Chapter 16: toward a new heaven and a new earth the Scientific Revolution and the Emergence of Modern Science

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The Scientific Revolution and the Emergence of Modern Science

  1. Background to the Scientific Revolution

    1. Late Medieval scholastic philosophers had advanced mathematical and physical thinking in many ways

    2. The subjection of these thinkers to a strict theological framework and their unquestioning reliance on a few ancient authorities, especially Aristotle & Galen, limited where they could go

    3. Medieval scholars made use of Latin translations of Aristotle, Galen & Ptolemy to develop many of their positions in the fields of physics, medicine, & astronomy

    4. Renaissance scientist mastered Greek which exposed them to different works by past masters

    5. Copernicus, founder of heliocentrism, found that Philolaus and a number of ancients believed that the earth moved not the sun

    6. Renaissance artists desire to imitate nature led them to rely upon a close observation of nature which in turn impacted scientific study

    7. The 15th & 16th centuries witnessed a proliferation of books dedicated to machines & technology which espoused the belief that innovation in techniques was necessary

    8. The Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century was based upon the intellectual and scientific accomplishments of previous centuries

    9. The origins of the Scientific Revolution can be traced to the work of a very small number of great European intellectuals

    10. According to Da Vinci mathematics was the key to understanding the nature of things

    11. Scholars devoted to Hermeticism believed in seeing the world as a living embodiment of divinity where humans could use mathematics and magic to dominate nature

    12. Possible influences and causes of the Scientific Revolution include: mathematical and naturalistic skills of Renaissance artists, the humanists rediscovery of Greek mathematicians and thinkers, and the Hermetic belief in magic and alchemy

  2. Toward a New Heaven: A Revolution in Astronomy

    1. The greatest achievements in science during the 16th and 17th Centuries came in astronomy, mechanics, and medicine

    2. The Ptolemaic conception of the universe was also known as the geocentric conception

    3. Nicholaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

      1. The general conception of the universe before Copernicus was that the earth was the stationary center and heavenly spheres orbited it

      2. Born in Poland

      3. Received a doctorate in canon law and studied in both Poland and Italy

      4. Focus was on mathematics and astronomy

      5. Published On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in 1543 which attacked the Ptolemaic concept of an earth-centered universe

      6. Ideas of Copernicus were nearly as complicated as Ptolemy’s

        1. using elaborate astronomical and mathematical calculations Copernicus argued that the universe consisted of eight spheres with the sun motionless in the center

        2. Planets revolved around sun and moon revolved around earth

        3. Ideas immediately condemned, especially by Protestant leaders like Luther who condemned the discovery as contrary to their notions of creation

    4. Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)

      1. Danish nobleman

      2. Outfitted castle with a library , observatory, and instruments to more accurately observe astronomical sites. (Uraniborg)

    5. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

      1. Germany’s best-known astronomer

      2. Used data to derive laws of planetary motion that confirmed Copernicus’s heliocentric theory but that showed the orbits were elliptical

      3. Friend of Galileo and members together of a new European scientific community maintaining contact through letters and new publications

      4. Ideas gained acceptance despite disproving the great Aristotle’s conviction that the motion of planets was steady and unchanging

    6. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

      1. Came from a lesser Pisan noble family (Italian)

      2. Abandoned medicine for his true love, mathematics

      3. Taught mathematics at prestigious university at Padua

      4. Was first European to make systematic observations of the heavens by means of a telescope

      5. Through his observations, he concluded that planets were not made of some perfect substance but had natural properties similar to earth

      6. Galileo’s The Starry Messenger (1610) probably did more to make Europeans aware of the new picture of the universe than the mathematical theories of Copernicus or Kepler

      7. In The Starry Messenger, Galileo had revealed himself as a firm proponent of Copernicus’s heliocentric system (encouraged by Jesuits and Dominicans ~ Church condemned him)

      8. The Catholic Roman Inquisition attacked Galileo for his scientific ideas with encouragement of the Dominican and Jesuits orders of the church pledged to defend ancient Aristotelian ideas and Catholic orthodoxy

      9. Unphased by condemnation, Galileo published his most famous work, Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Corpernican (1632)~ written in Italian for greater effect

      10. Dialogue displayed further support for ideas of Copernicus

      11. Catholic Church’s Roman Inquisition ordered him to recant in a public trial and humiliation

      12. Spent last eight years of his life under house arrest in Florence where he studied the principle of motion

  1. Stressed principle of inertia

  2. If a uniform force were applied to an object, it would move at an accelerated speed rather than a constant speed

      1. Condemnation of Galileo by the Inquisition seriously hampered further scientific work in Italy

    1. Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

      1. Born in little English village of Woolsthorpe

      2. studied mathematics at Cambridge

      3. from 1684 to 1686, he wrote Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (aka Principia) which demonstrated through his rules of reasoning that the universe was a regulated machine operating according to universal laws [Written in LATIN—one of the last major European works to be written in Latin]

      4. although a great scientist, he was also intensely interested in the OCCULT; considered himself a representative of the Hermetic tradition

      5. Newton’s mathematical discoveries included the calculus, a mathematical means of measuring rates of change

      6. Newton defined the basic concepts of mechanics by elaborating on the laws of motion:

        1. every object continues in a state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless deflected by a force

        2. the rate of change of motion of an object is proportional to the force acting upon it

        3. to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction

      7. Newton’s universal law of gravity proved that through its mathematical proof it could explain all motion in the universe

