Galileo's Mistake - A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church by Wade Rowland

Praise for Galileo's Mistake:

"...fresh and compelling."
Vancouver Sun

"Well-presented scientific history with an interesting philosophical twist"
Kirkus Reviews

"Rowland's is an audacious position"
The New York Times

"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

"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 does an impressive job of bringing the 17th century to life...he builds a compelling case that Galileo and the Church differed over something far more important than whether the earth revolved around the sun-they differed on the very nature of truth and how mortals can come to know it."
Publishers Weekly

"An excellent mixture of science and philosophy."
David Pitt, Bookloons

"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
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Purchase Galileo's Mistake (US edition) online at:

Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church

by Wade Rowland

Title: Galileo's Mistake
Subtitle: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church
Author: Wade Rowland
Publication Date: July 2003
ISBN: 1559706848
Hardcover: 320 pages
List Price: $25.95 US
Publisher: Arcade Publishing

from Arcade Publishing Spring 2003 catalog:

The classic understanding of the notorious 1633 trial of Galileo by the Inquisition is that of Science and Reason persecuted by Ignorance and Superstitiončof a lonely, courageous freethinker oppressed by a reactionary, anti-intellectual institution fearful of losing its power.

Wade Rowland ingeniously uses the Socratic method to illustrate that Galileo's mistake was to insist that sciencečand only sciencečprovides the truth about nature. The Church responded to this challenge by declaring that science provides mere models for reality and that ultimate truth is accessible only through metaphysical or spiritual insight. While the Inquisition focused on the scientist's telescopic observations of the night sky, Rowland contends that the disagreement centered on an infinitely more profound question: What is truth and how can we know it?

Read an essay on Galileo Galilei by Wade Rowland

Read Chapter One Excerpt of Galileo's Mistake

Purchase Galileo's Mistake (US edition) online at: or the publisher's site, Arcade Publishing

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

Listen to an interview of Wade Rowland by CKNW Radio (AM 980) 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 ethics, 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 wife Christine and an assortment of cats near Port Hope, Ontario.

Read Author Profile page.

Purchase Galileo's Mistake (US edition) online at: or the publisher's site, Arcade Publishing

For details on the Canadian edition of Galileo's Mistake, published by Thomas Allen Publishers, click here.

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