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Science Historian Michael Keas: Let’s Not Compound the Tragedy of Giordano Bruno

David Klinghoffer

The medieval idea of burning people because of their religious beliefs is horrific enough, but it only adds to the tragedy to say Bruno’s death illustrates the warfare between faith and science. 

Science historian Michael Keas, a Discovery Institute Fellow, is the author of the new book Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. One of those myths holds that the Roman Catholic Church executed Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) for challenging the dominant religion of his time on scientific grounds. Not true at all, as Professor Keas explains. 

Bruno’s peculiar beliefs, what really got him in trouble, were all theological in nature. He was not driven by science but by his own outlandish religious speculations. That should not have resulted in his terrible death. But neither should modern day myth makers like Neil deGrasse Tyson weaponize the tragedy in their own war on religion.