Eiseley And Galileo Their Views Essay, Research Paper
+Eiseley and Galileo: Their Views+
Loren Eiseley was an anthropologist, an author, and an educator in the United States, in the 20 century. Eiseley wrote anthropology for the lay person in a poetic style. Loren Eiseley was educated at the University of Nebraska and the University of Pennsylvania. He began his academic career at the University of Kansas in 1937 and Oberlin College in 1944. Besides serving as a professor of anthology, he also served as a consultant to museums, foundations, and U.S. government and was the host-narrator of the television series Animal Secrets, in 1966.
Eiseley+s scientific research was directed towards the dating of index fossils of the Pleistocene Eboch and the extinction of Ice Age fauna. He was best known for his examination of human evolution. Eiseley+s writings covered the wide range of questions on evolution and its implications for humanity. He published more than a dozen books including, The Unexpected Universe, in which I will be comparing to the works of Galileo.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and to the development of the scientific method. Galileo+s formulation in various subjects of science marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the study of motion. Galileo also wrote many books. I will be looking at a book translated by Stillman Drake, called Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo .
+Even without a final truth, there is such a thing as scientific progress and growth in understanding the natural world . . . The vain presumption of understanding everything can have no other basis than never understanding anything. For anyone who had experienced just once the perfect understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that infinity of other truths of which he understands nothing,+ this taken from the introduction to Galileo+s Commandment.
Eiseley starts his book by writing, +Every man contains within himself a ghost continent–a place circled as warily as Antarctica was circled two hundred years ago by Captain James Cook. If, in addition, the man is a scientist, he will see strange shapes amidst his interior ice floes and be fearful of exposing to the ridicule of his fellows what he has seen. To begin such a personal record it may be well to start with the Odyssean voyages of legend and science. These may defend with something of their own magic the small story of an observer lost upon the fringes of large events. Let it be understood that I claim no discoveries. I claim only the events of a life in science as they were transformed inwardly into something that was whispered to Odysseus long ago.+
Both Galileo and Eiseley are analyzing science and it+s role within one+s life. Galileo is stating that truth is taken from science and for no other reason than experience should you know and understand that there is no
definite truth. There is no perfect understanding of one thing; this is learned through experience. Eiseley is discussing how science can be viewed in a person+s eyes. Nobody views an object the same as somebody else. He uses Odyssean voyages of legend and science to help with his point.
+I began to see that among the many universes in which the world of living creatures existed, some were large, some small, but that all, including man+s, were in some way limited or finite. We were creatures of many different dimensions passing through each other+s lives like ghosts through doors,+ this passage is taken from Eiseley+s book, from the chapter titled, +The Hidden Teacher.+ Eiseley is saying that there is a universe inside a universe. Each creature has its own universe. This is what separates us from each other. Eiseley believed that it was a job to teach life, and that is exactly what he was trying to do in his books.
+Hence I consider it not very sound to judge a man+s philosophical opinions by the number of his followers. Yet though I believe the number of disciples of the best philosophy may be quite small, I do not conclude controversey that those opinions and doctrines are necessarily perfect which have few followers, for I know well enough that some men hold opinions so erroneous as to be rejected by everyone else. But from which of those sources the two authors mentioned by Sarsi derive the scarcity of their followers I don not know, for I have not studied their works sufficiently to
judge.+ This passage is taken from Galileo+s work, +The Assayer+. Galileo
read little of other men+s works, this was opposite to Eiseley who read many other philosopher+s works to understand their views and write his own opinions.
+. . . Darwin, the master of the inner world took that secure, stable, and sunlit province of the mind and revealed t as a place of contending furies. . .+ Eiseley uses Darwin+s views to jump to his own. Eiseley later goes on saying how he feels when he thinks about what Darwin is saying. Galileo does not use comparison and other authors in this same way.
Eiseley felt at one time that science was the only answer; once he discovered that it was not he, as a scientist, did not want to believe that miracles could happen. +Since boyhood I have been charmed . . . This is what had led me originally into science, but now I felt instinctively that something more was needed–though what I needed verged on a miracle. As a scientist, I did not believe in miracles . . .+
Galileo offers a different approach, even though Galileo was a great scientist and had an extreme relationship to science, he was a Catholic and found himself in many controversial issues between his discoveries and his religion. Galileo never wanted conflict between his work and his church, but many people in the Catholic church disagreed with Galileo.
Galileo and Eiseley, even though they were centuries apart still were much alike in the fields of science and philosophy. They both relate life to science. Eiseley, as a naturalistic, compares life to different things, like
spiders, dogs, and even to a lighthouse. This makes Eiseley unique; it forces the reader to understand what life is and how we are similar to other things. He also combines poetry and science which is also a unique quality that Eiseley has.
Galileo is also similar to Eiseley, but he does not go into as much detail as Eiseley does when comparing life and science to other beings. Galileo tends to write more like a philosopher, as he should being from the 17th century, and he uses a lot of mathematics to prove truth.
Both writers developed a sense of how science and life are related. They both used examples and proved their philosophy on life and science using examples from their lives.