People who got their education from the village atheist may be surprised to learn that much opposition to the Copernican (heliocentric) theory of our solar system was not religious but scientific. A man named Johann Georg Locher summed up contemporary science-driven arguments against the Sun-centred solar system, in favour of an Earth-centred one:
Locher argued that Copernicus was wrong about Earth circling the Sun, and that Earth was fixed in place, at the centre of the Universe, like Ptolemy said. But Locher was making no religious argument. Yes, he said, a moving Earth messes with certain Biblical passages, like Joshua telling the Sun to stand still. But it also messes with certain astronomical terms, such as sunrise and sunset. Copernicans had work-arounds for all that, Locher said, even though they might be convoluted. What Copernicans could not work around, though, were the scientific arguments against their theory. Indeed, Locher even proposed a mechanism to explain how Earth could orbit the Sun (a sort of perpetual falling – this decades before Isaac Newton would explain orbits by means of perpetual falling), but he said it would not help the Copernicans, on account of the other problems with their theory.
What were those problems? A big one was the size of stars in the Copernican universe. Copernicus proposed that certain oddities observed in the movements of planets through the constellations were due to the fact that Earth itself was moving. Stars show no such oddities, so Copernicus had to theorise that, rather than being just beyond the planets as astronomers had traditionally supposed, stars were so incredibly distant that Earth’s motion was insignificant by comparison. But seen from Earth, stars appear as dots of certain sizes or magnitudes. The only way stars could be so incredibly distant and have such sizes was if they were all incredibly huge, every last one dwarfing the Sun. Tycho Brahe, the most prominent astronomer of the era and a favourite of the Establishment, thought this was absurd, while Peter Crüger, a leading Polish mathematician, wondered how the Copernican system could ever survive in the face of the star-size problem.Christopher Graney, “Opposition to Galileo was scientific, not just religious” at Aeon
It took generations to straighten out enough issues that the Sun-centred solar system made sense to science-minded people. Graney wrote a book on this topic in 2015: Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science Against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo. The true history is a warning to thoughtful people to avoid popular science written by the village atheist; he knows just enough to get it all wrong.