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1. Discuss Whether The Scientific Revolution And The Reformation Were “Revolutionary”.

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1. Discuss whether the Scientific Revolution and the Reformation were “revolutionary”.

What does it mean to be revolutionary? To be revolutionary is to be, as defined by dictionary.com as “markedly new or introducing radical change”. It is my educated opinion to believe that the scientific revolution and the reformation were both revolutionary without a doubt. A revolution involves change, mass amounts of change which affects nearly everything. It’s not a change of wardrobe, or a new car, it is much, much greater than that. A revolution changes the way people view themselves and the universe in which they are living in and it doesn’t come easily. Revolution is usually brought about as a very last option. People do not welcome change; they are very uncomfortable with it. They fear it, what if the situation gets worse? People allow change only when they have finally hit rock bottom. Things must get extremely messy before anything can improve. In order to understand the scientific revolution and the reformation it is key to understand the dramatic change which underwent.

The Scientific Revolution was nothing less than a revolution in the way the individual perceives the world. Ultimately the scientific revolution challenged conceptions and beliefs about the nature of the external world. This revolution changes the man’s thought process. It was an intellectual revolution -- a revolution in human knowledge. The scientific revolutionaries attempted to understand and explain man and the natural world. Thinkers such as Copernicus, Descartes, and Newton overturned the authority of the Middle Ages and the classical world. By authority I don’t mean that of the church but of the “triad” Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Galen. The revolutionaries of the new science had to escape their intellectual heritage. The long term effects of both the Scientific Revolution and the acceptance and dependence upon science can still be felt today in our daily lives.

Philosophers of the middle ages had used the ideas of Ptolemy, Aristotle, and Christianity to form the geocentric theory of the universe, which until the scientific revolution was never challenged. The time had come, a challenge was formed. Nicholas Copernicus hoped that his heliocentric theory would offer a more accurate explanation. He claimed that the sun was motionless at the center of the universe and the planets revolved around the sun, the moon however revolved around the earth. The next step in destroying the geocentric conception of the world and supporting Copernicus’ belief was Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. He did oppose Copernicus by saying that the orbits of the planets were not circular but elliptical and sun is at one focus of the ellipse rather than the center. Another breakthrough emerged with the observations of the heavens by means of a telescope by Galileo Galilei. His telescope showed him remarkable discoveries such as mountains on the moon, four moons revolving around Jupiter, and sunspots. The universe seemed to be composed of material similar to that of the earth rather than a perfect and unchanging substance. The Catholic Church condemned Copernicanism and ordered Galileo to abandon the Copernicanism thesis because it threatened the entire conception of the universe and the Scripture. By the 1630’s and 1640’s most astronomers had come to accept the new heliocentric conception of the universe. The world is transformed; people emerged from a closed world into a world of light and reason. It is then Isaac Newton who explains the motion of the universe and ties together the idea of Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. Newton defined the three laws of motion that govern the planetary bodies, as well as objects on earth. He also had the universal law of gravitation which explained why the planetary bodies did not go off in straight lines but continued in elliptical orbits about the sun. He explained the term of gravity he also described the world as one huge, regulated machine that operated according to natural laws in absolute time, space and motion. The new conception of the universe had an impact on the Western view of the humankind as seen through the work of Descartes. He came up with Cartesian dualism which is a dualism between mind and matter. His separation of mind and matter allowed scientists to view matter as dead or inert, as something that was separate from themselves and could be investigated independently by reason.

My greatest point of explaining all of this is to show the importance of all of this change. This change has brought us to the world we live in today. By challenging the church, by challenging old thoughts, we now know the truths. For this time period it was certainly radical change, that is what a revolution is. The Scientific Revolution was undoubtedly a revolution is every sense of the word. This is proven mostly through viewing the medieval world view, the reliance on authority of the Bible and Greek philosophers, the medieval understanding of the universe, then the scientific revolution begins, the Church is resistant to change, however science is triumphant Kepler supports Copernicus as do others. This is the main point, there is a revolution a change and science comes out on top.

The reformation can be split into two different subjects, the Protestant reformation and the Catholic reformation. It is my opinion that the Protestant Reformation dealt more with religion while the Catholic Reformation dealt more with the “politics”.

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