What the Reformation really did for science

There’s something thrilling about how, five centuries ago, the rebel monk Martin Luther defied his accusers. At a council (‘Diet’) in the German city of Worms in 1521, his safety and possibly his life were on the line. But this – his supporters avowed – was how he concluded his defence before the representatives of the pope Leo X:
“I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand, may God help me.”

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