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Views of Galileo

February 15, 2009

Re "Galileo put us in our place," Opinion, Feb. 8

Jeffrey Bennett has it backward when he implies that because the people of the Middle Ages thought the Earth was at the physical center of the universe, they must have thought humanity was at the spiritual, moral or symbolic center of the universe too.

In fact, according to the theology and philosophy of that time, the center of everything was God, to whom man was accountable. The idea that humanity is the center of the universe came with the so-called Enlightenment, as philosophers and scientists either distanced or rejected God and placed man and his achievements at the center, freeing man to exploit anything and everything for his own happiness.

It was then, after Galileo, that we lost our humility.

Marilyn Melzian

San Pedro

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I have to contradict Bennett. Galileo only put us halfway in our place.

Yes, Galileo and Copernicus saw that we were not the center of the universe, but, hardly able to see where we were in our own heads, it has taken another 400 years for some of us to understand. And alas, it might take us another 100 years to universally accept this revelation, even though the evidence is now there.

We are not the superior creature on this planet -- we are actually the most stupid, destructive and diseased of all creatures. So stupid that before the end of this century, we perhaps will have made ourselves extinct, and the rest of life on this very, very beautiful planet too.

Jack Waddington

Santa Monica

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