Talk:Galileo Galilei

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Former featured article Galileo Galilei is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Good article Galileo Galilei has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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November 4, 2003 Featured article candidate Promoted
September 12, 2007 Featured article review Demoted
February 28, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Former featured article, current good article
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A Rather Hypocritical Account of Galileo...[edit]

I couldn't help noticing, while reading this article, about the hypocritical tone in which this historical figure is being presented to the readers. I'm no expert on Galileo, but I do know and understand about the impact of some of his ideas and views about the world in which we live in. My main bit of criticism has to do with the way you are presenting the 'quarrel' between him and the Church. I don't think the person writing this bit does an honest account of things. You haven't really explained, for example, the reasons for the Church's annoyance at him and its further actions. So what if he came up with a different view of the world: it doesn't follow from this that you'll be vetoed and taken to the highest courts to defend yourself under the threat of being imprissoned for life if you do not change your opinion on the subject. Why did the Church do this: no explanation. I mean, it is disturbing that an act of bigotry and arrogance, and narrow-mindedness of this sort from the part of the authorities back then, the Church, passes almost unquestioned, unscrutinized, and unmentioned by those writing about the life of a person, a renowned scientist, who was victim of such regime for attempting to disseminate his findings. What was it that pissed the Church off so much about this new view of Galileo's? Writing down the reasons for this, here, in this open encyclopedia, which anyone, anywhere in the world can access, wont make the Church look so good, evidently, even though almost 400 years have passed since this and other many incidents of this kind (they needed to shut him up, and if he didn't shut up, you know what would've happened ----yes, these were the methods of the Church back then against those who thought differently). But the article 'naively' limits itself to indicate that his views were controversial (for whom were they controversial, and why exactly), and that the Roman Inquisition investigated the issue (why did the Roman Inquisition took up the issue? What did they care about the way the stars and our planet are arranged in the sky? What do they have to say in matters of astronomy? No explanation): the Why's and How's are left in the dark here and, as a result, we end up with a vague account of this aspect of Galileo's life and his struggle against an institution that very much prefered having people plunged in the depths of ignorance, so they could rather be aligned and ready to do as they said, either by way of myths, false promises or punishment. All for the 'glory' of the Church (not yours, even less for God's). This is Wikipedia people, a place where knowledge is shared, not hidden. This indirect propaganda your doing here is not very benefitial, and very much in opposition to Wikipedia's spirit of sharing and openness.


Some more detailed issues and criticisms of the article.

(1) At the beginning of the article, in the third paragraph, and later at 'Controversy over heliocentrism' (2.3 at the index) it said that Galileo's heliocentrism was controversial. Why was it controversial, exactly? Why was it controversial to have a different view to that of the Church? This is not discussed in any detail. (1.1) Was the Roman Inquisition formed by a panel of astronomical experts? (1.2) If not, why is Galileo forced to answer to them. (1.3) Why is the Roman Inquisition interested in his or any works and opinions on astronomical issues?

(2) In that same third paragraph, Galileo is said to have seemingly attacked the Pope and Jesuits: did he or did he not; (2.1) then he was tried by the Holy Office. Why? Why was it that he was tried by the Holy Office; (2.2) and after he was forced to recant and condemned to be arrested for life by this Holy Office, are you suggesting that it was because of this life inprisonment that he wrote his best books?


Concerning his theory of heliocentrism and its reception, take a look at the particular facts of Galileo's life that were selected for the readers to read in this same third opening paragraph: new theory... controversial... astronomers opposing him... Roman Inquisition investigating him... new theory = 'false'... his book is banned... he gets vetoed... then he attacks his 'old friends' and 'supporters' (the Pope, the Jesuits) through another book... the Holy Office charges him with being 'vehemently suspect of heresy'... so he is forced to recant... he gets arrested for life... but he writes his best books, though, when under arrest (Apparently, the Church did him a much needed favor when locking him up for life?). Kinda scary, huh? You bet. Your new theory of heliocentrism is unanimously condemned by the intellectuals of your time (for no (weird) positive reception seems to have been registered of an event of this sort; not according to Wikipedia, at least), and, what's even more serious an offense, you refuse to understand that your little theory about the skies and the Earth is not welcomed at all by the people from The Church, yet you insist on keep going on with it anyway. This guy, Galileo, was beyond salvation don't you think? He so deserved being persecuted... ----


