“But Galileo”

Galileo was right, therefore contrarians are right.

Examples

[STEVE SAILER] And yet, it moves.

[JUAN PEDRO] Galileo was perhaps the first known conspiracy theorist as well. Fighting the climate religion with facts and science is the same today.

[AARON] Galileo and Bruno denied the scientific concensus. Just like climate sceptics. Therefore they are wrong.

[JON] There was a mountain of evidence for Newton, then came Einstein. And in a different way, there was “mountain of evidence” that the sun revolves around the earth, then came Galileo.

Objections and Replies

{Devout} Galileo was a good, devout Catholic
Reply. Galileo was great in many ways, but not in his religulous fervor.

{Disinterested} Galileo pursued truth for its own sake
Reply. According to TonyC, Mario Biagioli shows how Galileo exploited his scientific discoveries to climb the social ladder.

{Church} The Church was never questioned
Reply. There were lots of disputes within the Church, starting very early on.

{Heresy} Galileo was charged of heresy
Reply. You mean suspicion of vehement heresy, and that was after being warned in 1613 and interrogated in 1633 after breaking his word.

{Prison} Galileo was imprisoned (in a dongeon)
Reply. He was under house arrest, in a villa outside Florence near his daughters. He often received guests.

{Father} Galileo is the father of modern science
Galileo was more of a Carl Sagan mixed with a Nassim Taleb. He attacked scholastic authorities more than he engaged with real scientists. Further, most of the debates he won was with rhetorical bombast.

{Right.} Galileo was right
Depends. He has been shown wrong about the Moon, tides, comets, extrusion by whirling, the orbital velocity of planets, the path of a falling body, Venus, comets, the atmosphere on the Moon, tides, his theory of projectiles, etc.

{Experiment} Galileo was the first empiricist
Reply. Aristotle collected many specimens. Aristotelians too. Empirical work is arguably as old as men. Besides, Galileo faked or elided data as he saw fit.

{Mathematization} Galileo mathematized nature
Reply. That makes Archimedes sad. Galileo was no great mathematician: he miscalculated the area of a cycloid, and needed to rely on paper models.

{Astronomy} Galileo established astronomy as
Reply. He rooted for Copernicus’ model that was 100 years old, and Kepler.

{Telescope} Galileo invented the telescope and
Reply. Thomas Harriot did. He built one, published a pamphlet in 10 days, and got sponsors using his technological edge.

{Science} Galileo invented the word “Science”
Reply. Not really.

Notes

{Only Example} I will not discuss other heroes.

{We Are Science} There are no heroes. Science is a collective endeavour.

{Read History} If history makes you feel bad, that’s fine Ted.

References

2016-03. Galileo’s reputation is more hyperbole than truth.
Thony Christie presents a fair assessment of Galileo’s place in science history. He traces the Galileo myth back to John William Draper and Dickson White.

2020-01. The Case Against Galileo.
Viktor Blåsjö argues that Galileo is the most overrated figure in the history of science. A short summary with cartoons is provided at Ben‘s.

2020-05. Galileo sources: a starter kit.