Galileo Themes

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The conflict between science (which is aligned with truth and knowledge) and religion (which is aligned with ignorance and power mongering) is the most obvious conflict in Galileo. Galileo's research into the stars is so dangerous because of its potential to upset the existing religious hierarchy. In the Middle Ages and later, there developed a notion called the Great Chain of Being. This long-standing religious belief established a rigid hierarchy, with God at the top, the Pope beneath him, the Cardinals beneath the Pope, et cetera, down to the serf or peasant at the bottom. Because this chain was supposed to be divinely ordered, it was nearly impossible to question. It became part of the Church's rationale for its permanent power over the rest of society.

Galileo's heliocentric evidence threatened this theory of the Great Chain of Being. Suddenly, the earth and its people are not...

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This section contains 826 words
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Buy the Galileo Study Guide
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