Galileo Earth Orbits Sun

Myths Surrounding Galileo

Lots of myths surround the father of the telescope, except that he wasn’t. That’s a myth.  But he did build a good one, and then looked up into space with it.

The problem is that much like the attribution of the invention of the telescope, all sorts of other untruths have been taught about him.  As a matter of fact, if there had been no Galileo, atheists would have had to invent him to use as a club against religion and stir up anti-catholic and anti-religious sentiment.  Most schools never even teach the fact that the church was at the forefront of scientific inquiry actually funding science and scientists, or that Galileo himself was a very devout man.  In fact the leading astronomers of the day were priests.

The war between Galileo and the Church is called the Galileo Myth.


Now Copernicus was also a man of the church, a priest, who postulated that perhaps the Sun did not revolve around the Earth, but that the Earth actually revolved around the Sun.  The church really didn’t have a problem with Copernicus saying this because it was only a theory.  Copernicus made no claims to absolute fact or truth.

Galileo on the other hand, with the aid of telescope, started teaching the it was the truth that the Earth revolved around the Sun.  The church, siding with secular science of the day, went to Galileo and demanded he bring forth his evidence.  Just good scientific inquiry and request for peer review. Of course, Galileo had his math and his theories, but not incontrovertible proof.  The church requested Galileo not teach it as proven truth until it had been studied further.  They asked him not to be hasty.  He agreed.

But Galileo didn’t keep his part of the bargain and again started teaching that the Earth revolved around the Sun, as truth. Some other jealous ‘scientists’ finked on him.

The Trial of Galileo Galilei

So Galileo was taken by the Inquisition and imprisoned. At least that is what some textbooks teach and lots of people believe.  But no, what happened was that he was asked to come and explain himself, he was housed at the Medici Villa in Rome.  A palace. Free of charge. With servants. Also free of charge.

He was tortured.  Well there again, no he wasn’t. That’s another myth. He attended parties, and had visitors.

But he was tried and convicted of heresy…right?  No again, sorry, he wasn’t.  He was charged with teaching his new theory as truth after he had promised not to, for breaking his word. He did so by writing a book in which he satirized the Pope as an imbecile. He certainly knew how to win friends and influence people

At the close of his trial Galileo is recorded as muttering under his breath “And yet it moves…” referring to the Earth.  Well here again, no he didn’t.  This is a legend started more than century after Galileo’s time.

He was sentenced to house arrest (pretty much for being an irritant, but they could only find him “suspect of heresy”). Heretics were burned at the stake. A house arrest which also allowed him to travel around the city, teach students (which did until he died), write, publish, conduct experiments, and have whatever visitors he wanted.

Galileo was a brilliant, and obstinate man with a big mouth, who thought he knew best and didn’t want to subject his theory to peer review. Yes.

Martyr for science?  No.

Tortured and imprisoned for his discoveries?  No.

Foot soldier in the war between science and religion?  No.

So the next time someone says “I think we should remember what the Church did to Galileo…”, you can set them straight.  The Church followed the course good science should take.

After all, truth is better than fiction isn’t it?


Blackwell, R.J. – Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible. London: University of Notre Dame, 1991.
Dante Aligheri – The Divine Comedy. Trans, Sayers, D.L., and Reynolds, B., 3 vols. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962.
Draper, J.W. – History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. London: Kegan Paul, 1890.
Galileo, Galilei – Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Trans, Drake, S. New York: Anchor, 1957.
Langford, J.J. Galileo, Science and the Church. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1971.
Moore, P. – Guide to Comets. London: Lutterworth. And A Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy. London: PRC Publishing, 1997.
Sampson, Philip – Six Modern Myths. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000.
Whitehead, A.N. – Science and the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Galileo’s Inquisition Trial Revisited By Jules Speller


The Baby-Boomer Generation

If you were born in the baby-boom after WWII through the end of the 1950’s, you’re a baby-boomer. It also means that you are fast approaching retirement, old age, and death. Sorry, it’s just a fact of life.

Another fact of life is money.  Everyone needs to have their needs and their wants taken care of.  So what should a baby-boomer, and you, do to maximize your resources in the next two decades?


If you were born in 1949, you are looking at being 65 in 2014.  Hopefully you have enjoyed a prosperous life and have socked away enough to enjoy your retirement in, if not complete style, in contentment instead of want.

However no one can change the past.  What if you didn’t?  What if you’re not a baby-boomer but, like them, don’t have a clue what to invest in?  What mistakes to avoid?

The #1 Retirement Mistake

The #1 retirement mistake made by people alive today is to underestimate their lifespan.  Fifty years ago, if you retired at the age of 58-62 you could expect a retirement that would last 5-10 years.  Perhaps a few more if you took care of your health.

Someone retiring today at the age of 65 needs to expect that they will need resources for 30-40 years.  Medical breakthroughs and an improved standard of living have given today’s generation a retirement almost as long as their working life.  Don’t be caught short at the most vulnerable time in your life.

