There’s a good post up at The Renaissance Mathematicus by Thony C. He disagrees with me about Copernicus and ellipses for the very good reason that Kepler had a big advantage over Copernicus. Kepler had access to Tycho Brahe’s data. Tycho massively improved the accuracy of observations. Thony C. also argues that accuracy was the goal — quite reasonably given why Copernicus wanted to revise the Ptolemaic system. Therefore the increased accuracy would be enough win over people in the astronomical community.
I’m not sure to what extent the astronomical community were in step with public opinion in the Renaissance. There are reasons to say astronomical speculation was freely passing into the wider culture of the time. Possibly it means that if there had been better data one of the big set-pieces of Religion vs. Science wouldn’t have happened. That’s not something I’d want to defend too strongly, but it shows that a rigid view of Science fighting Religion is going to give a you narrow view of the past.Google+