Waking the Dead — and for What?

Well, I was having a great birthday today. But, I just made the mistake of looking at the news which, aside from Obama’s inauguration, I had been avoiding due to its deeply depressing content. And man, did this news item bring me down.

It seems that some eggheads have decided to dig up the body of Galileo. Why would they do that, you ask? Great question. I wish there was a good answer.

Reuters explains:

Italian and British scientists want to exhume the body of 16th century astronomer Galileo for DNA tests to determine if his severe vision problems may have affected some of his findings.

The scientists told Reuters on Thursday that DNA tests would help answer some unresolved questions about the health of the man known as the father of astronomy, whom the Vatican condemned for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun.

“If we knew exactly what was wrong with his eyes we could use computer models to recreate what he saw in his telescope,” said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museum of History and Science in Florence, the city where Galileo is buried.

Jesus Marie. This is one of the dumbest reasons for digging up someone I’ve ever heard. Galileo got it right. Do we need to know precisely why? Is that worth disturbing the dead?

Galileo had a tough life. He told the truth but was put on trial for heresy by the Inquisition. After he died, his remains were hidden in a bell tower room for a century because the Church opposed a proper burial.

Leave the poor man alone. Science doesn’t have to answer every question it poses. Leave us with a little bit of mystery about the past. Rest in peace means….rest in peace.