Objections of the Astronomers and Natural Philosophers to the Copernican System
Since, however, almost everyone has been of the conviction that the earth is immobile since it is a heavy body, the dregs, as it were, of the universe and for this reason situated in the middle or the lowest region of the heavens, and since they are of the opinion that the Sacred Scriptures also confirm this belief, the additional criticisms and contradictions of the astronomers themselves as well as those of the natural philosophers and theologians continue to persist. Some of the early critics, like Aristotle, Ptolemy, and others added force to these criticisms that have been brought forward. Another group added new objections of their own and when they saw themselves refuted by fundemental mathematical and philosophical arguments, they called upon the authority of the Scriptures. The arguments which Ptolemy relied upon to prove that the earth is stable, are essentially as follows. The first is based upon the injuries to be feared as a result of the daily motion of the earth. “Animals and whatever else the earth sustains, will fall into the air and leave the sphere of earth; for the earth must move 5400 miles in one day, or 1/6 of a mile per second, and for this reason, (so he believes), it will disperse, dissipate or scatter everything into the heavens with utmost speed etc.” (Book IV, Chapter 5 shows, however, that this is prevented by the conserving virtue of the earth.)
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.