heliocentric theory

The Galileo Controversy

It is commonly believed that the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo for abandoning the geocentric (earth-at-the-center) view of the solar system for the heliocentric (sun-at-the-center) view.

The Galileo case, for many anti-Catholics, is thought to prove that the Church abhors science, refuses to abandon outdated teachings, and is not infallible. For Catholics, the episode is often an embarrassment. It shouldn’t be.

This tract provides a brief explanation of what really happened to Galileo.


The Church is not anti-scientific. It has supported scientific endeavors for centuries. During Galileo’s time, the Jesuits had a highly respected group of astronomers and scientists in Rome. In addition, many notable scientists received encouragement and funding from the Church and from individual Church officials. Many of the scientific advances during this period were made either by clerics or as a result of Church funding.

Nicolaus Copernicus dedicated his most famous work, On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, in which he gave an excellent account of heliocentricity, to Pope Paul III. Copernicus entrusted this work to Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran clergyman who knew that Protestant reaction to it would be negative, since Martin Luther seemed to have condemned the new theory, and, as a result, the book would be condemned. Osiander wrote a preface to the book, in which heliocentrism was presented only as a theory that would account for the movements of the planets more simply than geocentrism did—something Copernicus did not intend.

Ten years prior to Galileo, Johannes Kepler
published a heliocentric work that expanded on Copernicus’ work. As a result, Kepler also found opposition among his fellow Protestants for his heliocentric views and found a welcome reception among some Jesuits who were known for their scientific achievements.

Clinging to Tradition?

Anti-Catholics often cite the Galileo case as an example of the Church refusing to abandon outdated or incorrect teaching, and clinging to a “tradition.” They fail to realize that the judges who presided over Galileo’s case were not the only people who held to a geocentric view of the universe. It was the received view among scientists at the time.

Centuries earlier, Aristotle had refuted heliocentricity, and by Galileo’s time, nearly every major thinker subscribed to a geocentric view. Copernicus refrained from publishing his heliocentric theory for some time, not out of fear of censure from the Church, but out of fear of ridicule from his colleagues.

Many people wrongly believe Galileo proved heliocentricity. He could not answer the strongest argument against it, which had been made nearly two thousand years earlier by Aristotle: If heliocentrism were true, then there would be observable parallax shifts in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. However, given the technology of Galileo’s time, no such shifts in their positions could be observed. It would require more sensitive measuring equipment than was available in Galileo’s day to document the existence of these shifts, given the stars’ great distance. Until then, the available evidence suggested that the stars were fixed in their positions relative to the earth, and, thus, that the earth and the stars were not moving in space—only the sun, moon, and planets were.

Thus Galileo did not prove the theory by the Aristotelian standards of science in his day. In his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina and other documents, Galileo claimed that the Copernican theory had the “sensible demonstrations” needed according to Aristotelian science, but most knew that such demonstrations were not yet forthcoming. Most astronomers in that day were not convinced of the great distance of the stars that the Copernican theory required to account for the absence of observable parallax shifts. This is one of the main reasons why the respected astronomer Tycho Brahe refused to adopt Copernicus fully.

Galileo could have safely proposed heliocentricity as a theory or a method to more simply account for the planets’ motions. His problem arose when he stopped proposing it as a scientific theory and began proclaiming it as truth, though there was no conclusive proof of it at the time. Even so, Galileo would not have been in so much trouble if he had chosen to stay within the realm of science and out of the realm of theology. But, despite his friends’ warnings, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds.

In 1614, Galileo felt compelled to answer the charge that this “new science” was contrary to certain Scripture passages. His opponents pointed to Bible passages with statements like, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed …” (Josh. 10:13). This is not an isolated occurrence. Psalms 93 and 104 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 also speak of celestial motion and terrestrial stability. A literalistic reading of these passages would have to be abandoned if the heliocentric theory were adopted. Yet this should not have posed a problem. As Augustine put it, “One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: ‘I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.’ For he willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.” Following Augustine’s example, Galileo urged caution in not interpreting these biblical statements too literally.

Unfortunately, throughout Church history there have been those who insist on reading the Bible in a more literal sense than it was intended. They fail to appreciate, for example, instances in which Scripture uses what is called “phenomenological” language—that is, the language of appearances. Just as we today speak of the sun rising and setting to cause day and night, rather than the earth turning, so did the ancients. From an earthbound perspective, the sun does appear to rise and appear to set, and the earth appears to be immobile. When we describe these things according to their appearances, we are using phenomenological language.

