Thursday, January 2, 2014

Galileo

In the time of Galileo, many people believed strongly that the Earth was the center of the Universe.

By observation they had determined that the sun went around the Earth--it rose every morning, rolled across the sky and sank every night. Irrefutable evidence. In watching the stars they realized that the planets made odd patterns, not perfect circles around the Earth, and they made up elaborate explanations for why this was so.

Their beliefs were supported by evidence as they knew it.

Galileo blew all of that out of the water, and was killed for it. Not because he spoke truth, not because he spoke lies, but because he spoke truth that those in power did not want to acknowledge.

When Columbus spoke of "sailing west to get to the east," he was also laughed at. Sailors knew the world was round, but the scientific coterie (which was mostly landed aristocrats, since they were the only people who could waste valuable time on experimentation) insisted it was flat. Again, they came up with convoluted explanations that supported their understanding of the world.

We think science has advanced since then. We see ourselves sitting at the peak of a mountain range of scientific knowledge, the masters of all we survey. What we're really doing is squatting at the base of the foothills marveling at an anthill.

Unfortunately, I see a scientific organization that doesn't want to acknowledge that they don't already know it all. New ideas are discouraged. Anything that refutes the currently accepted knowledge is ruthlessly squashed without attempting to prove or disprove because everyone (i.e., all those who matter) already knows that it's nonsense.

People will come up with all kinds of reasons, but it boils down to a few points:

A The discoverer didn't have the right credentials
B The information wasn't published in a "refereed" journal, which it couldn't be anyway because
C The information directly contradicted something that was commonly believed

Anyone who supports or attempts to work with these "discoveries" is suppressed as well, and with the same logic. Discoverers are ignored, supporters discredited and ideas that might have advanced science disappear into the cracks of society. I might go so far as to say that they are martyred in the name of science.

Still, there are a few who walk against the tide, working on their own ideas in basements and garages, unacknowledged. Like Galileo, they pave the way for man to look up rather than down, forward rather than back. As at every other point in history it will be these adventurers who allow us to advance, if advancement is possible.

I hope they continue, because when they are all silenced the dark ages will return.

2 comments:

M.L. Swift said...

Very insightful observations, Lauren! Whoever are The Powers That Be at the given time period rule the roost, whether it be the influence of the High Priests, scientific community (many discoveries, like North and South America, are accidental), or politicians.

Galileo was put on house arrest his last two years of life because of heresy. He said that the earth revolved around the sun, but as you said, they insisted the sun revolved around the earth. And do you know what their source material was? The Bible. For it said, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." In their minds, never to be questioned or debunked as Galileo did, there were two components in this universe: the heavens and the earth, where the heavens revolved around the earth.

Seems as though mankind has always wanted to be the center of the universe. ;)

Good post, and thanks for visiting my blog.

M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

Lauren said...

And yet Christ was born in a stable at the outskirts of civilization. So was Bethlehem the center of the earth? :)