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The Beer and the Telescope — 5 Comments

  1. Wow! I wish I could rip off writing on demand like that! In *one hour*?!?

    Discovering these planets is super-duper-DUPER cool. But from a historical perspective that faith that life is out there has a track record that is not so great. The grumpy curmudgeon in me begs the reader to consider the following:

    “The Modern Solar System, the Diversity of Worlds, and William Whewell”
    http://www.vofoundation.org/blog/whewell-modern-solar-system-diversity-worlds/

    and

    “Life as We Know It”
    http://magazine.nd.edu/news/life-as-we-know-it/

  2. Pingback: The Beer and the Telescope – Observatorio Astronómico del Vaticano comunidad religiosa de la Compañía de Jesús en Castel Gandolfo

  3. Wonderful articles, both of them, Christopher. I had not seen the Notre Dame Magazine one, well done!

    Of course another issue I have with the way people interpret the Copernican revolution is the idea that humanity was somehow demoted when we were no longer the “center of the universe”. In the medieval view, we were NOT at the center, but at the bottom! Indeed, if location meant importance, then Satan in the Inferno, presumed to be under the Earth, would be even more important that we were!

    The Copernican revolution raised Earth to the status of the other planets. Or, maybe, demoted all the planets down to Earth’s status!

  4. Had to go back and review those previous posts. I remember reading, and enjoying!
    It leaves me pleasantly settled and unsettled simultaneously.
    Somebody has already said this (here?), but Life, because of the size of the universe is so wonderfully statistically imperatively both abundant, and rare.
    I think I am grateful for the Copernican revolution. I am not at the center of the (physical and metaphysical) Universe, so I can quietly sit off to the side for a while, and enjoy the view when drinking my beer.
    HA! Is that how Astronomy was started?
    Thanks again for the insight.

    • On the subject of raising Earth to the status of a planet, or demoting planets to Earth:

      I once heard Dennis Danielson (author of “The First Copernican” — https://www.amazon.com/First-Copernican-Joachim-Rheticus-Revolution/dp/0802715303) give an interesting analogy about this. A lot of people did not like how Pluto was demoted out of “planet” status. In fact, I still hear gripes about that from the general public. And the vast majority of people have never seen Pluto — it’s just something they read about in books or see in pictures. Well, he notes, Copernicus demoted the SUN out of planet status (because he moved it to the center, or bottom, as Guy points out, of the universe)….

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