The phenomenological language concerning the motion of the heavens and the non-motion of the earth is obvious to us today, but was less so in previous centuries. Scripture scholars of the past were willing to consider whether particular statements were to be taken literally or phenomenologically, but they did not like being told by a non-Scripture scholar, such as Galileo, that the words of the sacred page must be taken in a particular sense.

During this period, personal interpretation of Scripture was a sensitive subject. In the early 1600s, the Church had just been through the Reformation experience, and one of the chief quarrels with Protestants was over individual interpretation of the Bible.

Theologians were not prepared to entertain the heliocentric theory based on a layman’s interpretation. Yet Galileo insisted on moving the debate into a theological realm. There is little question that if Galileo had kept the discussion within the accepted boundaries of astronomy (i.e., predicting planetary motions) and had not claimed physical truth for the heliocentric theory, the issue would not have escalated to the point it did. After all, he had not proved the new theory beyond reasonable doubt.

Galileo “Confronts” Rome

Galileo came to Rome to see Pope Paul V (1605-1621). The pope, weary of controversy, turned the matter over to the Holy Office, which issued a condemnation of Galileo’s theory in 1616. Things returned to relative quiet for a time, until Galileo forced another showdown.

At Galileo’s request, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit—one of the most important Catholic theologians of the day—issued a certificate that, although it forbade Galileo to hold or defend the heliocentric theory, did not prevent him from conjecturing it. When Galileo met with the new pope, Urban VIII, in 1623, he received permission from his longtime friend to write a work on heliocentrism, but the new pontiff cautioned him not to advocate the new position, only to present arguments for and against it. When Galileo wrote the Dialogue on the Two World Systems, he used an argument the pope had offered, and placed it in the mouth of his character Simplicio. Galileo, perhaps inadvertently, made fun of the pope, a result that could only have disastrous consequences. Urban felt mocked and could not believe how his friend could disgrace him publicly. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. He also alienated his long-time supporters, the Jesuits, with attacks on one of their astronomers. The result was the infamous trial, which is still heralded as the final separation of science and religion.

Tortured for His Beliefs?

In the end, Galileo recanted his heliocentric teachings, but it was not—as is commonly supposed—under torture nor after a harsh imprison- ment. Galileo was, in fact, treated surprisingly well.

As historian Giorgio de Santillana, who is not overly fond of the Catholic Church, noted, “We must, if anything, admire the cautiousness and legal scruples of the Roman authorities.” Galileo was offered every convenience possible to make his imprisonment in his home bearable.

Galileo’s friend Nicolini, Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican, sent regular reports to the court regarding affairs in Rome. Many of his letters dealt with the ongoing controversy surrounding Galileo.

Nicolini revealed the circumstances surrounding Galileo’s “imprisonment” when he reported to the Tuscan king: “The pope told me that he had shown Galileo a favor never accorded to another” (letter dated Feb. 13, 1633); “ … he has a servant and every convenience” (letter, April 16); and “[i]n regard to the person of Galileo, he ought to be imprisoned for some time because he disobeyed the orders of 1616, but the pope says that after the publication of the sentence he will consider with me as to what can be done to afflict him as little as possible” (letter, June 18).

Had Galileo been tortured, Nicolini would have reported it to his king. While instruments of torture may have been present during Galileo’s recantation (this was the custom of the legal system in Europe at that time), they definitely were not used.

The records demonstrate that Galileo could not be tortured because of regulations laid down in The Directory for Inquisitors (Nicholas Eymeric, 1595). This was the official guide of the Holy Office, the Church office charged with dealing with such matters, and was followed to the letter.

As noted scientist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, in an age that saw a large number of “witches” subjected to torture and execution by Protestants in New England, “the worst that happened to the men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof.” Even so, the Catholic Church today acknowledges that Galileo’s condemnation was wrong. The Vatican has even issued two stamps of Galileo as an expression of regret for his mistreatment.


Although three of the ten cardinals who judged Galileo refused to sign the verdict, his works were eventually condemned. Anti-Catholics often assert that his conviction and later rehabilitation somehow disproves the doctrine of papal infallibility, but this is not the case, for the pope never tried to make an infallible ruling concerning Galileo’s views.