(3) It is strange that no quotes from Galileo's works on heliocentrism are available throughout the article's text (there are no quotes from any of his works), yet many quotations from The Church's position on it, which is no authority on astronomical issues, are there anyway, as well as their negative opinions (or the Bible's 'expert' testimony on the validity of geocentrism, or even references to The Church's most beloved theologians or Popes ----there is even a link, in the middle of the article, to the resolution of the Inquisition regarding Galileo's issue----). This is an article about Galileo Galilei, the scientist, considered by many as the father of modern science (an opinion Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking seem to share); it is not, on the other hand, an article about The Church's position on his theories.


(4) Throughout the article, the writer seems to be pretty keen on pointing out Galileo's refuted or mistaken theories by later scientists, yet no such thing is seen nor even suggested about the refuted or very mistaken theories of The Church regarding the same or even much more basic issues by later, and previous too, scientists and philosophers.


Why is this, Wikipedians? Don't tell me you don't see what's going on... Unwishful Thinker (talk) 06:48, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

This article was written by about 2,773 editors. Only comment if you want to make a new point of fact or logic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.190.114.57 (talk) 12:12, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
As Galileo said, his opinion was not new and had been put forward by Pythagoras earlier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.190.114.57 (talk) 12:15, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Unwishful Thinker seems to be on the West Coast of America. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sleuthsleuth616 (talkcontribs) 12:58, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
If you are looking for more detail, try Galileo affair. You say the article is hypocritical, but where is the hypocrisy? Is someone being insincere or making false pretenses? You ask questions like: "Why was it controversial to have a different view to that of the Church?" It seems obvious to me that having a different view is what makes a controversy. So I do not see the problem. But if you have some suggestions on how to make it clearer, please go ahead. Roger (talk) 18:22, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Some quick answers for you, my fellow Christian friends. I know that being a Christian demands of you being in some serious denial about things and yourselves: that gotta be tough. I mean, in order for Christianism to work for you, you gotta lie to yourselves day after day after day at the expense of your own mental health. And that's OK if that's the only way for you to go through. But since Wikipedia is not Christianpedia, I'll say and talk about stuff that you probably wont want to hear, even if it is for the article's sake. I mentioned about the hypocritical tone of Wikipedia Galileo's entry, and pointed out some concrete problems. One of you said that people has to refrain here from any comentary that didn't refer to points of fact or logic. But that's not the only thing that can ruin an article. For I can mention, for example, that Hitler had a tough childhood (fact), that he was interested in politics (fact), that some people didn't agree with his views (fact) and that he put and end to his life by commiting suicide (fact), all of this arranged in a perfectly logically-bound frame, and still make him look as your regular 20th Century citizen. No, points of fact or logic are not the only things that can be improved in an article. Roger, then, says that he cannot really see the problem I'm raising here. He seems to be saying that Galileo's controversy with the Church stems merely from the fact that he had a different opinion than that of the Church. Is that being hypocritical or what? My sister and I also disagree in many respects, yet neither I nor she sent each other to life imprisonment, nor threaten to destroy each other works, or writings, etc. The point is: why was it so important for a mob-like institution like the then Church to shut Galileo up. Nothing of this is said in the article: nothing. Nothing about the Church's petty interests being threatened by this, then new, and much more solidly supported view of the world. Nothing in particular about the reasons why they, the Church, felt threatened by Galileo's work, something that would make much, much clearer this institution's harrasing and far from 'saintly' behavior towards him. In a nutshell, Galileo's work meant the end of the notion that God was somewhere above, looking out for us: it meant the end of heaven ("there is no heaven!"), and, therefore, no God (at least, not in the way they usually sell it to people). But also, Galileo's work, when properly understood, meant the end of the soul hypothesis (the soul: that which gives life to the living): the soul is not that which explains my or your behaviour: the soul does not move a single thing, our bodies (the soul, whatever it is we think it is, is irrelevant; ergo, the soul doesn't exist!). If heaven doesn't exist, and the soul doesn't exist, the Church doesn't exist. But the power-hungry individuals running the Church might have had another opinion regarding this last conclusion: "We're not going anywhere! Take that Galileo guy down, now! It is him or us". And I assume, my dear Wikipedian friends, that you realize that the reasons behind the Church's refusal to get more than justifiably extinguished were not precisely born out of that 'love' of theirs for humanity; that 'burning' love of theirs...Unwishful Thinker (talk) 20:09, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

