Because of ridiculously ignorant propaganda spread by uneducated morons most people believe that the Catholic Church persecuted “scientists”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What these idiots, or people who refuse to educate themselves, don't understand is that the catholic Church was THE educational institution in Western Europe. You couldn't be a “scientist” without having been educated by the church.
In addition to controlling the education in Europe the Catholic Church also controlled publishing. Any published works, like Galileo’s books, that exist were published by the church.
Essentially the way the system worked was that parents paid “priests” to educate their children, ether individually or in small groups. Before some moron goes off on sexual abuse charges, yes, teachers probably sexually abused their students then as they do now.
Once a child could read and write the children who could write the best, those with the best penmanship, were employed by the Catholic Church to copy books. Later Gutenberg invented the printing press and the Catholic Church controlled the technology for years. Around the 1580's the first secular publishing houses began to take shape in Holland. Guys like Copernicus and Galileo worked for and were published by the Catholic Church.
A lot of people claim that Galileo's research was conducted through funding by a patron who was the son of a Catholic Cardinal. (before some hypocrite complains about a Cardinal having a child, Cardinals did not have to be priests during the Renaissance) Of course the patron under discussion took over from his father in the early seventeenth century, well after Galileo had begun his research and academic arguments. Galileo was a professor at the University of Padua in the late sixteenth century for example. The University of Padua was supported by the Republic of Venice and the Catholic Church at that time.
The Renaissance in Italy was a difficult time filled with competing small monarchies. The Catholic Church was the most powerful organization in Italy and maintained a very loose authority over the various city states. The monarchs of these city states worked hard to keep the balance of power between their neighbors and Rome. battles between city states were common and the side the Catholic Church supported usually won. During this time the Ottoman Empire was growing and alliance with the Catholic Church was seen as important to the survival. As a result the Catholic Church ended up controlling communications, education and publishing throughout Italy and the rest of Western Europe during the Renaissance.
Venice had political disagreements with the Catholic Church which resulted in a loss of political support and where they had been successful in holding off the Ottoman Empire in the past through their alliance with the Catholic Church once they began arguing with the Catholic Church Venice began to lose battles and foreign holdings.
Those students being taught in Italy who were really sharp, or whose parents could afford it, were educated further in science and the arts. Astrology, for example, was once taught by priests.
Long before the Catholic Church came into existence a very smart guy named Aristotle determined that the Sun revolved around the Earth. There was a big debate in Greece about whether the Sun orbited the Earth or the Earth orbited the sun, this was about 300BC. Aristotle won out and for the next almost two thousand years academia squashed any opposing theories. Einstein eventually proved that both Aristotle and Galileo correct.
Now morons out there won't get the reality, but, this ridiculous squashing of alternate theories by academia goes on today. Present an alternate theory to an academic who has a vested interest and they will turn blue in the face, denounce you as an “uneducated heretic” and if possible have you expelled, imprisoned and tortured.
Where do we see this public academic insanity today? In the debate between evolution and intelligent design, which is essentially the same debate as creation and evolution that went on during the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century with the sides reversed.
Enter Dan Brown whose research into scientific research during the Renaissance is about as shallow as the plastic wading pools parents buy at Walmart.
Brown postulates that Galileo and the Illuminati hid a “map” of clues that only people who understood science could understand.
The problem is that the vast majority of those who understood, researched and taught science during the Renaissance were priests or theologians committed to the Catholic Church so the people most likely to interpret the clues were priests. Duh.
Did the Catholic Church suppress research into areas that they did not believe were worthwhile pursuits? Yeah, duh. Universities and corporations do this all the time and they always will. The only thing that has changed is that as much as your University Professor or adviser might want to have you imprisoned and tortured for disagreeing with them they can typically only ruin your ability to graduate. Any person who has attended an institution of “higher” learning can attest to this.
Yeah, as anthropologists and psychologists have pointed out for years, people really don't change. Customs and language change over time and distance and people learn, teach, fall in love, put clothes on, eat and have babies.
One other thing that has not changed is that morons will spread ridiculous and obviously inaccurate crap as if it were a gospel handed to them by an all powerful being, like a University Professor :-)
I cannot stress how important it is to educate yourself. If you want to have an educated opinion you have to educate yourself.
How many people have I asked over the years “Who financed and published Galileo's work?” and how many do you think answered correctly? The answer is well over a hundred and I could count the number of correct answers on one hand.
Idiots who have been brain washed by other idiots and who have developed an opinion based on inaccurate information that they will DIE claiming is the truth.
If I had a dime for every “academic myth” that is taught as reality I would be rich enough to shove my opinion down everyone's throat as the “truth”. Would I do that? No, I would be the same person I am now. I do and would, if rich, encourage people to educate themselves and develop an educated opinion.
Do not get your education from Dan Brown however. The stupidity of the “Illuminati” hunt in Angels and Demons is only exceeded by the stupidity of believing that the Jewish Sanhedrin loved Christ so much that they placed his “wife's” coffin under the Holy of Holies in their most sacred temple.
Yeah, I'd buy that for a dollar.