The Church has never claimed ordinary tribunals, such as the one that judged Galileo, to be infallible. Church tribunals have disciplinary and juridical authority only; neither they nor their decisions are infallible.

No ecumenical council met concerning Galileo, and the pope was not at the center of the discussions, which were handled by the Holy Office. When the Holy Office finished its work, Urban VIII ratified its verdict, but did not attempt to engage infallibility.

Three conditions must be met for a pope to exercise the charism of infallibility: (1) he must speak in his official capacity as the successor of Peter; (2) he must speak on a matter of faith or morals; and (3) he must solemnly define the doctrine as one that must be held by all the faithful.

In Galileo’s case, the second and third conditions were not present, and possibly not even the first. Catholic theology has never claimed that a mere papal ratification of a tribunal decree is an exercise of infallibility. It is a straw man argument to represent the Catholic Church as having infallibly defined a scientific theory that turned out to be false. The strongest claim that can be made is that the Church of Galileo’s day issued a non-infallible disciplinary ruling concerning a scientist who was advocating a new and still-unproved theory and demanding that the Church change its understanding of Scripture to fit his.

It is a good thing that the Church did not rush to embrace Galileo’s views, because it turned out that his ideas were not entirely correct, either. Galileo believed that the sun was not just the fixed center of the solar system but the fixed center of the universe. We now know that the sun is not the center of the universe and that it does move—it simply orbits the center of the galaxy rather than the earth.

As more recent science has shown, both Galileo and his opponents were partly right and partly wrong. Galileo was right in asserting the mobility of the earth and wrong in asserting the immobility of the sun. His opponents were right in asserting the mobility of the sun and wrong in asserting the immobility of the earth.

Had the Catholic Church rushed to endorse Galileo’s views—and there were many in the Church who were quite favorable to them—the Church would have embraced what modern science has disproved.

“The greatest triumphs of man were those in which his mind had to free itself from the influence of delusive appearances. Such was the revelation of Buddha that self is an illusion caused by the persistence and continuity of mental images: the discovery of Copernicus that, contrary to all observation, this planet rotates around the sun; the recognition of Descartes that the human being is an automaton, governed by external influence and the idea that the earth is spherical, which led Columbus to the finding of this continent.”

-Nikola Tesla

“Famous Scientific Illusions.” Electrical Experimenter, February, 1919.

Feyerabend’s proof that p:
The theory p, though “refuted” by the anomaly q and a thousand others, may nevertheless be adhered to by a scientist for any length of time; and “rationally” adhered to. For did not the most “absurd” of theories, heliocentrism, stage a come-back after two thousand years? And is not Voodoo now emerging from a long period of unmerited neglect?

prime six

you and i are transferential
flattered by heliocentric theories of our own light
which rips the darkness by the seams
so that one day we might
selfishly tell the light from the light

I headcanon that Reiji is a huge Philosophy nerd, speculations under the cut :^)

first off, you know, I think Reiji is interested in Philosophy just looking at some monsters in his deck: Copernicus, Newton, Keplero, Galileo.

Well, we could split Philosophy in two parts right now: the one that focuses on the study “spiritual” part of humankind and the one that focuses on phisis. And of course the philosophers I listed before belong to the second part.

What I’m going to do right now is to add some philosophers he can be interested in and why. Let’s start!

Galileo: He proved Copernicus’s heliocentric theory, but he was forced to recant because it was considered heretic. Also, thanks to the study of tide movements (Lunar attraction) and of the revolution of the Earth), he proved that Aristotle’s theories are wrong. Since Aristotle has been an important pillar of Philophy for 2000 years, Galileo had a great impact on Philosophy and Scientific world.

This is why I believe Reiji is interested in Galileo. Despite having the Church against him, he managed to have such a great impact, he signed a revolution of time. That’s the kind of person he sees himself into? I mean, someone who can totally oppose to those who try to silence him, just to prove that what he wants to say is right — You know, someone always rushing towards what he believes in ( got the reference??). Also, I can’t see him interested in philosophers like Aristotle and Plato: Aristotle for what I’ve said before, about Plato.. He focuses more on love passions and the afterlife, he doesn’t seem the type ? I don’t even think Reiji is interested in the Hyperuranium (the perfect world of whose the real world is only a projection of).

