A Short History of Science and Religion - Rise of Science and Philosophy
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Article Index
A Short History of Science and Religion
The Ancient World
The Greek Contribution
Rise of Christtianity
Dark and Middle Ages
Rise of Science and Philosophy
Galileo, Newton, Kant
Modern Times
Personal Theology
All Pages

The Rise of Science - The Enlightenment by Great Scientists and Philosophers

Johannes Kepler and Tyco Brahe - Two great astronomers lived during the 16th century. Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer born in Swabia in the south of Germany. Tyco BraheTyco Brahe was a colorful Danish nobleman who lived in what is now called Sweden.

Tyco Brahe was once out drinking with friends as a 20-year old. He got into an argument and wound up getting his nose cut off in a duel. For the remainder of his life he wore a copper nose prosthesis. He is also reported to have had a pet moose which somehow drank too much beer during a party and feel down onto the floor and died. It is not known why he was in the house. Tyco Brahe was indeed a colorful fellow! He was also a very bright scholar and astronomer who was determined to provide a compromise between the heliocentric system proposed by Copernicus and the geocentric system maintained by the church. So, he advanced a theory that the sun and moon rotate around the earth, while the remainder of the planets rotate around the sun. The resulting system tied mathematicians and astronomers in knots for years until Brahe's theory was finally disproved. However, the Church was convinced that his speculations were correct, and they adopted his combination planetary system.

Meanwhile, Johannes Kepler tried in vain to convince Brahe that he was wrong, and that the Copernican heliocentric system was indeed correct. In fact, Kepler even figured out the ellipical orbits of the planets and laid the foundations for the careful observations later by Galileo. Remember, there were no telescopes yet in the 16th century. 

lutherMatin Luther Weighs In - In 1483, Martin Luther was born. Luther, of course, was responsible for the Reformation. As we shall see later, it caused a splintering of the Roman Catholic church that was to indirectly widen the riff between science and religion. Luther also categorically rejected the Copernican system of planetary motion, and supported the geocentric system of the Roman Catholic Church.