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The never-ending struggle for ownership

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Galileo Galilei was a genius mathematician who understood elements of the cosmos that we accept today as fact. What he failed to understand was that being right did not give you license to do what was wrong. Unsplash, Greg Rokozy
By Amanda Price

Ownership is far too often a contentious issue.

Who owns what? What right do they have to own it? And is it even rational to claim that one can exclusively own ideas, history or parts of the earth's crust?

We are generally fixated, if not obsessed, by the first two questions. The third is more often disregarded as pure philosophical speculation.

At this point, the reader may be forgiven for assuming that the central discussion in this article is based on the disputed territory of Dokdo.

It is not.

Instead, the topic of this article is about an older struggle for ownership.

It is about a struggle between two separate parties, one side struggling to establish their superiority and the other fighting to solidify their legitimacy.

The story of Galileo Galilei is most often used to make a case that faith and science are polar opposites of each other. Further still, Galileo's ultimate condemnation as a heretic is frequently used to prove that faith is an enemy of science.

For those who like to stand on this particular soap box, Galileo is the pin-up boy of the Renaissance, a cult hero and renegade thinker who held within his grasp discoveries that would revolutionize humanity's understanding of the universe.

Galileo's confinement represented the struggle for science to own science, and to keep faith from trespassing into places where it does not belong.

Unfortunately, Galileo is no longer around to strengthen or demolish this soap box. But worry not, we have resources at hand to assist us in his absence.

Historical research gives us insight into both the person of Galileo and his struggle to lay claim to a theory that is now irrefutable fact.

The first aspect to note about Galileo Galilei is that he was complex.

Obviously a genius mathematician, musician and astronomer, letters (mostly his own) and records reveal that he was also self-centered, factious, arrogant and sarcastic on a level that would rival the most caustic skeptic.

Some may argue that the temperament of a genius is irrelevant. However, it was Galileo's temperament, more so than his discoveries, that most disturbed his fellow scientists and religious authorities.

In 1610, it is well known that Galileo, with the aid of his masterfully designed telescope, observed planetary movements that brought into question the widely, but not exclusively, held belief in Aristotelian........

© The Korea Times