeck, and the striking of eight bells, but they did make it noon. On a couple days of the year, the sun streams directly into the main doors of St. Peter’s Basilica and the ancient Egyptian obelisk in the square is the gnomon of a great solar calendar.
Okay… I’ll stop now.
I will now…
… read Heilbron on Galileo and drink some Mystic Monk Coffee!
Other than the fact that I like coffee when I read in the morning, the connection of coffee in this post should be obvious, even to readers of the Bitter Pill and the Fishwrap. Even they should be inspired to use my link to buy themselves some beans or tea leaves.
Think about it. What do coffee beans need to grow? They need…. ummmm….. time. That’s it! They need time! I was going to say sun of course. But, now that I think of it, a great deal of coffee is grown in the shade. Some coffee is grown in the sun, but that method requires more resources. No matter.
When you buy Mystic Monk Coffee you are helping the Carmelites in Wyoming build their church. Church… get it? Sun? Churches? Coffee?
But wait… there’s more!
Turning the glass and striking the bell at noon, after taking the altitude of he sun, was a common practice on board HMS Surprise and all the other ships in the Aubrey/Maturin books. And their steward, Preserved Killick, made them exceptionally good coffee… when it wasn’t tainted with rat droppings.
I hope the Carmelites, when they build their great church for their monastery, will include a small hole for a shaft of light to sketch its bright analemma on the pavement.
Mystic Monk Coffee!