I am curious to hear David Mermin’s view, in light of his May 2009 Reference Frame, of Galileo’s condemnation by the church.

That episode is still considered a scandal by most scientists. For example, several physicists cited the Galileo affair as their reason for opposing the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the University of Rome I (“La Sapienza”) last year.

Could we perhaps say that Mermin would agree with those who refuse to recognize any objective truth in physical theories yet support them as useful descriptions of successions of events, thus condemning Galileo’s quest for ontologically realistic theories?

Is the proposition that Earth travels around the Sun ultimately a mere calculational device?