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History: On The Revolution Of The Heavenly Spheres By Nicolas Copernicus

1213 words - 5 pages

European belief relied heavily on what the human mind could observe. However, many of what we perceive of modern science delved deeper that what the mind could see. Rather, some looked deeper into how the world worked and some even looked toward the sky for answers to why God created the world the way it appeared. After many discoveries and evolutions of thought, the way human beings saw themselves within the universe was changed forever.
The Aristotelian tradition dominated most of modern Europe. People believed that this belief system was simply common sense. It was based on what an individual could see, touch, or any of the other six senses. This became very popular with the less educated people that made up most of Europe. The belief simply saw that the world was created by God and the world is perfectly logical and organized. It also believed that God resided in the heavens, or the sky above. Therefore, the heavens were perfect and were completely round, being that the circular shape is seen as perfect. It became “common sense” that the earth was at the center of the universe and was motionless, with all ten heavenly bodies circling around it, and because it was clear to the people that the earth was faulted, Earth was a symbol of the imperfections that they possessed. Each thought or belief about the world around them and the heavens above them fit with statements in the Bible. Though it was seen as just common sense, universities taught this throughout and it was also endorsed by the church. However, questions began to rise that the Aristotelian tradition could not answer.
Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, began to question the earth-centered universe. After his death, his book On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, began to circulate. Copernicus allegedly did not intend to revolutionize scientific thought. Rather, he merely wished to fix the astrological inconsistencies within the modern calendars. Throughout this attempt, Copernicus discovered that consistency was impossible with the earth-centered model. The model came to him due to his religious convictions. He believed that the sun resembled God and that it made more sense that God would be the source of light for life. However, Copernicus was very protective of his beliefs and states that if others were to hear his radical ideas that he himself would be rejected along with his belief. The fact that Copernicus was afraid to release his beliefs to the public shows how strongly the noose of religion attempted to snuff out “irrational” thought. It could be hypothesized that Copernicus was afraid of becoming labeled as a man trying to think higher than God, much like Adam. This fear surely must have had some effect on his decision to hide his discoveries. It also didn’t help that less than four percent of the population would understand his mathematical proof. With poor education ruling most of the land, reading of any kind was seen as something for noblemen. So, the furthering...

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