As science educators, we experience the intersection of science and culture every time we talk with a student whose personal beliefs conflict with scientific knowledge. Outside of the classroom, we witness politicians and other influential people who doubt, distrust, or even condemn scientists and the knowledge they produce. Conflicts can arise when there is misalignment between science and one's religion, politics, or worldview.

If we consider the history of science, Galileo's trial in the 17th century was certainly not the first conflict between science and culture, but it was perhaps the most prominent and its effects the most long-lasting. In On Trial for Reason, historian Maurice Finocchiaro provides a nuanced and thoughtful analysis of the trail of Galileo, including the issues that preceded it and those that continue today.

In 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy by the Catholic Inquisition for his empirical defense of the Copernican idea that...

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