Newton: he studied light and colors, also he theorized the Law of Gravity, wich is based on Keplero’s three laws. Phisis aside, something that picked my attention is this statement: “Nature has no absolute laws.”. No absolutes in Nature, eh? Reiji said before that “there’s no absolute in dueling, as there’s no absolute in business”. Maybe I’m just imagining things (of course I am) but to me this seemed like he’s kinda influenced by Newton’s theories.

Cartesius: first off, Reiji’s dub name “Declan” is acually based on Cartesius’ real name “Descartes” (Source: wikia). Most of Cartesius’ studies ((Math aside)) focus on creating a new method that can lead humans to a genuine knowledge, based on truths that we can believe in without any doubt. One of these truths is the one that humans are rational beings: “Cogito ergo sum”(I think, therefore I am). Maybe I’m imagining things again (I’m tired sorry), but Reiji sure is a person who needs to know everything of what is around him, and who won’t let any detail left unseen under his eyes. 

In conclusion, I think Reiji kinda relates with those philosophers ? And with philosophy in general – Philosophy as the love for knowledge.

Dark Fate Mukami Prologue Translation

If you choose Ruki     If you choose Kou     If you choose Yuma      If you choose Azusa


――Life is meaningless without a light called ‘love’.



Socrates: … …Mm… …

Karlheinz: Too fast to live, my friend.

Socrates: My my. How many defeats does this make it?

Karlheinz: This would be the 183rd time.

Socrates: … …It can’t be, right?

Karlheinz: It is, no doubt. Right here… …I mark the board for track. Look. There’s 183.

Socrates: Sigh… …Damn!

Karlheinz: No need to get irritated, friend. The more we play, the better of chance there is for the day to come where you’ll win.

Keep reading

Nicolaus Copernicus - the first person to come up with the mathematics for a heliocentric theory of the universe (technically, the Greek astronomer Aristarchus proposed a sun centered universe back in ancient times, but Copernicus developed it further and jumpstarted the scientific revolution in Europe). In addition to his work and astronomy, he practiced medicine and had a doctorate in canon law.

And just look at him :D

Much blame has been directed at [Pope] Urban for the Inquisition’s condemnation of Galileo and the prohibition of his ‘Dialogue on the Great World Systems’. In fact he cannot reasonably be reproached for his attitude toward the affair, which was always one of studious moderation. When, in 1615, Galileo first got into trouble for his advocacy of the Copernican system, we find Matteo Barberini, at that time a Cardinal, declaring his admiration for the great mathematician but warning him not to fall foul of the theologians. It was partly owing to his intervention with Paul V that the Holy Office’s decree of 1616 denouncing the heliocentric theory was followed, so far as Galileo was concerned, by a new admonition from Cardinal Bellarmine. Otherwise he was not punished. 
There was never any danger of his being sent to the stake like that earlier victim of Bellarmine, Giordano Bruno. But Bruno, the apostate Dominican whose free-thinking philosophy cut at the roots of Catholic doctrine, was in a very different category from the astronomer who, in Barberini’s view, was doing no worse than propounding a brilliant hypothesis. 
Urban’s friendship with Galileo survived the admonition. In 1633, when Galileo was hauled before the Inquisition for the second time, the Pope took the utmost care to ensure that he was leniently treated, that he was not put in prison and that his trial and abjuration were so managed as to allow him to stay unharassed and in comfortable retirement for the remaining nine years of his life.

Sir Nicholas Cheetham, Keepers of the Keys: A History of the Popes from St. Peter to John Paul II (1982)

There are some additional points to make about Giordano Bruno, with whom Tumblr has a bizarre fascination. He was ordained a Catholic priest when he was a young man, but his heresy became evident a few years later. After  fleeing from his Dominican Order and his charges of heresy, he was (in no particular order):

  • excommunicated by the Catholic Church
  • and by the Calvinists 
  • and by the Lutherans 
  • and denied from lecturing at Oxford

When he was denounced to the Venetian Inquisition and later extradited to the Roman Inquisition, his charges were not about his science and heliocentrism (which was terrible), but about his faith (which was openly heretical). The Catholic Church didn’t even have a position on heliocentrism yet. That would come about 30 years later, with Galileo - who got in trouble because he argued heliocentrism was truth, rather than hypothesis. 

