“Galileo has been depicted variously as a cynical opportunist, patient genius or lucky engineer, and dies a coward or a modern Socrates.” I agree that he is a patient genius, and lucky engineer, but I do not agree that he is a cynical opportunist, coward or a modern Socrates.
Galileo was a mathematician and a natural philosopher, who converted Copernicanism, which states that the earth revolved around the sun, into philosophy and the world’s true nature. By introducing new knowledge and using science to prove existing theories, he had caused a revolution by changing how people perceive the world during the last few hundred years and to doubt the authority of the Church, so as to spur on more people to confront the Church’s interpretations of the Bible and generate more knowledge.
He was an opportunist, but not cynical. He believed that his ideas were beneficial to the society as a whole, so he did not only think about himself. He was an opportunist, no doubt, as he decided to take action and published the book The Starry Messenger that recorded his findings and observations of the stars and planet, thus changing the old mindset of the Earth being the only planet with satellites and the heliocentric theory. He also had plans ready in case opportunities turn up so he could grasp them. For example, when Baberini became the Pope and Bellarmine died, he immediately drafted a debate between the old sciences, which were Geocentrism and other beliefs that the Church had, and the new sciences, which were Heliocentrism and other things that Galileo discovered. He was a Catholic, and believed in searching for the truth of the world, thus he was not researching for his own sake, but for the world’s. In such circumstances, he was an opportunist, but not cynical.
Galileo have had his opinions about science for a long time, but he only expressed them after his major critics, including Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, died, and Maffeo Barberini, his old friend, became the Pope. This shows that he was patient and not reckless. Galileo was a genius. He proved the universe was heliocentric by using science and mathematical calculations, and building up on Copernicus’ mere idea. So, although he had his own thinking and ideas, he waited fir the right opportunity to voice them out to minimize conflicts with the church, thus he was a patient genius.
He was a lucky engineer. Through his hard work, he achieved great results from observing the stars, and applied math, scientific knowledge, and his own thinking in coming up with proofs that the universe was heliocentric and other theories such as...