EXTRAORDINARY COSMIC VIRTUE – THE HERO SCIENTIST

“The leitmotif which I recognize in Galileo’s work is the passionate fight against any kind of dogma based on authority. Only experience and careful reflection are accepted by him as criteria of truth.” – Albert Einstein1.

Returning now to cosmic virtue in its extraordinary form, we come upon the great hero scientist, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). He grew up in Renaissance Italy which was still shaking off the intellectual inertia of the Middle Ages and still subjugated to Roman Catholic dogma itself inexplicably shackled to ancient Greek knowledge (especially Aristotle and Ptomely). Intended for medicine by his father, he switched to mathematics while at the University of Pisa writing his first essay on hydrostatic balance at age 22 and being made professor of mathematics there at age 25. At about this time he showed his contempt of unquestioned authority, challenging the teaching of Aristotle that the speed of falling objects varies according to their mass, by reportedly dropping two balls of different weights off the leaning tower of Pisa.

He moved to the university at Padua (Venice) in 1589 where he invented to a type of thermometer, the first astronomical telescope, and a geometric compass. With his telescope he documented the four large moons of Jupiter, the “ears” of Saturn, the roughness of the surface of the moon, sunspots, and the phases of Venus – thus challenging the Earth-centered cosmos and the unchanging perfection of the celestial realm. He visited Rome in 1615 where he was received favorably, but his attempts to persuade the Church to accept the ‘Copernican’ sun-centered solar system were rebuffed. He may have been warned then that asserting that the sun is unmovable would be considered heresy. But he refused to yield, then taking the critical step in all scientific discovery – declaring an observationally or experimentally confirmed theory is no longer an hypothesis, but a scientific truth.

In in a letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany published in 1615 his virtuous attitude regarding cosmic reality is fully revealed, “Nature is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws imposed upon her, or cares a whit whether her abstruse reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men. For that reason it appears that nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of Biblical passages which may have some different meaning beneath their words.”2

(continued next post)

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2 Replies to “EXTRAORDINARY COSMIC VIRTUE – THE HERO SCIENTIST”

  1. By the first telescope- Italian Scientist Galileo has first found that Our Home Planet or Earth is not the center point of the Universe. Possibility is that Our Sun Is the Center of the Universe. Scientist Galileo changed the religious thought and notion about the universe or space to a greater extent.

    I have researched the above information- Italian Scientist Galileo- By the first telescope- Looked at the solar system and successfully saw Our Home Planet or Earth is not the center point of the Universe. Yet, from additional research results- In time dimension- brief theory- “Own mind & location is the present and past for all” In this way; I find- We are everybody is the Universe & We are everybody is the center point of the Universe from our own location. Again, inside the universe, the environment situation of today’s home planet is present before us but the same moment outside the home planet is the past of all. That is to say; the place of each in space is the present of oneself and everybody is at the location of the past of all. That is to say- An individual’s respective location is the present and the rest all locations are deep in the past. In or under the circumstances- I can take the correct resolution that- Our home planet or Earth is center of the Universe because we are here and also our sun is center- from the sun location.
    See into- At: https://aas.org/files/resources/where_is_our_place_in_the_universe.pdf

    1. Shadhidur,

      Welcome to philosophicalguidance.com and thanks your for your comments. From my reading, Galileo, as a scientist, generally was silent on the center of the universe. His position was that the astronomical evidence of his observations were consistent with the earth moving around the sun rather than the reverse. It seems intellectually dubious to say any of we or any celestial body is the center of the physical universe if, as modern cosmology tells us, all things are expanding away from each other, just as it is inaccurate to say that any point is the center of the surface of a sphere. It seems more accurate to say that the universe (like the surface of the sphere) is an example of a structure without a single center.

      Subjectively I understand that each of us appears to our own self to be the center of the universe, but I think this is imposed by consciousness itself. Careful analysis, it seems to me, leads to the more credible position that there is an equivalence of the substance of the self and the substance of the universe (Atman = Brahman!). Add to this humanity’s unique (to our knowledge) ability to conceptualize the size of the universe, the measure of eternity, the totality of being, and the immensity of nothingness, and we as a species and as individuals may justify a symbolic designation as metaphysically centered elements of the universe.

      Regarding your thoughts on time, seen from the standpoint of the present moment, only the present is actual, thus current reality straddles the midpoint between the irretrievable past and the never-appearing future. However, as seen from the timeline of the universe, we exist in what appears to be the early phase of the universe, rather than the central point. It is up to each of use to decide which view is more valid, though I think this question is really distinct from the issue of the center of the universe.

      Notwithstanding our comments above, clearly Galileo still deserves credit for initiating the scientific method and expanding the horizons of the heavens for mankind, especially since his conclusions and their publication endangered his freedom and life. If virtue is defined as human excellence, his remarkable use of the tools at hand, his ingenuity, and his meticulous analysis of his findings, and his efforts to spread the facts and persuade his opponents seem to be supreme examples of such excellence.

      I would be interested in hearing any other thoughts you may have.
      Thank you for your interest and contributions to the website.

      Greg Ciliberti
      http://philosophicalguidance.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

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