Kepler Confounds Clergy

“When Kepler announced his three laws, they were received with condemnation by the spiritual authorities, not because of any error they were supposed to present or to contain, but partly because they gave support to the Copernican system, and partly because it was judged inexpedient to admit the prevalence of law of any kind as opposed to providential intervention. The world was regarded as the theatre in which the divine will was daily displayed; it was considered derogatory to the majesty of God that that will should be fettered in any way.

The power of the clergy was chiefly manifested in the influence they were alleged to possess in changing his arbitrary determinations. It was thus that they could abate the baleful action of comets, secure fine weather or rain, prevent eclipses, and, arresting the course of Nature, work all manner of miracles; it was thus that the shadow had been made to go back on the dial, and the sun and the moon stopped in mid-career.”

History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. By John William Draper. Published 1875 by D. Appleton and company, New York.. Ch. IX.