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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/765

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1851 the great experiment of Foucault with the pendulum, showed to the human eye the earth in motion around its own axis. To make the matter complete, this experiment was publicly made in one of the churches at Rome by the eminent astronomer, Father Secchi, of the Jesuits, in 1852—just two hundred and twenty years after the Jesuits had secured Galileo's condemnation.[1]




QUITE a number of delusions find a common point of origin in the wide-spread belief that our thoughts and actions are to be completely explained by reference to what our consciousness tells us and what our will directs. The equally important realm of the unconscious and the involuntary is too apt to be overlooked. It is true that we are ready to admit that, in some unusual and semi-morbid conditions, persons will show these untoward phenomena; but we are slow to believe that they have any bearing upon the soundly reasoned and skillfully directed actions of our own intelligence. Accordingly, when from time to time there comes to the front some phenomenon diverging from the ordinary experience of mankind and apparently revealing obscure laws, we fly to some unproved and extreme explanation, and fail to recognize in our daily unconscious and involuntary activity the true source of the apparent mystery. While it is very reasonable to trust the verdict of our consciousness, yet it is equally

  1. For good statements of the final action of the Church in the matter, see Gebler; also Zoeckler, Geschichte der Beziehungen, etc., ii, 352. See also Bertrand, Fondateurs de l'Astronomie moderne, p. 61; Flammarion, Vie de Copernic, chap. ix. As to the time when the decree of condemnation was repealed, there have been various pious attempts to make it earlier than the reality. Artaud, p. 307, cited in an apologetic article in the Dublin Review, September, 1865, says that Galileo's famous dialogue was published in 1744, at Padua, entire, and with the usual approbations. The same article also declares that in 1818 the ecclesiastical decrees were repealed by Pius VII in full Consistory. Whewell accepts this; but Cantu, an authority favorable to the Church, acknowledges that Copernicus's work remained on the Index as late as 1835 (Cantu, Histoire universelle, vol. xv, p. 483); and with this Th. Martin, not less favorable to the Church, but exceedingly careful as to the facts, agrees; and the most eminent authority of all. Prof. Reusch, of Bonn, in his Index der verbotenen Bücher, Bonn, 1885, vol. ii, p. 396, confirms the above statement in the text exactly as I made it in 1871. For a clear statement of Bradley's exquisite demonstration of the Copernican theory by reasonings upon the rapidity of light, etc., and Foucault's exhibition of the rotation of the earth by the pendulum experiment, see Hoefer, Histoire de l'Astronomie, pp. 492 et seq. For more recent proofs of the Copernican theory, by the discoveries of Bunsen, Bischoff, Benzenburg, and others, see Jevons, Principles of Science.