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Nicolaus Copernicus

2 bytes added, 23:05, 28 March 2007
/* Copernican Principle */ format
The Copernican Principle says that Man has no special place in the universe. According to some, this principle has an almost Biblical significance. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica says:
:''The implications of Copernicus' work can not be exaggerated. His views challenged the literal interpretation of Scripture, the philosophical and metaphysical foundations of moral theory, and even common sense itself. The result was a massive opposition to his reported ideas. It was the slow, sure acceptance of the heliocentric theory by natural philosophers that ultimately quieted the general clamor, however the name of Copernicus is still a battle cry against the establishment in religion, philosophy and science. In later years with Freud, man lost his Godlike mind; with Darwin his exalted place among the creatures of the Earth; with Copernicus man had lost his privileged position in the Universe.''<ref></ref>
All of this would have been unrecognizable to Copernicus. His model was readily accepted to the extent that it agreed with observation, and abandoned when better models came along later. He didn't challenge any moral theory, and he got Catholic Church approval for his book. Not everyone views the history of science as the story of how Man became insignificant.