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Kepler gets his own article. Someone else distinguishes between function and design.

Earlier this week I was very near to completing the article on Newton's law of gravitation, as exemplified by the orbit of the planet Mercury. All that was needed was to make the connection between the predictions of the Newton's theory and the three postulates of Kepler, which in turn were founded on the observations of Tycho Brahe. The connection is important because conformance to observation is the proof of the theory.

Today, as I pedalled to keep ahead of the thunderstorms, I decided that Kepler deserved an article of his own. His three laws should be explained at least a little bit, rather than being stated baldly. Also, Kepler's choice to follow the data where it led, rather than stick with the ancient assumptions about what the cosmos ought to look like, should be presented to the reader. The Church was wrong to suppress scientific theories based on empirical evidence, on the grounds that its (the Church's) preconceived notions must be true. Likewise, as we shall see, the modern science establishment is wrong to insist that its preconceived notions about the nature of the universe are true, in spite of its complete ignorance of why the universe functions as it does, and (with regard to the origin of life and the evolution of species) a complete lack of supporting empirical evidence.

Searching for more information on how Kepler developed his laws, I came on this web site. It helps one to appreciate, if only a little, the difficulty of the work and the magnitude of the achievement.

I was happy to see on the same site someone else (other than me) point out the distinction between understanding the behavior of the universe and understanding the design of the universe:

Kepler wanted to know how the Solar System works, not just to describe it with mathematical formulas.

Kepler stated that, like the power of a lever moving something alternately near or far from the fulcrum, the “weakening power is the ratio of the distances.” He also postulated that like light “the power is weaker to the extent that it is more spread out.”

Here, Kepler anticipated the inverse square law of gravitation.

Given that today we remain substantially uncertain about what gravitation actually is (the geometrical descriptions of General Relativity aside), Kepler's metaphysical speculations remain salient.

(Emphasis mine.)
The author is not so brash as I, settling for "substantially uncertain", as opposed to my "completely ignorant". I suggest, however, that the two descriptions are substantially the same.

Last edited: 2015-07-19 20:01:35

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