One seen earlier[edit]

The article Moons of Jupiter#Discovery notes that a moon, possibly Callisto, was seen earlier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Czech1001Slovak (talkcontribs) 17:01, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

See also Galilean moons#Visibility. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Czech1001Slovak (talkcontribs) 17:07, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
As that observation is only a possible sighting, I'm not sure that this belongs in the lead section. A mention in the body of the article would be fine, using this ref. Mikenorton (talk) 17:38, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
The sighting is certain. The only doubt is about the identity of the moon seen. Untrue statements should not appear anywhere in the article. William M. Connolley mentions a non-existent controversy. Perhaps he would like to discuss detail, astronomical and historical, such as the magnitudes of the four moons and so on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.130.44.141 (talk) 13:56, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
The moon seen in about 364 B.C. might have been any one of the four brightest. It is just easier to see the two outermost moons. The ancient sighting might have been of two moons, near each other, looking like one. In which case, two moons were seen unwittingly. There is a faint chance the three or four moons were blurred together, but only very faint. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 5.102.235.199 (talk) 16:21, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Improvement[edit]

Galileo is said to have improved the telescope. He might have introduced a baffle. If so, I want a citation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 159.8.170.8 (talk) 12:29, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

The site www.handprint.com/ASTRO/ae2.html mentions baffles but does not seem to credit them to any one man. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 159.8.170.8 (talk) 12:34, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 7 May 2015[edit]

holier Osamoatodos (talk) 17:37, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. If you are trying to report a typo in the article, please tell us the specific sentence where it is. Altamel (talk) 19:49, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
This user, Osamoatodos, seems to be unconnected with the tag team active in these articles. His contribution is meaningless, where the tag team in America is mendacious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.89.186.107 (talk) 09:51, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Supported by the Jesuits?[edit]

The article claims in the lede that Galileo was supported by the Jesuits up until the publication of the two systems in 1632. The reference given is an article by Pantin. However, Pantini's article makes no such claims. Many sources indicate, on the contrary, that the Jesuits were bitter enemies of Galileo on account of both heliocentrism and the method of indivisibles, at least as early as 1616 and probably earlier. Does anyone have more details on this? Tkuvho (talk) 09:04, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Galileo was given favorable treatment at a Jesuit college in Rome. A Pope gave Galileo a medal and a pension for his son.
This visit seems to have been during 1611. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.196.138.243 (talk) 09:28, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure that anyone mentioned indivisibles at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.252.169.185 (talk) 09:35, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Tkuvho should specify the many sources he mentions, with quotations from the 17th century texts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.13.29.187 (talk) 09:39, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Amir Alexander in Infinitesimals: How a dangerous mathematical theory shaped the modern world (2014) shows how indivisibles and infinitesimals were perceived as a theological threat and opposed on doctrinal grounds in the 17th century. The opposition was spearheaded by clerics and more specifically by the jesuits. In 1632 (the year Galileo was summoned to stand trial over heliocentrism) the Society's Revisors General led by father Jacob Bidermann banned teaching indivisibles in their schools (Alexander p. 17). Tkuvho (talk) 15:59, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

