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In his latest On the Square column , Peter J. Leithart explains why scientific answers are the only valid answers:

Accommodation is a big deal, I think. But the cultural stakes in Galileo’s letter were far bigger. His letter stood at the crossroads of two worlds, not only on the question of Scripture and science. Most obviously, the seventeenth-century debate about astronomy was a struggle about who could be relied on to tell the truth about creation—theologians or the magisterium later known as the “scientific community”?

When my students tell me that the sun doesn’t rise, I ask how they know. Not a one of them can reproduce Galileo’s arguments or evidence. (They’re liberal arts students, so I’m not too hard on them, and besides I can’t reproduce the argument myself.) The “super-obvious” of the heliocentric system is the super-obviousness of scientific and cultural consensus. It’s the super-obvious of expert testimony.



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