A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells
Johannes Kepler was a great builder of a world system, perhaps the last one to imagine that Platonic mathematical forms are an ideal reflection of physical reality. His family in Germany seemed to be far from ideal for a future serious scientist. His father was an adventurer and mercenary, who disappeared for good when Johannes was 17 years old. His mother was an erratic character, a kind of sorceress who was threatened with death at the stake for witchcraft - she was freed from prison only thanks to the years-long struggle by her son who was then already a respected astronomer. The family was poor, but Kepler received a grant to go to school - even then there were grants for poor but gifted children. Finally, he entered the University of T bingen to study theology. There he came to know about the new world system
The Prophet first came to the attention of the United States administration when he was involved in the burning of some proclaimed witches. The Delaware Indians, originally from the region now known as New Jersey and the state bearing their name, had become refugees through the grabbing of their lands. In consequence they had been driven westwards, into Ohio. They were not happy. Hearing about how the Prophet had condemned both the Americans and also other religious leaders, they invited him to come and help them purify themselves. Sure enough the Prophet identified several of their number as witches responsible for the ills that had befallen them and ordered their torture. One unfortunate woman was roasted for four days over a slow fire. The Indians accused of witchcraft tended to have one thing in common they had taken up with at least some of the ways of the whites (for example wearing hats or drinking liquor). Christian converts among the tribes were a particular target....
If chance plays a real role in the sensible world, then the existence of an intentional design of the universe is ruled out. Such a belief actually treats God as a sort of superhuman being, as paganism does, and does not apply to what the Supreme Being is thought to be in our culture. In fact, there is a tendency to forget that, since time is a property of the sensible world, a Supreme Being who has created the latter has also created the former. We use the term chance to indicate unpredictability of the future therefore, it only applies to a being like ourselves, who knows the world by means of its senses, i.e., in terms of here and now.
More consistent with a truly heliocentric theory. He concentrated particularly on the calculations for the orbit of Mars, because this seemed to be the most difficult one to adjust to the data. The best agreement he could get was on the average within 10 minutes of arc. Yet he felt that Brahe's data were so good that a satisfactory theory had to agree with the data within 2 minutes of arc. He felt that the key to the entire problem for all the planets lay in that 8-minute discrepancy. Gradually and painstakingly, over a period of two decades, punctuated by a variety of interruptions, including changes of employment, the death of his first wife, and a court battle to defend his mother against charges of witchcraft, he worked out a new theory.
Let us now turn to those invisible and intangible entities which by their very nature cannot be expected to respond to prearranged experimental conditions, either because they are endowed with free will or because their manifestations in the sensible world obey a project unknowable to man. The problems which arise in connection with them concern not only the existence of a Supreme Being, but that of demons, such as are claimed to exist by magic and witchcraft, of angels, and in general of nonmaterial beings (cf. chapter nine). Obviously, science can help very little for science, in the case of a free being not otherwise observable, could at best detect those interventions of that being on sensible reality that are repeated in similar circumstances with the same clear-cut pattern and even then such interventions could be attributed to a free nonmaterial agent only if at least a hint about their possible aim were available.
The years of Kepler's middle life were sorely distracted by a trouble which, though not uncommon in those days, is one which we find it difficult to realise at the present time. His mother, Catherine Kepler, had attained undesirable notoriety by the suspicion that she was guilty of witchcraft. Years were spent in legal investigations, and it was only after unceasing exertions on the part of the astronomer for upwards of a twelvemonth that he was finally able to procure her acquittal and release from prison.
All his life Kepler suffered from poor health. When his mother was tried for witchcraft, he went to help her, defending her with great success to his own advantage as well as hers, for her conviction would have damaged his career. Kepler ended his days in Regensburg, chronically short of money because of delays in the payment of his Imperial stipend.
Both men to conceive of a telescope in terms of what it might do, and the kind of apparatus that could bring it about. But that is all. Other than these words and the later testimony of a sixteenth-century English scientist called Robert Recorde that Bacon's optical studies did not involve sorcery, there is nothing to substantiate claims that the learned friar actually knew how to make a telescope.
The first Moon story written using the scientific knowledge of the day was by the German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, who had worked with the Danish Astronomer Tycho Brahe. Kepler also published work on optics and planetary motion, which is described in detail in Chapter 4 - Movement in Three Dimensions . His Moon book, The Somnium or The Dream, was published after his death in 1630. It was a scientific treatise based on a dissertation he had written as a student in 1593, defending the Copernican view of the motion of the Earth around the Sun. At the time, the dissertation was not presented as the professor in charge was opposed to Copernicanism and would not allow it. The Roman Catholic Church was also opposed to Copernicanism, and maintained the Ptolemaic view that the Earth was the centre of the Universe. To oppose this view was heretical and in 1633, because of his published views for the Copernican system, Galileo Galilei was apprehended and put under house...
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