Galileo 101


#1

As the name says, this is a thread for those of us who dont know much about astronomy or Galileo, but would appreciate it if someone could tell us what happened, both the scientific aspects as well as the controversy with Church views.


#2

Galileo’s mistake was his arrogance, not his theory.

The Popes of the era strongly supported science! Pope Urban VIII was Galileo’s benefactor; that means he sponsored his research.

The Church was on the defensive as the protestant error took hold of so many of the weakest intellects of the time. So she was loathe to see Galileo out there crowing that the bible was not literally true.

But the real issue was NOT that the Church was afraid of science, or denied the sun could orbit the earth. The real issue was that Galileo had a big mouth, and took pot-shots at the Church; he acted as if there was a WALL between faith and reason, as if one must choose one or the other, which as anyone knows is absolutely NOT the Catholic tradition.

In a famous letter to Mr. Galileo, Robert Bellarmine told him that the theory that the earth is not the center of the universe might very well be true. And if it is, then theologians will have to work out the theological details. But until there was decisive evidence, would Mr. Galileo please stop over-reaching his level of certainty, and in his presumption to tell theologians what is REAL, thank you very much?

The rest is history. Enlightenment liberals use Galileo as their pagan saint to prove the Church is backward. The dirty secret is that they hope that by vaguely referring to “the whole Galileo thing” they can dismiss religion without seriously confronting it as it really is.


#3

[quote=Catholic Dude]As the name says, this is a thread for those of us who dont know much about astronomy or Galileo, but would appreciate it if someone could tell us what happened, both the scientific aspects as well as the controversy with Church views.
[/quote]

See my Three part series, Geocentricity 101:

Part I: Basic Principles

Part II: Basic Physics

Part III: Scriptural and Church Position

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#4

I’ll let others get to the facts. My contribution will be an interesting aspect of the dynamic of the reformation.

It’s interesting that before Galileo, Nicholas Copernicus said the same thing that Galileo said, that the earth orbits the sun. The Church did not recoil at the theory. There has traditionally not been a conflict between faith and reason in the Church.

But some years later, when Galileo came along, the Council of Trent had somewhat defensively affirmed the literal interpretation of scripture. The protestant error was taking hold of the weakest intellects of the time, and the Church reacted by trying to dumb-down her own doctrine.

Historian Jacques Barzun said “one could say that in a roundabout fashion, it was these [protestant] bible-ridden revolutionists who got Galileo condemned for his astronomy. If the literalism of the word had not been adopted at Trent to show that Catholics too revered scripture, there would have been no need to make science confirm Genesis.”

Robert Bellarmine tried to walk a fine line between admitting that the theory might very well be true, while insisting it was up to theologians to interpret scripture.

Some might say that in earlier days, the Church would have embraced Galileo enthusiastically. Indeed, Pope Urban VIII was Galileo’s benefactor until it became apparent that Galileo was using his theory to make fun of the Church.

But embroiled as she was in a debate over literal interpretation of scripture, the Church temporarily lost her good judgment and tried to rein in Galileo, giving the false impression that the Church forced one to choose between faith and reason.


#5

Let me add that the science part of the series is based on the arguments that invalidated Gary Hoge’s false demonstration against geocentrism (based on geosynchronous satellites)- at least according to Gary’s chosen representative (Marty Rothwell):

Gary delegates
Marty Rothwell Introduction
[size=2]
A frank admission by Marty (3of 3)
“Anyway, my friend Gary Hoge started corresponding with Sungenis and debating him on the topic. Gary made good points, and Sungenis really didn’t answer him very well. Mark Wyatt was the first person who showed the fallacy in Gary’s argument by pointing out GR says that any physical phenomenon can be explained from any CS, so therefore there COULD be an alternative explanation for Gary’s scenario (and even went so far as to provide one). This is the basis for Einstein, et al, to say what they did about there being no preferred CS and the meaningless of calling the earth or the sun or any spot the center of the universe.”

[size=2]The Church position (Part III) was tested against Art Sippo, ending in this:

"…please extend to me the courtesy to disagee with you and side with the Popes and their discipline on this matter. Art "

"…

I am agreeing with all 5 of the the Pope’s we discussed. You are claiming to agree with two of them.

You may believe what you wish.

Mark"

Whole Thread[/size]

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com

[/size]


#6

[quote=adnauseum] …
It’s interesting that before Galileo, Nicholas Copernicus said the same thing that Galileo said, that the earth orbits the sun. The Church did not recoil at the theory. There has traditionally not been a conflict between faith and reason in the Church.
[/quote]

Corpenicus works included a prefix stating that the idea was hypothetical. This is all the Church required. The Church is not anti-science. Galileo tried to make the case that it was proven- to this day, geocentrism has not been demonstrated as false.

