RESPONSE PAPER 12 - Therefore, instead of perhaps arguing...

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RESPONSE PAPER 12 Letter to Grand Duchess Christina Here we see, for the first time, a significant bout between science and Christianity. Because there was so little scientific advancement during the middle ages, there was really no need for Christianity to clash with it, but the Copernican revolution provided plenty reason for churchmen to feel threatened. What’s curious, to begin with, is that Galileo took such heavy criticism, while Copernicus, who initially pioneered the heliocentric cosmology, did not until Galileo did. It seems that the church was not frightened by a mere postulate, but once it was scientifically proven, it became an immediate issue. Scriptural authority could not be questioned, and, perhaps even more so, nor could the sense of security that man had in believing he was the center of the universe. So, while Galileo was not a revolutionary per se, he suffered the consequences of proving a dangerous philosophy with hard science.
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Unformatted text preview: Therefore, instead of perhaps arguing why his model is superior to another, Galileo has to argue why he is not a heretic. He seems to do this relatively skillfully, recalling Copernicus’ position as a churchman, using various St. Augustine quotations, and determining that scripture states that such a physical matter as his has little to do with spiritual faith. Yet however convincing his arguments may seem, they didn’t help him in the end. The fact remains that during this period, scientist-philosophers such as Galileo thought freely at their own risks; they were essentially at the mercy of the church. At a time when religious reform was still in full swing, the church was desperate to regain control. It would not have allowed itself to lose any more of authority, especially not to an upstart layman such as Galileo. This was the beginning of the scientific revolution, but it was a quiet beginning, indeed....
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course HIST 110 taught by Professor Hughes during the Fall '07 term at University of Michigan.

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