Galileo Essay Research Paper Galileo

Galileo Essay, Research Paper


“Whereas Galileo spent his last days under house arrest and was formally

condemned by the Church for his scientific views, the elder Darwin was widely

respected by the Anglican Church and was buried at the Westminster Abbey, an

honor reserved for only the most illustrious personages of Great Britain. The

reason for the two scientists’ very different fortunes is simple: Galileo

couldn’t prove the Copernican hypothesis but Darwin was able to demonstrate the

truth of his theory of evolution.” In the world of Galileo proof was what was

needed to succeed with a scientific hypothesis. In the world of Darwin proof

was not needed for a scientific hypothesis to succeed. There were many

differences in the worlds of these two great scientists that lead to the

reaction to their respective scientific hypothesize. It was not their beliefs

alone that led to their peer’s views it was also the way each of them conducted

themselves. Galileo worked his way to become a respected scientist by most of

the intellectual community but he was also despised by many because of his

background and because of his attitude towards others. Darwin was well

respected by the intellectual community, but the difference was the way they

conducted themselves when they were dealing with their hypothesizes.

Galileo’s Hypothesis

Galileo was well known for standing up for what he believed in and

pushing the things he wanted. He was constantly writing letters and engaging in

debates over the issue of Copernicanism. Galileo’s entire reason for doing this

was to make the scientific and religious communities accept that Copernicanism

was actually a fact and that there was enough proof to believe it. One example

of the way Galileo strongly pushed his beliefs on others was the way he preached

Copernicanism to the people of Rome in 1615. While he was in Rome trying to

improve the church’s opinion of him, Galileo was also debating the Aristotelians

over this issue and beating them at their own game. Because of his natural

talent for debate and because of his intelligence was able to outwit the

Aristotelians in these debates. Galileo acted this way because he believed that

he was in a position to make these kinds of statements without getting on the

wrong side of the church. These actions show that Galileo was very insistent

upon his ideas and upon what other people and the church thought of them. By

preaching and debating Galileo was trying to force his ideas into acceptance by

the church. His methods were highly unusual; he tried to force acceptance of

his ideas because he believed his findings to be conclusive and had enough proof

for people to accept. But when the actual facts are looked at it is very easy

to come to the conclusion that there was no definitive proof that the earth and

other planets orbit around the sun. Galileo in his papers and speeches tried to

hide his lack of proof by focusing on only what he knew. His actions on the

hypothesis are the complete opposite of the ideas of modern science. In modern

science a hypothesis is always trying to be proven like Galileo was doing but it

in never stated as truth until conclusive proof is demonstrated. While Galileo

is considered one of the founders of modern science is very easy to see that

some of his actions were not very scientific. The fact that Galileo was trying

to have people accept his hypothesis, as a fact is one of the major problems

with Galileo’s fight for Copernicanism. Galileo’s other major problem with his

fight for Copernicanism was that he was too cocky and believed that since his

ideas made the most sense people should give up the old paradigm and believe

Copernicanism to be true. If Galileo had been more cautious about preaching his

ideas and has spent more time trying to prove his hypothesis scientifically he

would have most likely been better off in his later years. He would have

avoided much of the controversy that surrounded him by the church and might have

just gotten off with another warning. Since Galileo was the man he was, he could

not end his fight after his first warning by the church, he had to persist and

write another book on the theory. In his book Dialogue on the Great Systems of

the World, Galileo tried to work around the ban of his belief of the Copernican

system by the church by presenting it as merely an opinion of his. But this as

most people realized was just another attempt to show the benefits of the

Copernican system. It was because of Galileo’s inability to give in and accept

defeat that he wrote this book on Copernicanism. Galileo had also thought that

he had the church on his side this time since he was friends with the pope but

the pope was cajoled into believing that Galileo had insulted him with the book

and started and investigation to determine if Galileo had broken the decree of

1616. It took trickery and deception to bring Galileo down in his second

conflict with the church but it was his pompous attitude that caused him to come

to this end. If Galileo hadn’t been so into proving others wrong and just

worked on his theories he would have been much better off.

