Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems - Galileo Galilei, Stillman Drake, Albert Einstein The end of Scholasticism starts with this book. The Aristotelian thought (or as the book usually calls them The Peripatetics) and its appeal to authority and the appearance of the phenomena as truth are overturned. Sometimes what we see (such as the sun rising in the east) is not what is.

I loved the way Galileo uses the Aristotelian logic to poke holes in the Ptolemaic science (particularly, using proof by contradiction). Often in the other books I've read they'll make a statement such that Galileo purposely kept his argument to the Ptolemaic versus the Copernican system and ignored the Tycho system because he couldn't refute that as easily. After having read this book, I don't see that at all. The argument on the movement of the sunspots moving across the sun are best explained by a moving earth (or otherwise would lead to bizarre motions of the sun) and would work against the Tycho system as well.

Except for the bible, I don't think any single book from all the books I've read over the last five years has been mentioned or quoted more frequently then this book has.

There are multiple reasons to really enjoy this book. It's a great peek into the mindset of the very beginnings of modernity countermanding the pernicious influence of religious thought by permeating reason and rational thought. Proof by authority is never sufficient. The narrative we use to explain the world is as important as the phenomena. Relativity is cool. Even a brilliant person gets things wrong such as Galileo does with his tide hypothesis (now I finally understand what that was).

Often the book would read exactly like the morons who today argue against Climate Change. Particularly, the section were Galileo was trying to show the super nova of 1574 was in the firmament and not below the moon. The argumentation that they were using sounded just like what the morons who say that the weather stations on earth (or the satellites) aren't recording accurately because of blah, blah, blah.

Science has multiple values and none of them are absolute. One of it's values is how the story your telling fits into the current web of knowledge that's available. The moving earth around the sun upsets everything that was thought to be known as true in 1610 Europe and shakes it to its core, but, in the end, good argumentation with the proper narrative will end out. Fortunately, simplicity, accuracy, explanation, and prediction are some of the other values of science.

Relative thought is hard to grasp and Galileo makes it easy. I would spend multiple days on two or three pages trying to digest what was being said. It's always good to learn how other people think before gravity was a force and calculus wasn't yet discovered.

This version of the book I thought was very good. It had necessary footnotes (I didn't know Etiopico was Ethiopia and often referred to all of Africa below Egypt, e.g.). The least self-aware statement I've seen is in the forward by Albert Einstein which he wrote in June 1952 while criticizing Galileo for ignoring Keplers' elliptical orbits: "a grotesque illustration of the fact that creative individuals are often not receptive". Gee, Einstein maybe should have been receptive to quantum theory, don't you think?