There was opposition to heliocentrism in ancient times. Most were supporters of geostaticism anciently. When calculus was first introduced, there was opposition to it anciently. The Jesuits were not in existence in these early, ancient times. A complicated theory involving 1632 and the Jesuits has been appearing in Wikipedia in the last two or three days, from Tk etc. and Amir Alexander. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.9.56.78 (talk) 11:56, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

This featured article contains a claim in the lede that is not supported by the reference provided (Pantini) and is furthermore contradicted by other scholars. In addition, the lede should be a summary of the material actually contained in the article. The article contains no justification of the claim that the Jesuits supported Galileo until 1632. On the contrary, there is much evidence that they had opposed him for at least 15 years prior to that date. I propose that the reference to the Jesuits in the lede be removed. Tkuvho (talk) 07:17, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
I just checked the history of the page and it turns out that the comment about the Jesuits supporting Galileo, as well as the reference by Pantin (that does not support the claim), was added by User:Quarkgluonsoup in this edit of 7 sept 2011. Note that by then the page had been a FA for a long time. I suggest we revert to the wording found in the earlier version that was more accurate. Tkuvho (talk) 16:47, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
The relevant archive is archive 11 that covers 2011. I just checked and there does not seem to have been any discussion of this radical change, either by User:Quarkgluonsoup or anyone else. Tkuvho (talk) 16:54, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
See here. I had my doubts about those changes when they were made, but since they were apparently supported by a reliable source, I didn't question them at the time. Some time later, I got hold of Pantin's article, and was surprised and disgusted to find that not a single one of the changes was supported by it. I then started composing the discussion I linked to above, but it was taking so much time that I eventually lost all interest in finishing it, and much of my interest in watching over this article.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 23:08, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so there was some discussion at your talkpage, but it did not make it to Talk:Galileo Galilei. It seems to me that for a "good article" this is currently supposed to be, the lede is pretty sloppy and should be corrected. Tkuvho (talk) 07:15, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, it was only a "discussion" in the sense of a monologue which I was composing in one of my sandboxes, with the intention of later transferring to this talk page, which I never got around to doing. No-one else ever took part in it, and it's quite likely that very few, if any, other editors, ever saw it. Here's a slightly amended version of the paragraph I had intended to propose as a replacement for Quarkgluonsoup's version:
"Galileo's advocacy of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most philosophers and astronomers still subscribed to the view that the Earth stood motionless at the centre of the universe. After 1610, when he began publicly supporting the heliocentric view, which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe, he was opposed by astronomers, philosophers and clerics. One of the latter, Niccolò Lorini, eventually lodged an informal complaint against Galileo with the prefect of the Congregation of the Index, and another, Tommaso Caccini, formally denounced him to the Roman Inquisition, early in 1615. The subsequent investigation led to the Catholic Church's condemning heliocentrism as "false" and "altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture" in a decree by the Congregation of the Index in February 1616. Although Galileo was not then judged to have committed any offence, he was nevertheless warned to abandon his support for heliocentrism—which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to abjure, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest."
David Wilson (talk · cont) 09:47, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
That sounds like a more balanced introduction. The new introduction deserves a section of its own here (see below). Tkuvho (talk) 07:50, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Repetition[edit]

User:Tkuvho is making repetitious remarks in the article. With a reference to the quarrel between Galileo and Scheiner already there, Tkuvho has put in another. This is followed by some vague talk about "friction" between Galileo and the Jesuits. All this is credited to Amir Alexander. Tkuvho has spent the last five days telling us about a Jesuit plot, quoting at length from Amir Alexander. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.55.136.254 (talk) 09:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Actually, Tkuvho has been producing a flood of quotations from Amir Alexander since 19/9/2014. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 185.39.25.220 (talk) 09:40, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
This was just after Amir Alexander's book was published in the June or July of 2014. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.110.15.55 (talk) 09:27, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi IP anonymous, actually it would be helpful if you could register (it does not have to be under your real name) rather than flooding us with a series of IP's that create the impression that there is more than one user speaking. Your comments would carry more weight then. Tkuvho (talk) 11:52, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

New introduction[edit]