[quote=adnauseum]But embroiled as she was in a debate over literal interpretation of scripture, the Church temporarily lost her good judgment and tried to rein in Galileo, giving the false impression that the Church forced one to choose between faith and reason.
[/quote]

I would argue that the Church was forced to choose between truth and falsehood, and chose truth.

It has by no means been established that the Church was wrong, nor that Galileo was right.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#7

Start with this tract from Catholic Answers:

The Galileo Controversy
catholic.com/library/Galileo_Controversy.asp


#8

[quote=trth_skr]See my Three part series, Geocentricity 101:

Part I: Basic Principles

Part II: Basic Physics

Part III: Scriptural and Church Position

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com

[/quote]

Good stuff.

For P1, if I understand right, your starting at the earth and jumping out to more distant observation points until it looks like there is no difference in how you view the earth moon and sun it looks the same. But in the case of Alpha Centuri you dont know if it could be rotating on some bigger orbit (ie the galaxy could be on an orbit we dont know of ?), but that doesnt matter here.

I dont get this:
In the case of a geocentric model, we will place earth at the center of the universe, and fix it (allow no rotation or translation). The universe will revolve around the earth.
How can you do this? Why? The earth moves, and it isnt the center of the solar sytem the sun, so how can you fix it let alone say its the center of anything except the moon?
Also I dont see how you can have a fixed earth model unless you mean it models a whole year cycle like those star chart things that map out all the starts at once that tell you what month to see a certain star?
I read part 1 the best I could.

Part2, I think this is clearing up, from what I understood, IF its set up like a star chart (where everything is mapped out on one page) there is no such thing as a center because as long as you knew a map out from one area you could do it in another and call that the origin instead and the map out would be almost the same.
For the most part I couldnt follow Part 2 after the first few paragraphs.

Part3-
I dont know why God didnt just make everything rotate around the earth so things like Joshua 10 would make sense. I dont even know how to read passages like that now that I think of it.

I would agree with this though: Scientism is a god.

Corpenicus works included a prefix stating that the idea was hypothetical. This is all the Church required. The Church is not anti-science. Galileo tried to make the case that it was proven- to this day, geocentrism has not been demonstrated as false.

I just thought of something, is genocentrism the center of the solar system, galaxy or universe? I thought it was the first.

[quote=fidelis]Start with this tract from Catholic Answers:

The Galileo Controversy
catholic.com/library/Galileo_Controversy.asp
[/quote]

This was very helpful. A lot of it “trth skr” Mark already covered, but this article was good in that it was aimed more at people like me.

Here is something I dont understand, could someone explain (also I didnt know stars moved, the sun doesnt move):
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.


#9

As I understand it the church didn’t formally punish him until he made fun of the Pope in one of his books.

The response of the Pope at that time was whatever God created it as was inherently perfect, a view portrayed as the point of the simpleton in Galileo’s book.

While not the most Christian attitude it does shed some light on the situation.


#10

Can someone explain in layman’s terms to a non-scientist what Galileo is supposed to have proved or not.
I simply thought he said the earth orbits the sun and I’m pretty sure that the earth does orbit the sun!


#11

[quote=Catholic Dude] Good stuff.

For P1, if I understand right, your starting at the earth and jumping out to more distant observation points until it looks like there is no difference in how you view the earth moon and sun it looks the same. But in the case of Alpha Centuri you dont know if it could be rotating on some bigger orbit (ie the galaxy could be on an orbit we dont know of ?), but that doesnt matter here.
[/quote]

Really, I am just explaining the concept of a coordinate system or reference frame. I am just showing that mathematically, we can pick any point as center and map the relative motions around the chosen center.

Mathematically, you can do it. An we do not really know what is the center. We just have theories about what is.

[quote=Catholic Dude] Also I dont see how you can have a fixed earth model unless you mean it models a whole year cycle like those star chart things that map out all the starts at once that tell you what month to see a certain star?
I read part 1 the best I could.
[/quote]

In a fixed earth model, you can fix the earth, then allow the universe to rotate around the earth.

[quote=Catholic Dude] Part2, I think this is clearing up, from what I understood, IF its set up like a star chart (where everything is mapped out on one page) there is no such thing as a center because as long as you knew a map out from one area you could do it in another and call that the origin instead and the map out would be almost the same.
For the most part I couldnt follow Part 2 after the first few paragraphs.
[/quote]

Part II is the most complicated. But it demonstrates that General Relativity says that if you make the earth the reference frame, forces will exist to support this (else General Relativity is wrong).

