But what I find amusing is the use of Galileo misconceptions not in science vs religion debates - but rather by Muslims to present Islam as a superior religion to Christianity. The template goes as follows:
a) Galileo was persecuted by Christians
b) Christians didn't accept Galileo's ideas because Christianity is a corrupted doctrine
c) this caused the tension between science & religion
c) Islam is a scientific religion - thus it has no problem with Galileo or with science
d) Galileo was (of course) right - hence Islam is better than Christianity
There are numerous forums where Muslims make similar arguments (for example, see Dr. Israr Ahmed making this argument at the end of Q&A). But I like the following example as it includes not only Galileo but several other popular ideas that use and misuse science. Intriguingly, this response is part of the rejection of biological evolution:
Thing is, Darwin’s culture was of the Christian West which had persecuted people like Galileo in the past who observed the physical universe was different from the flawed teaching/understandings of the Christian church at the time. The WEST then began to develop a strained relationship with Science.
But with Islam it was different. Muslims in Cordoba/Andalucía the Maghreb embraced science – naturally. If man hadn’t yet corrupted Divine Revelation then how could science contradict religion. It was the Muslims who translated the Greek works which eventually seeded the European Renaissance which the West tries to hijack as being independent of the Muslims. Europe was in the dark ages while Islam was embraced and lifted the people from Jahilliah to success from what’s now known as Spain to parts of China.
So Islam NEVER had a problem with Science. But the European tension with science once again hijacked Science as it’s own and in effect ‘exported’ this tension to Islam when Europeans talked about Science as if it was something that rested solely in their hands.
Eventually, Europeans used science for horrific means: ways to kill and injure people: biological diseases, poison gas, nuclear weapons with an eye to plundering the resources from other countries (like Malaysian tin) without thought for the environment or without much thought for the indigenous people. The Muslims had already largely reached a level of development that was satisfactory and more in tune with the earth so it appeared the Muslims might have stalled.
I have heard these arguments many times before (and some statements in here are even somewhat correct - such as the Muslim contribution to medieval intellectual thought). But the last sentence is new to me: the linking of Muslim lack of scientific development with a concern for the environment. While the Islam and science harmony narrative was shaped in the 19th century by Muslim reformers like Afghani, this particular post-hoc environmental innovation seems to be a 21st century response.
As for Galileo, he must be twisting in his grave at Santa Croce (minus his finger - a post about his tomb coming up) by the way Muslims are dragging his name 367 years after his death - both against Christianity and against an established idea of science.