Saturday, June 23, 2012

Galileo: Still Dead

And yet he keeps getting molestered by people who think A) He was a High And Noble Hero or B) that their Church is unfairly maligned 'cos they did, um, kind of lock him up for a long time over bein' annoying. Nobody is willin' to admit he might have been an argumentative guy who significantly advanced astronomy and physics, a proto-nerd of the purest quill, and leave it at that.

Here's the thing: he is still dead. He isn't coming back and neither is anyone he was directly involved with. Neither Earth nor the star it orbits is at the center of Everything; never was, still ain't.

These things are facts. Now leave the poor sunovagun alone, will ya? Go find something new to fight over.

(Prediction: more of the same in comments. There is no butthurt like one that involves people too dead to speak for themselves.)

18 comments:

Sean D Sorrentino said...

You have to understand the point of the dead molesterers.

Their point is that

a) they know more than the average person that they are haranguing, so therefore they stand a better chance of winning any given argument.

b) Society priviliges "victims," and since they are not victims themselves, they can take up the cause of some famous victim and be associate victims.

c) When you tell them that they are annoying, petulant fools, you are making them victims, thus raising their status.

Taken together, this means that while they will act all butthurt in your comments, but secretly they are saying "Yes! I finally matter! I am not a total douche with nothing better to do than dig up historical grievances and pretend that my interest in them matters in any way to the actual historical people involved!"

And you get to laugh at them. It's a Win-Win.

karrde said...

Galileo is famous because he used a telescope, and was quite the polemicist.

His attitude got him in trouble eventually. Thus the infamous trial...

In my opinion, the real hero of Rennaisance astronomy ought to be Kepler.

The old astronomer Ptolemy, plus Rennaisance astronomers William Gilbert/Nicolaus Copernicus/Nicholas Reymers Bär/Tycho Brahe had each produced a model of the planetary orbits. Each of these astronomers assumed circular motion, or circular-motion-plus-epicycles.

Johannes Kepler asked if the orbits might be non-circular.

Not to say that the others were unimportant. Each asked an important question. (Does the Earth sit still or rotate in place? Is the Earth at the center or not? Do the other planets orbit the Sun or Earth?)

But this means that at the time Galileo wrote his famous Dialog Between Two World Systems, the world of astronomy had more than two models to work with...

(Many details left out; there are fuller explanations done by this guy here.)

Roberta X said...

Um, ...Karrde? Karrde, the really smart dude? No. No digging up dead guys and hitting them with Official Vatican Carpet Beaters; also, no making uber-geeks into Martyrs For Science instead of Martyrs For Having To Be Right.

og said...

who?

Roberta X said...

Not -- for once! -- you, dear Og.

og said...

I know all the dope on G. Those who don't or don't understand, I'm not going to convince.

kishnevi said...

I'm assuming there was an individually identifiable incident of idiocy that initiated this inveighing?

For a truly great, ah, offspring of a breeding female dog, try Newton.

Roberta X said...

It comes and goes, Kishnevi. Seems like he is exhumed with some frequentness and everyone around him, too; and then they are all subjected to historiotelepathy to determine their motives which, for some unknown reason, are always largely in tune with the interpreter's own notions of who was on the side of Light and who wasn't.

Me, I suspect there's no understanding why in any great depth or detail; I'm content to get as good a handle on what happened as I can -- which is rarely if ever what the Common Wisdom claims -- and then judge events and persons by my own ideas of right and wrong. This approach tends to be disparaged; real scholars often insist we should judge historical events by the standards of the time, a process that inevitably results in having to sit down to dinner at a cannibal feast. --Or having to argue the merits of the Inquisition over mob violence against "heretics" while ignoring the probability that both are wrong.

Dave in Indiana said...

molestered? Have you been watching South Park?

perlhaqr said...

I know all the dope on G. Those who don't or don't understand, I'm not going to convince.

This is because you knew him personally, isn't it? ;)

Stranger said...

If the words of those provided things to Ser G. Galilei, Esq., of Pisa, son of the composer Vincenzio, are to be taken at face value he was a curious sod, an optics monomaniac; much troubled by both arthritis and gout.

Taking a gander at his purported phiz at Wikipedia, I can believe that.

And, as Carl Sandburg put it, "The past is a bucket of ashes, let the dead bury the dead."

Stranger

Roberta X said...

Aw, Perl, the greater point is that there are so many more pressing things to argue about; it's not the the old boy is gonna materialize and demand we correct the record (likely in ways that would strike us as bizarre or irrelevant) and I'm pretty sure the Vatican can handle their side of things.

The stuff we believe about dead guys is not especially relevant to our interactions with one another -- except insofar as we allow it to be.

perlhaqr said...

Sure, sure. I was just having some fun with Og's "Neanderpundit" nickname.

It may have been funnier in my head than "on paper", as it were.

karrde said...

Sorry, Roberta, I should have realized that the subject was more Leave-Galileo-Alone, not What-Did-Galileo-Really-do. Must have gotten carried away...

Roberta X said...

:), Karrde -- though the degree to which he was still in the-perfection-of-the-spheres mode may come as surprise to some. Heliocentricity? Check. Sun as center of Creation? Check.

Asimov's essay, "The Relativity Of Wrong," comes to mind; thinking the Earth is flat is more wrong than thinking it a sphere; believing it to be a sphere is wronger than believing it is an oblate sphereoid...which is still wrong: it's a little bit pear-shaped. But at human scales, if I'm bicycling the Monon Trail? It might as well be flat. It's wrong but it's not all that wrong for that application.

Roberta X said...

Also, i really should have put on extra eyeliner and done a video whine under a blanket: "Leave Galileo allllooooooooone! Boo-hoo-hoo!" Totally.

Jay said...

Roberta,

I'd pay a dollar to see that video. It'd be a hoot!!!

og said...

Perl: Though my knees would claim otherwise, I am not actually that old.

No, I had had (as has Roberta) enough of the BS and disinformation and just did some research and learned the facts for myself.