planets moved around the sun. (Machamer, 1998). In 1613 Galileo began to tutor students onthe Copernican theory.
In April of 1612 the searching gaze of Galileo’s telescope focused upon the face of the sun. In1613 he published his
Letters on Sunspots
, in which began a great argument with the JesuitAstronomer Christoph Scheiner by disproving Scheiner’s hypothesis that sunspots whereactually planets revolving around the sun, as argued under the pseudonym Apelles in
ThreeLetters on Solar Spots
. Galileo pointed out that by moving together, and moving slowly,sunspots could not be planets. He also pointed out their irregular shapes how they formed anddisappeared at random. Lastly he mentioned the foreshortening of the spots as theyapproached the edge of the solar disk. Most importantly on pages 27 to 36 Galileo also beganto formulate a geometrical argument for Copernicanism based on the motion of sunspots, butnever finished it. However he did write
“I tell you that also, no less than the horned Venusagrees admirably with the great Copernican system. Favorable winds are now blowing on that system…
(Cropper, 2001). The implications of Galileo’s work here not only prevented any‘saving’ of the theory, but started one of many feuds that would be characteristic of his later fame in life, and where the first insult to the Jesuit order he would make.
And yet it moves...
As with countless other times in history, new and radically different ideas, no matter howconvincing, cannot simply be accepted without some level of resistance. Galileo was a proudman, driven to defend his Copernican position against anyone who would argue with him, or touncompromisingly criticize anyone whom he disagreed with. At the beginning of the paradigmshift, there was an abundance of people for him to criticize, argue and disagree with, and aworldview to change.In tandem with his growing notoriety, scattered resistance to Galileo began to come from allover Europe. In June of 1610, a young Lutheran student of Kepler’s, Martin Horky, published
Avery short excursion against the Sidereal Messenger.
Interestingly it was more of a character assassination upon Galileo himself, rather than Copernicus, claiming Galileo had invented theJovian moons due to a “thirst for gold”, and other slanderous character attacks.(Reston, 2000)The next ineffective dig, this time upon Copernicanism, came from Francesco Sizzi, a Florentineastronomer. In
Dianoia Astronomica, Optica, Physica,
he argued partly from scripture and partlyfrom mathematics. In part of his illogical argument Sizzi claimed; ”
the satellites are invisible tothe naked eye and therefore can have no influence on the earth, and therefore would beuseless, and therefore do not exist”
.These and other small criticisms where no match for the amount of prestige Galileo was nowenjoying and number of influential friends he had made in his public life.The first organized resistance came from a group, which Galileo contemptibly referred to as the"Pigeon League" named after Lodovico delle Colombe, an Aristotelian professor of philosophy.In 1611 Lodovico published a tract that really muddied the waters in the connection betweenChristianity and the Aristotelians,
Against the Motion of the Earth
. Although it did not implicateGalileo directly it argued against Copernicus from scripture. Initially the League was comprisedof Aristotelian scholars whom he had offended in public debates with his sarcastic and brutalstyle of argument, such as Cesare Cremonini, who refused to look down his telescope! Later itexpanded to allow anyone with a grudge against Galileo in it. It is believed that this league isresponsible for creating the real trouble for Galileo, its members where those who brought hisargument on the passage Joshua 10: 22-24 to the attention of the Catholic Church, a far moreformidable enemy.The Catholic Church had a lot invested in the belief system it enforced and was built upon, thescripture was seen as simply correct and anything that threatened to disprove it was dangerous.Copernicus’ belief in a moving earth contradicted the scripture, for example in Psalm 104:5 theBible states;
"…the LORD set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved."
If Galileocould prove Copernicus right, he would also disprove the infallibility of the Bible. Seeing as the