So I attended a lecture yesterday with Cindy about the trial of Galileo, and the speaker was explaining that Galileo wasn't put into a cell during the proceedings. Instead, he was placed in a building that was used for "guests who weren't really on trial or officially charged with anything."
Me: "Like Guantanamo."
We disagreed on whether or not this was controversial, so I figured that I should write something before I forget all about it. I didn't think it was controversial at all, as it's just a statement of fact. Any disagreement would not come from an ideological difference (where I see controversy as needing to live), but from a lack of information.
In my view, controversial would be stating an opinion. "We shouldn't be putting people in Guantanamo." "We should send more people there." Perhaps bringing up an ugly fact is in poor taste, but I don't think it can be controversial. The only potential controversy would be over whether or not I should have said it, which would then make every single thing everyone ever says into something of controversy.
Anyhow, the talk was pretty informative, and I think I would have liked Galileo a great deal. He apparently didn't just have to win arguments, but enjoyed making his opponents look like imbeciles.
The speaker attributed a lot of Galileo's argumentative success to his being better equipped than anyone else alive at the time. Even when he was wrong about his own contentions, he could destroy anything set forth by any opponent. They couldn't argue in the same league as he did.