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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Galileo Galilei: The Greatest Contributor to the Scientific Revolution?

In a recent discussion in one of my classes, I was asked who I believed to be the greatest contributor to the Scientific Revolution? I am a great supporter of the scientists that remained true to their beliefs, and did not fall under the stringent restrictions of the Catholic Church. Galileo Galilei was one such scientist who recognized a problem with the interpretations of physical science and how the Catholic Church viewed them. This was only the beginning of the conflicts between religion and science.

Nature is clearly a phenomenon which was originally derived from the supernatural to the galactic universe. The name itself comes from the Latin word “Natura” or “the course of things”, relating to animals, plants, the sky above, the earth below, the soul of a human being and the aspects of the world. So it’s only fitting that Galileo would revolutionize mathematical reasoning in a way that relates to events in nature and how things move and fall.

His teachers educated themselves by way of the page, lacking of any observations of natural phenomenon. However scholars, who did partake in observing nature, stopped their research there without further experimentation. Galileo invented experiments and considered them necessary to arrive at hypothetical conclusions, whether they discriminated against imagination or the physical aspects of nature was completely relative.

His results were derived from a meticulous mathematical process of testing, and to be completely honest, all experiments scientific, anthropological, political, environmental, etc, go through stringent mathematical models to arrive at several theories. So to call him a conservative would be blatant excuse for an insult. He was an innovator and didn’t hide behind the views of the church, which makes me respect him even more.

He wrote his findings in Italian, which at the time all of the scientists had written in Latin only for the benefit of learned men. However, Galileo wanted all literary minds to enjoy his work, which is a far stretch from Copernicus that remained conservative to appease the ideals of the Catholic Church. What’s that they say? The over conservative ones get left behind.

Hi mind was an array of new phenomena, and his skillful hands were able to invent a telescope to examine all that was unaccepted. His conclusions throughout his life led him down a path that brought persecution down on him, until he spent the last years of his life in seclusion. Galileo sought out the freedom of thought in science, which will in my opinion; makes him the greatest contributor to the Scientific Revolution.

Max Born was quoted as saying “The scientific attitude and methods of experimental and theoretical research has been the same since Galileo and will remain so”.

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Rossitza Ohridska-Olson said...

I totally agree with you that the Catholic (and all Western churches) were against the scientific progress. The Eastern Orthodox Church never tried to stop the scientific progress. In the Byzantine Empire, where the science and religion didn't fight, the imperial Magnaur University in Constantinople supported translations from the Ancient scientists. With the fanatic Crusaders burning the Constantinople Library a lot of scientific discoveries were lost thanks to the western religious fanaticism.

Even the Muslims were not against the science: Murat II married a Christian woman and bought a Gutenberg press in the 16th century, so he can salvage what was left from the Constantinople library, which, btw, had a lot of inherited volumes from the Alexandria Library, burned by the Romans.

Unfortunately, Renaissance or not, the West continued to destroy science because of ideological doctrines.

That continues until our times, with stopping stem cell research, and other idiocies provoked by religious fanaticism.

Pastor Larry said...

I am a big fan of Galileo - thanks for posting

The Ancient Digger said...

Thanks for the comments Larry. So nice to see you around. I saw that picture of you holding the skull on your last dig. So lucky!

The Ancient Digger said...


It's interesting really to see now a days how people's interpretations of science are based on their current religious beliefs.

I'm usually the first person to start a debate when someone says a scientist like Copernicus, who followed the restrictions of the Church, was a great innovator and paved the way for scientists.

I believe the ones that took risks, and didn't look back or consider the repercussions, were the scientists we remember.

I also agree with you about the "West". The negative impact of all of those years of religious doctrines can still be seen today.

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