The Stock Market

Many investors have taken a beating in the recent downturn in the stock market, but history shows it is still a major way to create long-term wealth.  So what should I invest in?

There are going to be several strong fields that people should be investing in right now.

Healthcare – with age comes disease
Healthcare Services – labs, home medical supplies, associated services
Assisted Living Care – nursing homes, centers, staffing for in-home and care centers, transportation
Funerary Services – everybody dies, someone has to provide the particulars for the end of life
Recreation – travel services catering to the elderly, cruise trips are especially popular right now

Real Estate

If there is one thing on Earth that they aren’t making any more of, it’s land.

Do you own a home?  Why not?

As the baby-boom generation retires and passes away, a lot of property will change hands.  The further into the future you look, the more of it that will come onto the market.  They will sell their big homes at a discount to move into smaller more manageable ones.  The next two decades will see some diamonds in the rough change hands, and there is no reason one pair of those hands shouldn’t be yours.

The Internet

Those entering retirement today are more likely to be tech savvy than ever.  Websites, blogs, services and such which cater to senior interests will catch fire and create wealth for another whole generation of geeks.  And there’s no reason why you, are someone already in retirement shouldn’t be the one writing or running one or more of those websites.

We live in interesting times, and a little education and forethought can make our own retirements that much better and longer.

photo by: quinn.anya

Holy Bible

A lot of people are saying that we cannot know what the Bible really says because of how many times it has been translated, and because those who copied the texts added words, changed words, and deleted words.

Is this true?  Is it possible that we cannot trust the Bible as we know it today?

The first argument is that the Bible has simply been copied too many times to know what the original manuscripts even said.

As an example something called “secret whispers” or “the telephone game” is trotted out to show what happens when you pass messages from one person to the next.  The game starts with people being separated into groups, and one person in each group is given a message, usually a sentence, that is then passed along by whispering it to the person next in line, who then proceeds to whisper to the next, and so on.  Finally when the message reaches the last person in line, it barely resembles the original message.

Fortunately this is either ignorance or intellectual dishonesty on the part of the whoever puts it forth as the reasoning for thinking that the Scripture we have today in no way resembles the original.

The problem is, copying Scripture is not a parlor game.  People dedicated not just their careers but their very lives to copying Scripture.  Neither oral tradition nor written Scriptures are in any way like the telephone game.  There were not just one person passing on one text to only one more person, and then repeating the process.  We have multitudes of people all passing along the texts to everyone they knew.

The fact is that we have manuscripts, copies of Scripture, that range in ages across a span of over a thousand years, and across locations hundreds and thousands of miles apart.  The benefit of this is that we can compare later documents with earlier documents to see if there are any changes.  We can compare documents found thousands of miles apart to see how they differ.

We can rest assured that the only significant changes that have occurred are those which are in line with how language has changed overtime.  Such as the fact that we no longer say “thee”, instead we say “you”.

We have over 25,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament alone.

Another argument is that the Bible has simply been translated too many times from one language to another.  This argument shows a severe lack of understanding of how the translation process works.

When ancient documents are translated they are not, for example, translated from Greek into Latin, and then from Latin into German, and then from German into English.  That’s not how it works.  Official translations always start at the beginning with the original languages of Hebrew, and Greek.

If anything, as time goes by and our knowledge of ancient cultures increases, our translations get better and more accurate.  Not less.

Disaffected former Christian and biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman says that we cannot know what the Bible originally said because scribes and the church have altered the texts, and that the manuscripts we have today show anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 different variants.  Meaning that there are 200,000 to 400,000 differences in the texts we have.  They call these differences – variances.  This is quite a lot since there are only 138,162 words in the Greek New Testament.

Is this true?


Well at least the part about there being 200,000 to 400,000 variances in the texts.  But it is most decidedly not true that these variances make any fundamental changes to what Scripture says or for the most part even affect the individual words and verses.

The first thing that one must understand is what exactly constitutes a variance.

The most common variant is a misspelled word.  Indeed the most common variant found is the habit in the Greek to put an “n” at the end of a word if the next word starts with a vowel.  Because of this habit many words, especially names, would sometimes appear misspelled because they would have an “n” on the end.

As a matter of fact, as many as 80% of all variants are differences in the spelling of words.  Variants which have absolutely no affect on what a word is translated as.

Other variants include the use of the wrong word, an obvious mistake made by a tired scribe. The usage of connective words such as “the”, “and”, etc.

More variants come from manuscripts such as prayer books and lexicons.  Where someone may have prepared a daily lesson book for example.  A stretch of Scripture may all refer to a particular person, for example Jesus, without mentioning the name in the following verses.  When someone prepared these lexicons and lesson books they substituted the actual names the verses are referring to for the words “he”, “his”, etc.  This just made things clear for the person reading from the lesson or prayer book, it in no way changes the meaning, but it is still considered a variant.

Daniel B. Wallace PhD., one of the foremost scholars of textual criticism says that since 1707 A.D. “No cardinal or essential doctrine is altered by any textual variant that has plausibility of going back to the original.  The evidence for this has not changed to this day.”

