Quotes about Nicolaus Copernicus
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Yet in this my stars were not Mercury as morning star in the angle of the seventh house, in quartile with Mars, but they were Copernicus, they were Tycho Brahe, without whose books of observations everything which has now been brought by me into the brightest daylight would lie buried in darkness.
I esteem myself happy to have as great an ally as you in my search for truth. I will read your work … all the more willingly because I have for many years been a partisan of the Copernican view because it reveals to me the causes of many natural phenomena that are entirely incomprehensible in the light of the generally accepted hypothesis. To refute the latter I have collected many proofs, but I do not publish them, because I am deterred by the fate of our teacher Copernicus who, although he had won immortal fame with a few, was ridiculed and condemned by countless people (for very great is the number of the stupid).
It is no matter of chance that the greatest scientists of all time, Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Linnaeus, Faraday, Darwin, and Maxwell, were men of noble character, modest, straightforward, and full of human sympathy. The great French mathematician, Henri Poincare, stated that the chief end of life is contemplation, not action.
The astronomer of to-day may look back upon Hipparchus and Ptolemy as the earliest ancestors of whom he has positive knowledge. He can trace his scientific descent from generation to generation, through the periods of Arabian and mediaeval science, through Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, La Place and Herschel, down to the present time.
I cannot sufficiently admire the eminence of those men's wits, that have received and held it to be true, and with the sprightliness of their judgments offered such violence to their own senses, as that they have been able to prefer that which their reason dictated to them, to that which sensible experiments represented most manifestly to the contrary.... I cannot find any bounds for my admiration, how that reason was able in Aristarchus and Copernicus, to commit such a rape on their senses, as in despite thereof to make herself mistress of their credulity.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Just as the line of astronomical thinkers from Copernicus to Newton had destroyed the old astronomy, in which the earth was the center, and the Almighty sitting above the firmament the agent in moving the heavenly bodies about it with his own hands, so now a race of biological thinkers had destroyed the old idea of a Creator minutely contriving and fashioning all animals to suit the needs and purposes of man.
Since Copernicus, man seems to have got himself on an inclined plane-now he is slipping faster and faster away from the center into-what? into nothingness? into a 'penetrating sense of his nothingness?'... all science, natural as well as unnatural-which is what I call the self-critique of knowledge-has at present the object of dissuading man from his former respect for himself, as if this had been but a piece of bizarre conceit.
…Copernicus was condemned for suggesting that the sun… was the center of our universe… Giordano Bruno was persecuted, and… burned at the stake for arguing that space extended beyond our solar system…. William Harvey was condemned… for suggesting that the heart was the center of the body's circulatory system… Each ultimately was proven to be correct…. Today U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) are engaging in persecution of their own, attempting to silence dissenting voices [on climate change].
Joseph Ratzinger has stood still because as a Bavarian Catholic in the Hellenistic tradition, interpreted in Roman terms, he wanted to stand still. To this degree he represented and represents a different basic model of theology and church, as different from mine as in astronomy Ptolemy's geocentric picture of the world is different from Copernicus' heliocentric picture.
The immense laughter of Bruno when he understood that Copernicus had inverted the universe — what was it but joy in the confirmation of his knowledge that Mind, in the center of all, contains within it all that it is the center of? … the Universe exploded into infinitude, a circle of which Mind, the center, was everywhere and the circumference nowhere. The trick-mirror of finitude was smashed, Bruno laughed, the starry realms were a jewelled bracelet in the hand.
Biologists conventionally think that it is a crazy idea. First they argued that micro organisms cannot last through the passage through UV, X rays, gamma rays. Now people have shown in laboratory experiments that bacteria learn to survive. So that argument doesn't work. People are still not receptive. It is like the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. Biologists are going through the same phase.