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What are the most convincing observations Galileo reports in The Starry Messenger that support the Copernican theory that the Earth moves around the Sun? What did Galileo's later discoveries of the phases of Venus and sunspots contribute to discussions of the Copernican theory?
A major component of Galileo's new contributions to science in the 17th century was his appreciation that mathematics was the key to understanding Nature. Why was this view "revolutionary" in Galileo's day, and what evidence did he have to support the idea that mathematics is the "language" of Nature?
What does Galileo say in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina and The Assayer about the relationship between science and religion? Galileo's critics argued that the Copernican theory contradicted the Bible, and should therefore be rejected. Why did Galileo believe that science was not in conflict with religion, and indeed, could be taken as a positive rather than a negative factor in theology?
What would be the arguments of Galileo's Aristotelian opponents (not his theological critics) be against Galileo? What objections could they have made to his assertion that the Earth moved, and that the cosmos were heliocentric rather than geocentric? What philosophical or metaphysical arguments could me used as part of the scholastic opposition to the heliocentric theory?
Why did Galileo and the Copernicans eventually prevail in the course of the Scientific Revolution?
Please refer to the following sources:
Bronowski, Jacob (1974). "The Starry Messenger." In The Ascent of Man. New York, NY: Little Brown & Co.,
Galilei, Galileo (1957). The Starry Messenger (1610), Letters on Sunspots (1613), Letter to the Grand Duchess
Christina (1615), and The Assayer (1623). All translated in S. Drake (Ed.). Discovery and Opinions of Galileo. New York, NY: Anchor.
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On to the question:
Galileo reports the discoveries of moons in Jupiter, phases of Venus, craters and mountains on the moon and sunspots. This was, of course, thanks to the invention of the telescope by Dutch spectacle makers in 1608. From these discoveries, the spots on the Sun were one of the ignitors of the Copernican views, since, as Galileo reasons, these spots prove that the Sun is imperfect and is, in fact rotating. Therefore, if such a big object is not perfect, contrary to Aristotle's ideas, and it is rotating, why not the Earth too? Other observation that seems to agree with the Copernican view that the Earth is not the center of the universe is the fact that Jupiter has moons that rotate around this planet, which means that not all celestial bodies rotate around the Earth. Finally, the fact that Venus goes through phases, like the Moon is one of the most compelling arguments against the Ptolemaic theory, which predicts opposite phases for Venus than the ones that Galileo observed. ...
Here, a philosophical view on the views hold by Galileo regarding his observations on the heliocentric model, and the views of his contemporaries are laid out.