[quote=Catholic Dude] Part3-
I dont know why God didnt just make everything rotate around the earth so things like Joshua 10 would make sense. I dont even know how to read passages like that now that I think of it.

I would agree with this though: Scientism is a god.
[/quote]

If you read the three parts again, and understand them, I am saying that God did.

Generally we are talking about the whole universe.

[quote=Catholic Dude] Here is something I dont understand, could someone explain (also I didnt know stars moved, the sun doesnt move):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.

[/quote]

This is a false demonstration. There are geocentric models that can explain parallax (see Part I). Parallax caused some problems for the Ptolemaic model, but not geocentrism in general.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#12

[quote=thistle]Can someone explain in layman’s terms to a non-scientist what Galileo is supposed to have proved or not.
I simply thought he said the earth orbits the sun and I’m pretty sure that the earth does orbit the sun!
[/quote]

It turns out that Galileo actually never proved anything. His theory was that the earth, revolved around the sun, and, now, that is demonstrably correct. However, *the proofs * that he provided were wrong, and the learned men of the time shot holes all through them. Specifically, he couldn’t account for why the stars didn’t appear to move (we know now, with better instruments, that they do). It is easy and arrogant for us to recognize the correctness of the theory in our day and age, but they were offered no convincing proof at that time.

Even when confronted with this, Galileo insisted on teaching and writing about his theory. He compounded his stubborness by publically ridiculing the opinion of his friend the Pope on this matter after they had discussed it in private.

For a pretty decent account of this, I recommend the book *Galileo’ Mistake * which you can find on Amazon.


#13

[quote=Shlemele]As I understand it the church didn’t formally punish him until he made fun of the Pope in one of his books.

The response of the Pope at that time was whatever God created it as was inherently perfect, a view portrayed as the point of the simpleton in Galileo’s book.

While not the most Christian attitude it does shed some light on the situation.
[/quote]

And it is only an attempt to gloss over what happened.Urban the VIII (repeating the condemnation of Paul V, this time directed at Galileo’s person) condemned Galileo because:

“…by reason of the matters adduced in trial, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself in the judgement of the Holy Office vehemently suspect of heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrine – which is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures – that the Sun is the centre of the world and does not move from east to west and that the Earth moves and is not the centre of the world;…”

Whether Urban the VIII felt personally attacked or not is a topic for Oprah.:wink:

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#14

[quote=Fidelis]It turns out that Galileo actually never proved anything. His theory was that the earth, revolved around the sun, and, now, that is demonstrably correct. …
[/quote]

Actually, nothing has been demonstrated. No one has been able to demonstrate the rotation of the earth in a manner distinguishable from rotation of the universe. No one has demonstrated translation of the earth. It is all conjecture.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#15

Hey guys here is a really good website vaticanobservatory.org

If you go to the publications page and click the current newsletter Spring 2005 at the very bottom of the newsletter is a link to a presentation by Fr. George Coyne SJ. called the “Fertility of the Universe” It runs a little over an hour but it is well worth the time. I didn"t get to bed untill after midnight, Also be advised it takes an eternity to download.

It is also very interesting to read the past newsletters. And as a bonus they have some awesome images on their Instrumentation page.


#16

[quote=trth_skr]Actually, nothing has been demonstrated. No one has been able to demonstrate the rotation of the earth in a manner distinguishable from rotation of the universe. No one has demonstrated translation of the earth. It is all conjecture.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com
[/quote]

Actually, I meant demonstrable in the sense that measurements could be made with better instruments thus providing a hypothesis based on measurable data.

In a very real sense not many things can be actually proven, it’s just that some data is more precise than other data. In the end, it’s ALL hypothesis.


#17

[quote=Fidelis]…In a very real sense not many things can be actually proven, it’s just that some data is more precise than other data. In the end, it’s ALL hypothesis.
[/quote]

Exactly!

Well, except for revelation, especially Scriptural interpretation of the Fathers. Especially when that interpretation is upheld by official declarations of Popes and not reversed by any future Popes… (veritas-catholic.blogspot.com/2005/08/geocentrism-101-part-iii-scriptural.html)

So given two or more hypothesis, all potentially valid, one upheld by the Church in the above manner, the rest contradicting the Church (especially given the state fo the world today):

  1. Are you going to go with the Church’s view?
  2. Are you going to at least have an open mind to the Church’s view?

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#18

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