Darwin’s Hypothesis

Charles Darwin is the man well known for bringing about the theory of

Darwinism and natural selection. Darwin became a very successful scientist in

his time and convinced many people that his theory was scientifically sound. By

the time Darwin died he had a large group of followers the believed his ideas to

be true. The reason for Darwin’s success was that he was very good at

convincing people of his ideas without overpowering them with arguments. Unlike

Galileo’s methods of convincing people Darwin preferred to tell his ideas to his

close friends and allow them to spread them to others.

Darwin worked for years on his theory without telling more than a few

people about it. He did this because he was worried of what other people would

think of him and he didn’t want to release an idea into the scientific community

that was only partially though through. So for years he worked on his ideas

alone and kept track of all the work he did. It took Wallace’s paper to get

Darwin to speed up his own work and finally publish an extract of his own at the

same time as Wallace’s paper was published. Once Darwin realized that someone

might beat him to the punch he began to work faster and soon published His book

known as The Origin of Species.

Darwin’s methods of obtaining support for his newly public theory were

radically different from Galileo’s methods. Instead of trying to convince

everyone that he was right Darwin concentrated on his research and left the

preaching of his theories to his friends. Darwin’s close friends Hooker and

Huxley were major players in the spread of Darwin’s theory. While it was his

own theory his contributions to promoting it were revising his books and

continuing his work further. This method of promoting his work worked extremely

well for Darwin. While Darwin was seen as the figurehead of the movement he was

not seen as one of its key pushers. By doing this Darwin was able to remain

behind the scenes and continue his work to improve his theories. Darwin spent

most of his time in his house outside of London furthering his research and

remaining in contact with the efforts to popularize his theory but did not

actively participate in the way Galileo did.

By staying somewhat behind the scenes and not overpowering people with

his radical theory Darwin was able to gain a large number of supporters in the

biological community who in turn spread his theory more and more. It was

through Darwin’s connections that the vast majority of people learned about

evolution. Darwin was not trying to force his theory onto others as Galileo

was; instead he was just presenting it as his theory, which he was still working

on. It was because of this that people weren’t threatened by it as in the way

they were by Galileo’s theory. That is not to say that people were not

threatened by Darwin’s theory they certainly were. Darwin’s theory went against

allot more in the bible than Copernicanism did. While Copernicanism only went

against a few obscure passages, evolution went against much of the story of

Genesis. This fact caused many people to be hostile to the theories but Darwin

still remained in better standing with the church than Galileo ever was. The

main reason for this is the fact that in the time Darwin lived there were more

people that were educated in the ways of science which was far more progressed

than in the days of Galileo. These new scientific people were more open to

ideas than the more religious people of Galileo’s time. If Darwin’s Ideas had

been introduced in Galileo’s time they might have been met with the same

reaction if not stronger than the actions taken against Galileo. In this manner

Darwin was lucky to live in the time he did where he could present a book for

publication which did not have to be subject to the approval of the Catholic


Darwin and Galileo were very different men who are both remembered as

great scientists of their times. While Galileo was condemned for his efforts

Darwin was remembered as a hero. This was because of their different methods of

presenting their ideas. Galileo was a fighter who would not back down from a

fight until he was pitted against the Vatican and faced with excommunication.

He tactics caused many people to despise him in his time, which lead to the ban

of his book on Copernicanism. While Darwin preferred to work in his home and

have others fight his battles for him. It was because of Darwin’s passive

promotion of his book that he made very few enemies when compared to Galileo.

If Galileo was more like Darwin he may have been better off at the time of his


While much of the Copernican theory is know as fact now there is still a

debate over Darwinism. This is because it has yet to be proven definitively.

Darwin was still honored for his contribution of this theory because he did it

in a scientific manner and did not impose his opinion onto others.


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