      8. Newton’s ideas were readily accepted in England, but it took much of the 18th Century before his ideas were accepted on the rest of the continent

      9. only English scientist buried at Westminster Abbey

  1. Advances in Medicine

    1. Medicine also experienced a transformation during this era

    2. Galen’s influence on the medieval medical world was pervasive in anatomy, physiology, and disease

    3. Treatment of disease was highly influenced by Galen’s doctrine of four bodily humors: blood, yellow bile, phlegm, black bile

    4. Three figures are associated with changes in medicine in the 16th and 17th Centuries:

1. Paracelsus (1493-1541)

        1. born Philippus Aureolus von Hohenheim in Switzerland

        2. associated with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases

        3. revolutionized medicine by advocating the chemical philosophy of medicine

  1. Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)

    1. best known for his book On the Fabric of the Human Body (1543)

      1. presented a careful examination of the individual organs and the general structure of the human body

      2. his hands-on approach advocated in book helped overthrow some of Galen’s most glaring errors

b. still clung to some of Galen’s incorrect ideas on blood flow

3. William Harvey (1578-1657)

  1. English scientist who studied at Cambridge and at Padua

  2. His book, On the Motion of the Heart and Blood (1628) demolished Galen’s idea that the liver was the beginning point of blood circulation

  3. Harvey’s theory of the circulation of the blood laid the foundation for modern physiology

  1. Women in the Origins of Modern Science

    1. During the Middle Ages, except for members of religious orders, women who sought a life of learning were severely hampered by the traditional attitude that a woman’s proper role was as a daughter, wife, and mother

    2. During the 14th and 15th centuries learned men began encouraging women to read and study classical Christian texts

    3. In a similar way to how women were drawn to humanism, women were drawn to the Scientific Revolution

    4. Opportunities for women as well as alternatives to formal humanistic education could often be found in aristocratic and princely courts and in artisan workshops

    5. Most women involved in the Scientific Revolution were from the aristocracy

    6. Examples of women taking part in the Scientific Revolution include:

      1. Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)

        1. Duchess of Newcastle (English)

        2. Participated in her day’s scientific debates

        3. Wrote Observations upon Experimental Philosophy and Grounds of Natural Philosophy

        4. Attacked the belief that humans through science were masters of nature

        5. Due to gender, she was excluded from membership in the Royal Society

      2. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

        1. accomplished entomologist

        2. wrote Wonderful Metamorphosis and Special Nourishment of Caterpillars

        3. major work was Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname

      3. Maria Winkelmann (1670-1720)

        1. famous German astronomer

        2. married the leading German astronomer of the time, Gottfried Kirch

        3. became husband’s assistant at Berlin’s Academy of Science observatory

        4. denied official post at Berlin Academy because of gender/lack of degree

    7. The overall effect of the Scientific Revolution on the argument about women was to generate facts about differences between men and women that were used to prove male dominance (EX: Spinoza—thought women were “naturally” inferior)

  2. Toward a New Earth: Descartes, Rationalism, and a New View of Humankind

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

    1. born into a family of lower French nobility

    2. considered the father of modern rationalism

    3. wrote Discourse on Method (1637) that expounded his theories about the universe

    4. his philosophy stressed a separation of mind and matter

    5. believed that the world could be understood by the same principles inherent in mathematical thinking

    6. books were placed on the Papal Index of Forbidden Books lists and were condemned by many Protestant religious leaders

  1. Scientific Method

    1. The development of a scientific method was crucial to the evolution of science in the modern world

    2. Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

      1. Englishman with few scientific credentials

      2. important to the Scientific Revolution for his emphasis on empirical, experimental observation

      3. rejected the ideas of Copernicus & Kepler and misunderstood Galileo

      4. most important work was the unfinished The Great Instauration

      5. Believed that carefully organized experiments and thorough, systematic observations, led to correct generalizations being developed

      6. the scientific method was valuable in answering the question “how” something works, and its success in doing this gave others much confidence in the method

  2. Science and Religion in the 17th Century

    1. Organized religions in the 17th Century rejected scientific discoveries that conflicted with the Christian view of the world

    2. Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677)

      1. Dutch philosopher who grew up in Amsterdam

      2. excommunicated by his Dutch synagogue and ostracized by major Dutch churches

      3. Spinoza was fiercely independent, refusing an appointment to the University of Heidelberg for fear of having to sacrifice some of his views

      4. was influenced by Descartes, but saw no separation between mind and matter

      5. believed women were “naturally” inferior to men

      6. believed the failure to understand God led to people using nature for their own self-interest

      7. major work was published after his death, Ethics Demonstrated in the Geometrical Manner

    3. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

      1. brilliant mathematician and accomplished scientist

      2. French scientist who sought to keep science and religion united

      3. invented a calculating machine

      4. major work was Pensees (Thoughts)

      5. in Pensees, he attempted to convince rationalists that Christianity was valid by appealing to their reason and emotions

      6. believed humans could not understand infinity, only God could

      7. failed in his goal to unite Christianity and science

  3. The Spread of Scientific Knowledge

    1. The first of the scientific societies appeared in Italy

    2. Concerning the first important scientific societies, the French Academy differed from the English Royal Society in the former’s government support and control

    3. During the 17th Century, royal and princely patronage of science became an international phenomenon

    4. The scientific societies of early modern Europe established the first scientific journals appearing regularly

    5. Science became an integral part of Western culture in the 18th Century because it offered a new means to make profits and maintain social order

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