Much like apples, Galileo uses stones as a teaching tool. But where the apples represent forbidden truth, stones represent widely accepted knowledge that’s wrong. Galileo uses stones most often as an attack on those who accept the teachings of Aristotle blindly when physical evidence easily disproves such ideas. Nobody of his time, Galileo laments, wants to truly know how a stone falls—instead, they merely want to know “what Aristotle wrote about it.” Thus, when Galileo is forced into an argument with Aristotelians, he pulls a stone from his pocket, lets it fall to the ground, and then claims that it has risen, rather than fallen. This is a way for Galileo to mock the individual in question without doing so openly—it’s his attempt to point out the hypocrisy of insisting that one thing is true when all evidence points to the contrary.
The Proving Stone Quotes in The Life of Galileo
On our old continent a rumor sprang up: there might be new ones. And since our ships began sailing to them the laughing continents have got the message: the great ocean they feared, is a little puddle. And a vast desire has sprung up to know the reasons for everything: why a stone falls when you let it go and why it rises when you toss it up.