Friday, November 6, 2015

Platos Cave and the Flat Earth Society...

"Before Copernicus, mankind knew that the earth sat motionless at the very center of the universe with the sun and stars turning around it. After Copernicus, we knew the earth was just a minor planet orbiting an unremarkable star. He was the first of the scientific revolutionaries, but he was not the last. He has been followed by a long and glorious list of imitators. These copycat revolutionaries borrowed his scientific methods and to a surprising degree also used very similar imaginative tricks to turn their own fields into sciences.
It is worth pondering what Copernicus did and what he did not do. Copernicus did not make any new astronomical observations of significance. His breakthrough did not rely on new mathematics or other astronomical techniques. He did not produce a more accurate astronomical model than the previous Ptolemaic system. He provided no experimental demonstration that his model was superior to the Ptolemaic system.
All that Copernicus did was to describe the universe in a simpler, more logical way. Copernicus provided conceptual efficiency. His triumph was in the elegance of his model, which allowed subsequent workers to think more  around it.

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