Devepopment Of Modern Science In Europe Questions! Where did I come from? Why is the sky blue? How do the trees produce fruit? Ever since man looked around his environment and tried to figure out the things that was going on around him he’d ask questions. Mankind has always wanted to understand the world around him. For centuries mankind had used a belief system of supernatural powers, gods and goddesses and eventually an all-powerful God to explain the world around him. And for a while supernatural explanations of how nature worked was enough. But by the 16th century man had started to explore the workings of the world around him.
This exploration of nature and how it relates to mankind is called science. This time of exploration from the 16th century is called the Scientific Revolution. We will take a look at the development of science throughout the periods of the first scientific revolution. We will take a look at the men who played a significant part in the development of science and how that development affected mankind’s outlook on the universe in which he lived. We will discuss the ideas of Galileo, Bacon and Marquis de Condorcet and see how their ideas affected society.
In order to understand how revolutionary the ideas of the Scientific Revolution where we need to understand theories of the universe that preceded 1500’s called the Aristotelian concept of the universe. According to this theory all matter was arranged in a hierarchical order according to its quality. The higher up the order that the matter was placed the better the quality of that matter. The Christian church adapted the principal with, of course, God being at the top. The closer to the top that the object was, the closer to God it was. Mankind is placed just below Angels in the order, and therefore close to God. Mankind was God’s creation in His own image, and therefore the most important creation on earth. Because earth was the home of God’s most important creation it was placed at the center of the universe, with the sun ,moon and stars going around it.
This made sense because ancient man could see the sun and moon coming up and going down over the horizon. And if one pondered the question of why the sun and moon rose and fell it could be concluded that they, along with the Stars, rotated around the earth. This concept is called Ptolemaic astronomy. The first figure that we will discuss in the Scientific Revolution was Galileo Galilei. He was an Italian born professor of mathematics who had a great interest in the workings of the universe. Galileo had seen into the heavens with the telescope he had designed and created an even more accurate picture of the universe. The Earth was not the center of the universe, as Copernicus had stated in 1543,he claimed.
Galileo’s observations went against the official teachings of the church. Did not the Bible say that the sun stood still according to the Old Testament story of Jericho? The Earth not being the center of the universe would not fit into the Ptolemaic astronomy concept. The academic philosophers, who subscribed to Church doctrine, feared that if Galileo’s principles are found to be true then people might question the accuracy of the Churches representation of the world, and possibly lose belief in the Bible. The Church was infuriated by Galileo’s teachings and at the age of 70 indicted him for heresy. In 1615 Galileo published a letter written to the Grand Duchess of Tuskegee Christina, in which he defended his scientific positions against the accusations of the Church influenced philosophers. He states in the letter that those who accused him aren’t interested in the truth and show, a greater fondness for their own opinions than for the truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they cared to look for themselves, their own senses would of demonstrated to them.” He wrote that the charges made against him are sprinkled, passages taken from the Bible which they had failed to understand properly, and which were ill suited to their purposes.
He went on to say that his attackers are spreading rumors about his theories being unholy when he states, they have endeavored to spread their opinion that such propositions in general are contrary to the Bible and are consequently damnable and heretical. When he wrote, they would have us together abandon reason in the evidence of our senses in favor of some Biblical passage, but under the surface meaning of its words a different sense , he was saying that those who speak out against him are saying that we should give up reason and scientific evidence and believe their particular interpretation of Scripture even though it may not be God meant. Galileo makes the argument that even though the Holy Bible never speak untruth.. it is very abstruse, and may say thanks which are quite different from what its bare words signify. He went on further to write that an order for the Bible to hold truth for each and every man it must be interpreted and therefore the words may have a different meaning when read by different people in different circumstances. Galileo is basically saying in this letter that those who oppose him use verses from the Bible out of context and that would be better for them to use reason in trying to understand God’s grand plan for nature, and that God had endowed us with senses, reason and intellect and to ignore these would be doing the creator an injustice.
Englishman Sir Francis Bacon and Frenchman Rene Descartes were both proponents of a new scientific method of explaining God’s universe. Descartes was a mathematic genius, which did not adhere to the traditional scientific principles of Aristotle. He believed that it was necessary to doubt existing truths, until using the deductive reasoning and a systematic mathematical process could prove them. Bacon, too, had no great love for the old traditional methods of trying to understand the things around us. He called for the use of the inductive method of acquiring knowledge.
This method relied on particular observations to arrive at generalizations. By studying particular trees, such as apple trees and peach trees, scholars could induce knowledge about trees in general. In 1620 Bacon wrote New Organon, which expressed his views on the new Scientific Method. He wrote, “it is idle to expect any great advancement in science from the Super inducing and in a grafting of new things upon old. We must begin anew from the very foundations, unless we should result for ever a circle with mean progress..
, which means scientists should have used the new scientific method instead of the traditional methods of Aristotle and Plato. Bacon used a metaphor, using insects, to show the three types of scientific methods. The first was like the ant that piled up tons of data but did nothing with it. The second was like the spider that wove exquisite and complex webs. The webs were just ideas of the scientist without any observation behind them.
The third, which Bacon preferred, was the honeybee that took things from nature and mixed it with the stuff of its own being to produce something sweet and useful to humankind. In other words the scientist using this type of method gathered information by observation and experimentation, which is followed by a rational interpretation of the results. This is called the empirical method. Bacon felt that through use of his empirical method of science and with the support of the governme …