Galileo vs the Catholic Church

The 350 year old debate continues.

In 1992 Pope John Paul II officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary - it revolved around the sun - but was this the end of the story??

The disagreement between Galileo and the Catholic church began back in the 17th century when Galileo began offering observations that supported Copernicus’s theory that the planet Earth was revolving around the sun rather then the sun revolving around the Earth.

The church maintained that the scriptures indicated that the Earth was stationary. Everyone knew the Earth was stationary, it was an accepted fact. For thousands of years it had been accepted that the heavenly bodies all revolved around the stationary Earth.

And then Copernicus came along and published his book with these heretical ideas on astronomy that stated that the Earth was revolving around the sun. Copernicus was so fearful of the consequenses of his revolutionary theory that he waited until he was on his death bed before he published his book.

His ideas were so radical that the church didn’t feel too threatened - that is until Galileo built his telescope and began discovering moons revolving around Jupiter and the different phases of Venus as it revolved around the sun. This finally got the inquisitor’s attention - these observations were in direct contrast to the scriptures - something had to be done, the scriptures could not be wrong - these heretical theories had to be stopped.

They did this by summoning Galileo to a hearing and threatened to throw him into a dungeon and possibly torture him until he recanted. Galileo knew this was no idle threat since they had tortured and burnt Father Bruno at the stake along with many other heritics over the years.

Galileo’s defense was that scriptures were not wrong, only the theologian’s interpretations of the scriptures were wrong. His defense did not prevail, so in the end, rather then suffer the consequenses, he recanted his theories and went into house arrest knowing that the truth would someday be known.

The inquistors had won for the time being - the Earth would remain stationary with the sun and other planets revolving around the Earth. Although the church had long since accepted the Copernican system it wasn’t until 1992 that Pope John Paul 11 officially apologized and set the record straight. In his statement he used Gailieo’s defense saying that the scriptures were not wrong they were just mistakenly interpreted by the theologians. The Earth was not stationary after all. But was it??

Could it be that both the theologians and Galileo were right and indeed it was the interpretaions that were faulty?? How could that be?? How could they both possibly right?? How could the Earth be both moving and stationary at the same time. We know from obsevation that the Earth is moving - relative to the other solar bodies - so how could it be stationary too.

For that we have to move forward in time a couple of hundred years to when Michelson and Morley carried out their famous experiments to show that the Earth was indeed moving - not only relative to other bodies but also through the aether, through space itself.

Their experiment was a complete failure they could find no evidence that the Earth was moving at all. Something was radically wrong. Michelson tried experiment after experiment for the rest of his life and could find no evidence that the Earth was moving relative to an aether or to space.

This sent the physicists into a tizzy, Michelson thought his experiments were all failures - what was he doing wrong?? How could he detect the Earth's motion. Other scientists also tried various experiments and all failed. Or did they??

Lorentz came up with the adhoc explanation that, as the Earth sailed through the heavens it contracted in the direction it was going just enough to compensate for its forward motion. In fact everything contracted just enough so the Earth's motion could never be detected. Einstein also used this contraction concept although he discarded the aether. Nature had played a cruel trick on us, we could never know which direction we were headed.

However, just maybe - the Earth is stationary relative to space alone. Then both Galileo and the theologians would be right. The Earth moves relative to other bodies but it is stationary relative to space itself. If the results of Michelson & Morley’s experiments were taken at face value - they had discovered that bodies do not move relative to space itself. A revolutionary discovery! Their experiments would be a prodigious step towards a better understanding of the universe.

When considering space alone, space is a single indivisible entity from one end of the universe to the other. A body cannot pass from one part of space to another part of space because it is all one, there is absolutely no difference in space no matter where you go. Bodies only move through space relative to otherbodies or references. All motion is relative, bodies only move relative to other bodies. One cannot describe the motion of a body in space alone without taking another refernce point into consideration.

When there are no bodies or references such as in empty space alone, the body is stationary. When a body is relative to absolute space it is motionless. There is no possible way to detect the motion of a body in space without using some other reference to discern the motion. Nothing moves relative to space itself. The Earth, relative to space, is stationary!

So far as I know - no scientists have accepted the results of the M/M experiment, they all went with the Lorentz, Fitzgerald, Einstein contraction concept instead. But it is ironic that after all this time - just maybe, both Galileo and the church were right in a certain sense - the Earth is stationary - relative to absolute space - while it moves - relative to other bodies. It may take a while before scientists will accept this simple concept but eventually the truth will prevail.

Ref:    The MIND of Mankind - Chapter 16 - The Michelson-Morley Experiment; "Matter does not move relative to space itself."

Donald Louis Hamilton is author of the book; "The MIND of Mankind: Human Imagination, the source of Mankind's tremendous power".

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- Human Imagination -
The source of Mankind’s tremendous power!

Donald Louis Hamilton

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Reviews & Comments

  •  I received your book in the mail and I am on page 96 this morning. I can't put it down!!! I have read litterly 100's of books in the past 15 years and I have to say that your book (so far) is answering every question that I ever had about life! Your book makes more sense to me than any other I have read.  Sincerely, Donna

  •  "The Mind of Mankind" explores the unique ability of the mind to form a mental image - to imagine.  Mr Hamilton discusses current theories as well as mysteries and introduces new ones from his fertile imagination for us to ponder, consider, accept or reject.
    Richard Fuller,   Senior Editor - Metaphysical Reviews

  •  "I'm a geophysicist. I work in geodynamics and climate. My field of work is earth rotation and gravity in relation with climate. I read some ideas of your book, and they are quite good. Regards - Rodrigo, France

  •   Ted Holmes says, "I just want to pass along my compliments on the depth of thought you have put into your work. I especially enjoyed the portion illustrating how a body does not move except in relation to other bodies, not in relation to space.  It is the first time I have heard about this concept."

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