User:JamesBWatson proposed a paragraph in replacement for User:Quarkgluonsoup's flawed version of paragraph on heliocentism in the lede:

"Galileo's advocacy of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most philosophers and astronomers still subscribed to the view that the Earth stood motionless at the centre of the universe. After 1610, when he began publicly supporting the heliocentric view, which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe, he was opposed by astronomers, philosophers and clerics. One of the latter, Niccolò Lorini, eventually lodged an informal complaint against Galileo with the prefect of the Congregation of the Index, and another, Tommaso Caccini, formally denounced him to the Roman Inquisition, early in 1615. The subsequent investigation led to the Catholic Church's condemning heliocentrism as "false" and "altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture" in a decree by the Congregation of the Index in February 1616. Although Galileo was not then judged to have committed any offence, he was nevertheless warned to abandon his support for heliocentrism—which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to abjure, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest."

This is more balanced and unlike User:Quarkgluonsoup's version does not contain misrepresentation of sources. I vote in favor. Tkuvho (talk) 07:58, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Did I? When and where did I propose that? I can't find any edit in either the history of the article or the history of this talk page where I did so. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 10:25, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
I think this was just a mental slip by Tkuvho. It was actually I who proposed this, in the section Supported by the Jesuits? above. The proposed text is in fact not much different from that which Quarkgluonsoup's edit replaced. The main differences are the addition of astronomers to the classes of scholars who opposed Galileo, and the correction of a minor inaccuracy which had had two clerics denouncing him to the Inquisition. In fact, Lorini's complaint was not made directly to the Inquistion itself. What he did was send Cardinal Paolo Sfondrati, the then prefect of the Congregation of the Index, a copy of Galileo's letter to Benedetto Castelli. In a covering letter, Lorini explicitly stated that he did not wish to make a "judicial deposition", but Sfondrati nevertheless forwarded the copy of Galileo's letter to the Inquisition, where it became the subject of further investigation.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 11:22, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I was still half asleep this morning when I wrote this. At any rate, I support User:David_J_Wilson's version. Tkuvho (talk) 12:45, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Tkuvho[edit]

User:Tkuvho has deleted an observational fact that was in the article for years, namely the lack of perceptible annual stellar parallax. This deletion is dishonest. He deleted the fact to make it look as though Galileo's opponents had no reason for subscribing to their geostatic opinions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by FirstSecondThird (talkcontribs)

Pantin[edit]

The article by Pantin,

Isabelle Pantin (1999), "New Philosophy and Old Prejudices: Aspects of the Reception of Copernicanism in a Divided Europe", Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci. 30: 237–262

is a fine piece in a respected historical journal. However, this article has been abused by editors in this page, by attributing things to it that are just not there in Pantin's article. One example is the alleged friendship between Galileo and the Jesuits until 1632; the other is the stellar parallax. An earlier version of the article made reference to parallax and cited Pantin in support of this, but Pantin does not mention the parallax. Any claims of this sort, particularly in the lede, need to be supported by sources. Tkuvho (talk) 10:08, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

The lack of perceptible annual stellar parallax before the 19th. century is common knowledge in astronomical circles and therefore does not need any citation, reference or the like. See Friedrich Bessel. No claim is being made, just a statement of the obvious. See the studies of annual stellar parallax of Henderson and Struve. — Preceding unsigned comment added by FirstSecondThird (talkcontribs)
It is indeed obvious that stellar parallax was not discovered until 1838. What is less clear to me is to what extent the adherence of the establishment in Rome to geocentrism was dictated by lack of evidence for parallax rather than by following church dogma. Does anyone have information on that? Tkuvho (talk) 14:48, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Most of the ancients subscribed to geostaticism and geocentrism. I cannot see that the ancients were following church dogma. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.122.156.93 (talk) 10:07, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Redondi's book[edit]

The book

Redondi, Pietro. Galileo: heretic. Translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1987. x+357 pp. ISBN: 0-691-08451-3

seems relevant. Should it be included here? Tkuvho (talk) 07:41, 29 May 2015 (UTC)