Galileo's Mistake - The Archaeology of a Myth by Wade Rowland

Praise for Galileo's Mistake:

"...fresh and compelling."
Vancouver Sun

"I recommend it strongly. Rowland tells the story well and with style and...backed by serious research and sensitivity to the issues. The history is embedded in a modern-day travelogue, interspersed with musings about the meaning of life."
The Globe and Mail

"Rowland's triumph is in examining Galileo's method over his facts and winning an argument that was lost more than 350 years ago. His book provides a fascinating contribution to a debate that is particularly germane today and is likely to be equally important 300 years from now."
Montreal Gazette

"Galileo's Mistake is a lofty and ambitious philosophical exploration, and Rowland's considerable gifts as a writer make the book pleasurable and captivating. Rowland skilfully weaves history, biography, science writing, and philosophical overviews into the comfortable familiarity of a travel narrative."

"Galileo's Mistake has the lazy ease of a multi-course Italian dinner, at once relaxing and enriching".
Robert Wiersema, Quill & Quire

"...a superb ambitious, even heroic, interpretation of the Galileo-Church controversy. Rowland has included a wonderfully accurate, exquisitely painted presentation of the political, cultural, and historical setting in which the Galileo-Church debate finds a clearly natural location."
B. J. Hodgson, PhD, Trent University Faculty of Philosophy

Listen to interviews
of Wade Rowland

by CKNW Radio (Vancouver), CBC's Tapestry with Don Hill, CBC's The Arts Today with Eleanor Wachtel
about Galileo's Mistake
in Real Audio and MP3 format

Galileo's Mistake

Galileo's Mistake: The Archaeology of a Myth

by Wade Rowland

Pub. Date: October 2001
6" x 9" - HC 384 pages, with illustrations
ISBN 0-919028-42-X - $34.95 Cdn
Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers

from Thomas Allen Publishers Fall 2001 catalog:

Veteran literary journalist Wade Rowland takes one of the modern world's most influential myths - the epic confrontation of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) with the Church of Rome - and turns it on its head.

Rowland argues that at the dawning of the Scientific Revolution in the early 1600s, Galileo's mistake was to insist that science provides the truth about nature. The Church fought back against this challenge to its authority by declaring that science provides only models for reality and that the ultimate truth is accessible only through metaphysical or spiritual insight.

Although the 1633 trail centred on Galileo's telescopic observations of the night sky, Rowland argues persuasively that this was merely the public face put on a much more profound issue: what is truth and how can we know it? Galileo's ultimate recantation, Rowland argues, must be understood in this light.

Couched in the engaging style of travel narrative, this provocative reexamination deconstructs the myth that Galileo was a freethinker waging war against a reactionary and anti-intellectual Church. Using the Socratic method of examining arguments, Galileo's Mistake moves seamlessly through Galileo's life and his ideas about the nature of reality. By no means an apologist for the Church, Rowland skillfully and persuasively identifies the source of the ontological crisis that plagues us today: the unquestioned authority of science in determining the nature of reality.

Read Chapter One Excerpt of Galileo's Mistake

Purchase Galileo's Mistake online

Read an interview of Wade Rowland by CIUT's Rick Vassallo

Listen to an interview of Wade Rowland by CKNW Radio (AM 980) in Vancouver - October 24, 2001 in Real Audio format

Table of Contents


Wade Rowland is a long-time journalist who has worked for the Winnipeg Free Press, the Toronto Telegram and both national Canadian television networks: CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and the CTV Television Network. He writes and lectures extensively on the new media, and science and technology.

He is the author of a dozen other books including Ockham's Razor, a philosophical travel narrative set in France, and Spirit of the Web, a popular history of communications technologies that was selected as Required Reading for 1997 by The Globe and Mail. He lives with his family near Port Hope and is a principal in an Internet-based corporation.

Read Author Profile page.

Galileo's Mistake: The Archaeology of a Myth

by Wade Rowland
Pub. Date: October 2001
6" x 9" - 384 pages, with illustrations
ISBN 0-919028-42-X - $34.95 HC
Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers

Purchase Galileo's Mistake online

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