Bruno was kept in prison before his trial for roughly 6 years - it is hypothesized that Church and state officials spent that time encouraging him to recant. After a trial in 1599, he was condemned to death for heresy against the Catholic Church, since he was a Catholic priest who had actively and knowingly preached anti-Catholic teaching
It is critical to note that inquisition tribunals were an interesting mix of Church and state power. The Church did not retain the right to put people to death. Parties condemned to death were turned over to the appropriate secular power, who could decide to carry out the judgment. Before the French Revolution, religion and politics were knit closely together - heretics of the national religion were typically seen as enemies of the state as well. 

It has been remarked that he was a poor theologian and an even poorer scientist - it is nearly impossible to make sense his his pseudo-scientific works. Bruno should be found offensive not only by Catholics, but by Calvinists, Lutherans, scholars, and scientists. 
(via byjoveimbeinghumble)

danigreyjoy  asked:

We just went over heliocentric theory in world history but no one could decide on the wording: is the sun at the center of the solar system, galaxy, or universe? I feel like it's solar system but I'm unsure - space isn't my forte.

The sun is the center of our solar system…it’s on the edge of our galaxy…and there is no center of the universe, because…no edge.

The center of the galaxy is a super unpleasant place to be…lots of very deadly radiation…so let’s be glad we’re not there.

A note on the Church and science

Here’s a letter from a certain Catholic I love:

Believe it or not, I learned all about Copernicus in school, and not ONE WORD was said about his being a Catholic priest. Just found that out this week. Turns out Nicholas Copernicus was asked by the Pope to fix the calendar, which the educated clergy knew was wrong due to incorrect astronomical calculations. Same pope who excommunicated Martin Luther. Copernicus was afraid of ridicule for his heliocentric theory, but his uncle, Bishop of Heilsberg, encouraged him. It was the Church that taught Copernicus- he went to five different universities, all founded by the Church, and excelled. One of his students presented the theory to another pope, Clement VII, who rewarded him with a rare Greek manuscript. Same pope who put his foot down with Henry VIII.

The article goes on to say:

“These were not flat-footed peasants staring at the ground to watch it move. Nor were they Lutherans, who disparaged philosophy and said that Scripture alone, in its most obvious sense, teaches men all they need to know….”

“Ridicule? What deserves ridicule is the idea the Church was ever afraid of learning. She invented the universities, preserved the works of the great pagans, and built schools in every diocese, many providing instruction gratis for the poor. She inspired and commissioned the greatest artists the world has known- Michelangelo was among thousands. Her monks turned northern Europe into a garden of grain and fruit, making agricultural, medical, architectural, and mechanical innovations for more than a millennium. Her main purpose was to lead men to God, not to teach them farming, arts, and letters, statesmanship, and astronomy, but she could hardly have done more if she had been established solely for those purposes; and no institution in history has done more.”

anonymous asked:

No. No. No. No. So much no. The fundamental principles of science state that no scientific theory can be "proven" and no scientist should ever call it "fact". Scientific theories are developed, evidence is found to SUPPORT or DISPROVE them, but they are never "proven". Please, I beg you, remove that post.

Is Evolution a Theory or a Fact?
It is both. But that answer requires looking more deeply at the meanings of the words “theory” and “fact.”
In everyday usage, “theory” often refers to a hunch or a speculation. When people say, “I have a theory about why that happened,” they are often drawing a conclusion based on fragmentary or inconclusive evidence.
The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.
Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the Sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously.
One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed. For example, the theory of gravitation predicted the behavior of objects on the Moon and other planets long before the activities of spacecraft and astronauts confirmed them. The evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik predicted that they would find fossils intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial animals in sediments that were about 375 million years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction made on the basis of evolutionary theory. In turn, confirmation of a prediction increases confidence in that theory.
In science, a “fact” typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term “fact” to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.

Sources: berkley.edu, nap.edu, me :)

anonymous asked:

The best part of patriarchy theory is that it suggests men are powerful/intelligent enough to structure an entire global system where their gender receives boundless privileges and favor, but also dumb enough to create a system that "backfires" (as they call it) in major ways like male rape not even being considered a crime, a lack of support for male abuse victims, etc. Also, despite this, the "girls run the world" narrative is pushed unless there's something to be gained from playing victim.

It’s the Heliocentric system of social theories.