Wallace also gives us an excellent explanation of what it means when believers say the Bible is both inerrant and infallible.

The Bible is infallible, in that it is true in what it teaches, its foundational doctrines, and what that means in reference to faith and practice.

The Bible is inerrant, in that it is true on what it touches, in what it records about what God has done in history, faith, and believers.

As Wallace says in his own words: “So if we were to build a pyramid of bibliology, the broad foundation would be – I believe that God has done great acts in history and the Bible has recorded some of those. On top of that would be – The Bible is telling me the truth when it comes to matters of faith and practice.  And at the very top would be – The Bible is true in what it touches.”

The person who says that if I can find one error in the Bible then the whole thing is a wash, is ignorant.  They are ignorant of scholarship, ignorant of methodology, and ignorant of the Bible itself.

Anyone who would argue against faith based on the “possible” inaccuracy of the Bible when it comes to the texts is not presenting an honest argument.  Their goal is to destroy the faith of those less educated than themselves.  Quite despicable really.

The only conclusion one can reach in all scholarly honesty is that we can trust that we have the word God has given to us as having been passed down correctly.

photo by: Jemimus

Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy Changes 2014

Everyone has privacy concerns when it comes to the internet. Seems like just about every website you visit wants some kind of information from you in return for reading, using, or getting something free from their site.

If you own one of these sites and collect personally identifiable information from anyone (and you probably do, at the very least you or your CMS  likely collect their IP, which may be personally identifiable) you need to be concerned with the laws regarding the privacy of your users.

The government and the BBB have announced increased enforcement of internet privacy compliance. The BBB, Better Business Bureau, has a full program setup to look into this and force compliance.

If you’re already in step with privacy concerns you will know that the law up until now has been fairly straightforward. Here is what the law was until the last day of 2013:

  • You must identify what personally identifiable information is collected when someone visits or uses your website.
  • You must state whether this information will be shared with any third parties, what categories of information will be shared, and what categories the third parties receiving this information might be.
  • You must state whether or not you have a process whereby a user may review and/or request changes to the information you’ve collected.
  • You must state how users will be notified of changes to this privacy policy.
  • You must state the effective date of the policy.

For 2014 these are still all in effect.

Plus these below, which are local to California. What this means is that regardless of where you are, if someone who is a resident of California visits your site, you need to be in compliance with California law.

Example – you might live in New Jersey. If a resident of California, uses your website while on vacation in Utah, technically your website must comply with these additional provisions. Not doing so can subject you to legal remedy.

This does not bode well since other States will assuredly rush to enter the arena by drafting their own additional rules. This could become a big mess really quick.

But for now effective January 1, 2014:

  • You must disclose how you will deal with “do not track” signals provided by a user regarding tracking a visitor over time and across third-party websites.
  • You must state how a user can exercise choice regarding this tracking.
  • You must disclose whether third-party websites might track them over time or across other websites by visiting/using your website.
  • You must use the word PRIVACY in all capital letters that are larger than the surrounding type or a different color.
  • You must use “enhanced” notification of your privacy policy

Website owners who use the “enhanced notice transparency approach” will be covered under the amended CalOPPA.

This isn’t just for the big box retail websites, this is for almost everyone.  If you do any of the following, you may be liable under this new legislation:

  • If you collect any personally identifiable information
  • If you use any kind of analytics software, such as Google Analytics
  • If you use Retarget Marketing
  • If you use or host any kind of advertising, even Adsense

But, you say: What can they do to me, I don’t live anywhere near California?

While it’s true that if someone who is outside the US visits your website and doesn’t like that you’re not in compliance, they’re pretty much SOL. On the hand, inside the US, not being in compliance might mean:

  • Being sued
  • Website shutdown
  • Your content legally stolen from you
  • Damage to your reputation and brand
  • The government can freeze your bank and financial accounts
  • Being forced to pay the court costs of those who sue you
  • Pay attorney’s fees
  • Pay regulatory fees
  • You might face incarceration
  • The government might ‘seize’ your assets

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. In November 2013 Google just settled its own ‘behavioral tracking’ case with the FTC to the tune of $17 million dollars.

If this sounds like a lot to take care of…it is. It certainly took me quite awhile to pull just this much info together. But if you’d like a simpler solution and know that you get it right; if you use WordPress you might want to think about the Privacy Simplified Plugin. This plugin will keep you up to date with the latest changes in the law while dealing with all the issues you might face in what you need to disclose. Written by lawyers to comply with the law. Best of all it comes with a money back guarantee.

If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth or you don’t use WordPress, take a look at Online Legal Pages. A solution by the same people who wrote and designed Privacy Simplified it comes with the same great money back guarantee. It solves problems such as Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, Anti-Spam Policy, Earnings Disclaimer, Health Disclaimers and Copyright Notice. Simple to use and keeps you updated.

*And of course, the material disclosure. If you purchase either of these solutions you will help me keep this website free (because I may be compensated for letting you know about them) and you up to date with the latest news.


photo by: Steve Rhode

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